OOTD – the art of masking how we feel on the inside

One foot in front of the other, friends

Never conform

Alright people we’re a 3rd of the way through 2017, let’s try and educate ourselves on sexism. Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing. As humans we just ask to be treated equally.

You know those posts on Facebook you try to scroll past, but can’t help reading through the garbage fire? The ones that are so ridiculous you almost think it has to be there as click bait. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. The small minded posts that are most commonly shared by small town friends who never grew up after high school.

Know this: I never feed into this shit. I like to think I have better things to do with my time than argue on the internet. But on Sunday morning, I did just that. Hear me out: only because this post is part of a much larger issue at hand.

Alright ladies were a 3rd of the way through 2017, let’s put the “duck face” and sharpie markers behind us, frankly I’m gonna say it, it’s not a good look and as a human we prefer a smile and less paint, not hatin just lookin out for my beauties

Woooow,” was my first thought as I continued scrolling. Five minutes later, I was still angry over what I read and scrolled back up. I respond mimicking the original post to show the irony:

Alright gentleman we’re a 3rd of the way through 2017, let’s retire the idea that women wear makeup for the sole purpose of appealing to men. It’s not a good look and as humans we prefer you keep your opinions to yourself

Why did I say this? Why was I so angry? Why was his post so toxic? I’ll tell you. He singled our gender out without reflecting on his own. He decided to collectively voice what he thought was everyone’s opinion without understanding how much of a walking contradiction he was. He decided he knew better than women.

Both men and women have been photographed with a duck face so why single out one gender? You will find women AND men wear makeup for many different reasons. Is appealing to men on that list? Perhaps. Should that automatically open up the door for your criticism and an urgency to stop because it’s not what turns you on? No. Absolutely not. Just because one individual isn’t attracted to that person or a certain trend, doesn’t mean someone else won’t be.

Would you tell a fat person, “I’m sorry, it’s not a good look. We as humans prefer someone small?

You wouldn’t; at least you shouldn’t. Because it’s rude. Understand, I’ve spent so much time hating the way I looked because I listened to others more than myself. If a man told me I wasn’t ‘a good look’, I believed them. Over time, that warped my perception. I thought that was all that mattered. I thought until I conformed to other people’s standards, I would never be beautiful, I would never be loved, and I would never be happy. Words are crippling and we throw them around so carelessly.

I sit here, urging you, to never conform to another person’s beauty standards. Do You Hear Me?

I wanted to tell this man, this man who thought his opinion was the be-all-end-all, that makeup is a form of self expression. It is self confidence, a lack of confidence and more. And you know what? We all have to start somewhere. I wonder, would you walk into the gym and shit on someone who was 300lbs lifting weights? No. Because they’re there trying to better themselves. So maybe we’re trying to better ourselves, maybe we’re a beginner, maybe we’re just trying something out. Regardless, nobody has the right to tell us to stop. Especially a man. We are much more than the makeup we wear and we’re not here just to be admired. We’re not an ornament you hang on your tree. We’re humans.

Alright people we’re a 3rd of the way through 2017, let’s try and educate ourselves on sexism. Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing. As humans we just ask to be treated equally.

Take into consideration

Suffering from mental health makes it hard to open up to people. Like anything, we fear what we don’t understand. And if there’s anything we underestimate and oversimplify it’s mental health. But if we want people to understand we have to keep talking about it. Not matter how hard the discussion may be.

Take into consideration that just because you cannot always see how debilitating depression and anxiety is, doesn’t meant it’s not there.

I have different ways of communicating that I’m struggling with anxiety because it effects me in more ways than one. Some days I’m silent and look irritable, it’s me overthinking. Some days I look sad, but my heart is just pounding out of my chest. Some days I have verbal diarrhea, because of the discomfort found in silence, just to name a few.

So my ask here is simple: Please don’t jump to conclusions when someone is at work one day, quite seemingly happy and healthy yet calls in the following day. I say this because the judgment you carry for that person will never amount to the judgment they feel for themselves. That it takes everything in them to make that phone call saying they won’t be in. The fear of what may come from it, the concern for a lack of understanding, the overthinking surrounding what others will think. This is merely a fraction of the thoughts going through my head when I make the call or send that email.

Know that for every mental health day is the stress and concern of the day that follows you at work. It’s exhausting. So often saying you’re anxiety ridden or struggling with depression is not an excuse for a personal day. Push through it, people think. You’re weak. You’re lazy. You’re making excuses. But you’re not. You’re actually 100 times stronger than your counter part because you have to be. Always. A mental health day is anything but relaxing. If anything it’s more exhausting than being at work because you’re in a constant state of fear of what’s to come.

I hope you walk away from this knowing that I love work. I love going in every day. I don’t wake up thinking I don’t want to work. I wake up feeling as if I’m drowning. Gasping for air. Craving happiness but circling the drain. I wake up feeling like I have chains weighing 1000lbs on my chest preventing me to get up.

My colleagues are not just my colleagues, they’re my friends. They make me happy. They get me out of my head. I’d rather spend my time surrounded by people than lost in my own thoughts.

