Family Matters

One thing I have learned is that your family is what you make it.  Yes, we all have blood relatives who are family, but then many have those who they are not blood related to that they consider family.  I have not only witnessed this within my own family but have witnessed it with others around me.  This is the family that I want to highlight at this time.

In a country that is ever growing and a culture that is ever changing it is not very often that you live on a street with your whole family any longer.  

Throughout my life most of my family has been at a distance.  Growing up my father’s family was the closest in proximity to my family; for the most part we all lived within 10 miles of one another.  My mom’s family lived, and still live, about an hour or so away.  As I got older much of my dad’s family moved away and my mom’s family stayed about the same distance.  This is understandable, people get older and opportunities happen, as a kid I didn’t understand and just felt like they all were choosing to leave us.  As an adult I see it differently and with social media it helps keep everyone in touch.  I would never ask them to change their decisions as it has benefited them all.  However, for this reason my family and I created our “other” family.

This other family is created of our closest friends, those people that have celebrated in our triumphs and been there for us when we’ve needed help.  My mom’s three best friends, have become like aunts to me.  I can call them at anytime and usually will call them just to vent if for some reason I want a different opinion other than my mom’s.  When I have exciting news I usually will call them shortly after I call my mother so she isn’t the one to tell them.  

My best friend’s family has welcomed me into their home many times and has even allowed me to seek solace there on the occasions I may need it.  I also know, that I can rely on them if I were to ever need help.  My sister’s boyfriend has become a brother to me, despite ragging on him all the time and all the crap my family has given him he has stood by my sister and my family without falter more times then I can count.  

I’ve seen this happen with friends of mine as well, those who have step parents or siblings.  Granted a marriage most often occurred to make them family but there’s a level of acceptance that must occur for the “family” title.  I’ve seen families created of solely friends, growing up one of my classmate’s mothers always called all of his friends her “children” and to this day still does.  She always welcomed his friends to their home and acted like a mom to anyone and everyone.  

As I’ve gotten older, and with my boyfriend’s graduate program, there are more individuals who have been introduced into my life who I consider to be family.  He and I have been lucky enough to have been included in friends-giving and Christmas parties, it humbles me when we are invited and considered to be what they call the “Pharmily”.  These are family members you end up choosing to be in your life and take part in it, they’re also the ones choosing you.

Family matters, family impacts you, but family is not solely made up of blood.  Those “other” family members are the one’s you choose to welcome into your life.  These are family members you end up choosing to be in your life and take part in it, they’re also the ones choosing you.  I love both my blood family and my “other” family as my life wouldn’t be complete without either.

Instagram: @beyou_findyou

The “One and Only”

I was listening to a podcast a little bit ago and the speaker said something that struck me profoundly.  The speaker brought up that we used to be a part of communities; these communities would complete us, fill in the void where our significant other may not and God was everyone’s “One and Only”.

The speaker said this in the context that as a society we make the person we are in a relationship with into the “The One”.  We feel the need that they must complete us, they must be our best friend, our confidant, able to be where we need them to be at the drop of a dime also they must meet our sexual needs/desires.  Now, don’t get me wrong I myself have fallen right into this and it puts a lot of pressure on people.  I realize we aren’t seeking out to be a part of something, most often we are part of a couple and we like to hole ourselves up.  We like to be with that individual and them alone, now this is fine and what many people do.

There are many days where after being at work all I want to do is go home and be with my boyfriend.  I then also want him to solely give me his unwavering attention, also listen to every word I say, empathize, tell me I’m beautiful, and know everything I want.  Is this realistic?


But it’s what we have come to expect of others, we expect that because they are our “one and only” that they are the sole person who can provide all of this and more to us.

I have come to a harsh realization, as much as he tries, I can not solely rely on my boyfriend for all of the above and more.  I love him dearly and he’s the person I see spending my life with, however I realize putting all of that on him is just not fair.  I have branched out very much over the last year and have built my “tribe” or my “community”.  Granted I already had one within my family but these individuals are able to be there in a different way then my family can.

These individuals share similar values, can have long conversations and do not have the pressure that my boyfriend does.  This tribe has had a huge impact on my life and for the most part can call me out on my shit.  I can’t say I truly have ever had that within my short lifetime.  I believe that is part of the reason I have always put so much pressure on those men that I have been in relationships with.  I thought I had to make them my “world” and vice versa, no wonder the men I dated informed me they needed some room to breathe and I needed my own friends.

Having this tribe helps me get thru the days when I need more then what my boyfriend has the ability to at that time.  When I just need to have a vent session even if it’s catty and probably not the most mature thing to do.  They are there to do yoga with, have girls nights, and try out new adventures that he may not have interest in or time for.  There’s no reason for me not to do things just because he can’t go, I state this despite many times wishing he could be.  A large part of me wishes I had realized this earlier in his career of Pharmacy school but now that I have realized this I will work to continue to utilize it and be more fair towards him.

Moral that I have learned, build yourself a community, this can truly be a community of 2-3 people.  But build it, create it, let it grow because relying solely on one person to be all of those things and more is a big ask.  They may be able to be all those things in varying degrees but if you find a tribe or community it can help be some of those things part of the time, it’s a huge help and stress relief.

Seasons of Friendship

So what do I mean when I reference friendship as a season?  Well let me give you the background and you’ll see.

One day, I was sitting in my therapist’s office ranting about a friendship that had just seemed to fizzle out and she looked at me and said:

“What if we don’t think about it as the “end” of this friendship? What if we thought about it like a season? The season of this friendship is just over.”  

It made me think about some of my friendships.  Some friends I have never talked to again and sometimes for good reason; others have walked back into my life. Seasons repeat themselves, at least in New England they do, and they also tend to slowly slide away and into something new.  Unless there is a large fight most often friendships do not just end abruptly.  Are you understanding the comparison yet?  

Many people walk in and out of our lives, we have those that are constant, one continuous season, we have those that leave permanently and then we have those that enter in and out throughout our life.

Throughout my life I have lost friends, and there were many times I didn’t understand why we stopped being friends.  I know I can’t be the only one but as I’ve become an adult it is harder to understand.  Again, I am currently only 26 so I know there are many more years of this.  Having my therapist put the thought of friendship into this light has truly been eye opening.  I thought I had lost a friend, I thought we had parted ways and that we were not destined to be long