Now that we’ve discussed that, I want to share with you the different ways in which I communicate I’m struggling with my anxiety or depression.

With every “sorry I’m late” there was three hours of effort put forth just to get myself out of bed let alone my door.

When with every “my stomach hurts” there are thoughts travelling through my head at rapid speed.

With every “I have a headache” there’s exhaustion and stress you don’t see.

With every “I don’t feel well” there’s fear of vomiting and even more fear of judgment.

With every “sick day” there’s fear of ignorance towards mental health

With every “I don’t feel like going out” there’s enough guilt harbored to last a life time.

With every “sorry I must have missed your text” there’s hours of guilt and frustration

With every “I’m going to have to cancel” there’s a pit of emptiness inside I’m unable to shake to get myself out the door.

With every “I’m tired” there’s hours of effort put forth just to get myself out of bed.

With every bit of laughter, there’s an emptiness inside I cannot shake.

With every helping hand is hope that nobody feels the way I do.

With every intimate conversation is the obsession to help.

With ignored message is an exhaustion I cannot push through.

With every “I’m not hungry” is nauseousness caused by overthinking.

So no, I’m not a complainer. I’m not a hypochondriac. I’m a human being that suffers from anxiety and severe depression. A warrior. A person that keeps fighting.

I will fight everyday for happiness. To rid the feeling of an empty vessel and so should you. We won’t always win, that’s okay. I just want you to remember, we’re here for a reason. You’ve been through what you thought to be the worst days of your life and look at you, you’re still here.

 

Moment of clarity

Once upon a time, I was in an interview and was asked
“What are two television shows you’re not willing to miss and why do you enjoy them?”

Immediately, I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding. How is this possibly relevant?”

I sat there and thought about it. I mean really thought about it. It was such a left turn I had no idea what to say. After a few seconds (that felt more like hours) I said something that surprised not only this person but myself included.

I started off telling them about Scandal. It’s because the main character is a fixer of sorts. No matter the state of her life she takes time to help others and solve their problems. Olivia Pope is a strong, independent power house trying to do better. White hat and all. I find that admirable. She is goal oriented and plows through obstacles with determination. Never afraid to go after what she wants, and not stopping until she gets it.

There’s something to say about the Strong Woman. While I’m impressed by the strength and determination of people- I am most impressed by a successful woman. What people neglect to realize is how often a Strong Woman gets shut down by others. How many moments there are she is not taken seriously. Because she’s a woman. And having an opinion different from her counterpart can almost guarantee her being gas-lit. She has to work ten times harder to get to where to be.

Next, I talked about Mad About You. This show make me giggle like a mf, but the more I watched the more I realized I really relate to Helen Hunts character. If you remember, she’s struggling in the beginning. She left her job and isn’t quite sure what she’s going to do now. She wants to do more. Be part of something meaningful, to help in ways that drives her. And that’s where I’m at, so I relate. We can all relate to that idea. Unsure of the path we want to take but fairly confident of the one we don’t want to follow.

This question threw me off and annoyed the hell out of me, at first. But this question not only gave my employer insight, having to explain my choices and what drew me to them gave me insight as well. What I want and don’t want in this life.

Call it a Moment of Clarity. ‘I don’t want this. This is not my answer.’ I’m still searching for my answer but I knew it wasn’t in that interview. And it wasn’t in the job they proceeded to offer.

Water your fuckin’ lawn

Our generation is unwilling to commit.

We are afraid to be vulnerable. In order to get someone’s attention, instead of starting a conversation- we ignore them. We play mind games. We want to appear as if we couldn’t care less in fear of caring too much. Weeks of dancing around the very idea of a relationship without ever labeling it a relationship. And the sad truth? In our minds, the person who cares less, they hold all the power.

I understand heartbreak, I understand trust issues and I understand being afraid of commitment. But this… I’ll never understand.

Rather than being with one person we like to entertain multiple people for a constant string of happiness. The advancements in technology have created a whole other level of narcissism. Our narcissistic ego’s are fed by constant likes, comments and retweets. The need for instant gratification couldn’t be in higher demand. We want what we want, when we want it. We don’t like to work for what we want because everything has always been readily available. If we can’t get it from person X we’ve got person Y and Z to hit up on the way home. The need for attention and affection can be met almost instantly with what’s available at our finger tips.

Social media is a funny thing. Being that almost anything is available at your finger tips you tend to forget what you already have in front of you. Relationships online look glamorous, jobs look appealing, people look happy. It’s a facade. A highlight reel. Know that with every perfect picture there were 50 takes to get that one. With every blog post there are countless revisions. With every illustration there are hours of work behind it. With every relationship there is bickering, disagreements and sometimes tears. Work. Effort. We forget that this is the driving force behind what is in front of us. That if we want our lawn to be greener than the neighbours, we have to fuckin’ water it.

Why am I talking about this you ask? Last week I received a message from an individual on social media trying to spark a conversation. Before responding I took a quick scroll through his page. I noticed a post of him being rather intimate with another woman and decided to look further. I click her name and see a week prior she had posted a  note that read “Happy anniversary! Thanks for always putting up with me, I love you. ”

I instantly felt sad for her.  They genuinely looked happy yet here he was searching for greener pastures.

The point of life is simple. Be happy with what you have while working towards what you want.

Instant gratification gets old. If you constantly compare, if you focus on how happy others are and what they have you will never be happy with what’s in front of you.

25×25

Think about how much farther we can go if, instead of competing against one another, we work together. How powerful we could all be.

When we rang in 2016 we collectively decided we’d all have an amazing year. The past year was now behind us and it had made our family stronger than ever.

We were wrong. It was not amazing. It was exhausting, frustrating and everything in between. I was down, so down. I hit bottom but I’m thankful because from there I was able to climb back up. Regroup. It took SO long. I’m still working through it but I’m thankful for the struggles I went through because they’ve just made the wins that much sweeter.

So cheers to you, 2016, and twenty-five. You were not the kindest but you taught me a lot about myself. You made me stronger, and have given me the opportunity to share what I’ve learned. Twenty-five things I learned the year I turned twenty-five, and am still reminding myself of today:

  1. Life doesn’t follow anyone’s plan. The Unexpected occurs all the time and the minute you think you have your shit together everything can change. That’s OKAY. It’s a journey, not a race.
  2. It’s nice to be nice. As a woman, I know first hand how cruel we are to each other. We preach equality for women but we’re still taught to compete and shut each other down. My favourite thing now is giving people compliments. You like their jacket? Tell them. Their lipstick is on point? Tell them they’re rockin’ it. That little comment from you takes zero effort and will stick with them for the rest of the day.
  3. Find hobbies. Do not get stuck working the 9-5 grind just to go home, stuff your face in front of the TV and head back to work in the morning. Don’t fucking do it. Life is about progression. Working towards something. Learning and enjoying new things.
  4. Stop apologizing. I spent so much time in the past apologizing for how someone made ME feel. As if their happiness/comfort was above mine. No. I will not apologize for expressing how I feel.
  5. Forgiving someone doesn’t make you weak. You’ll find it makes you stronger.
  6. Never remain friends with someone who doesn’t ask how you’re doing. Life is too short to spend it with people who don’t care about your well being. Stop putting in effort with people who don’t take the time to inquire about you.
  7. We wake up in the morning with two choices: we’re going to have a good day, or a bad day. The decision is up to you.
  8. Stop overestimating that a person is capable of changing. You do not have the ability to change someone.
  9. Stop underestimating that you’re able to change yourself. You’re capable of anything you put 100% effort behind. If you want it bad enough, you’ll get it.
  10. Time is relative. Someone you’ve known for 24 hours could very well have better intentions for you than someone you’ve known for ten years.
  11. Our biggest problem is we believe we shouldn’t have one. I learned this one from my friend, Tony Robins. Understand that when you go through hard times it’s propelling you to the life you’re meant to live.
  12. The time it takes to break someone’s trust is not proportional to how long it’ll take to earn it back.
  13. Misery really does love company. We project our negative feelings towards other people because we’re unhappy with our own situation.
  14. Knowing a lot of people isn’t important. Having a handful of ride or die relationships is.
  15. There will always be ignorance surrounding mental illness. We fear what we don’t understand. Do your best to understand.
  16. When you send positive vibes out in the world, when you build people up and help people in times of struggle it will ALWAYS come back to you.
  17. Trust your gut. If someone makes you uncomfortable, it’s for a reason. Not everyone has the best of intentions.
  18. If we want to live life to the fullest we must live life in the moment. Having anxiety, I worry about the next 20 steps in front of me. I work out every possible scenario. Life is about experiences. Not everything is meant to last forever. If you stop worrying about what may or may not happen and enjoy what you’re doing I can guaranteed you’ll be much happier.
  19. Constructive criticism helps us grow. Check your ego and understand when you receive feedback at work, in life, etc. it’s being brought to our attention so we can learn and expand on what we already know. They’re not putting you down, they’re trying to build you up.
  20. Listen to your body. I spent three months with severe stomach cramps, headaches and heart palpitations not thinking anything of it. It was anxiety.
  21. Love is not meant to be forced. Going above and beyond for a person who is unhappy in their own life will not make them one day wake up and  choose you. Bending over backwards for someone who walks all over you doesn’t make you a good person, it means you’re being taken advantage of.
  22. We only reflect on past relationships when we’re sad and lonely. Consider that.
  23. Don’t worry when someone brings an issue to your attention. They’re bringing it to your attention because they want to work through it with you. Bringing it to your attention is great, it means you now have the means to fix it. It’s when people stop raising concerns that should worry you.
  24. We all have a breaking point. Everyone’s breaking point is different. What breaks me may be very different from what breaks you. But let’s respect that point and how it affects each other.
  25. Think about how much farther we can go if, instead of competing against one another, we work together. How powerful we could all be.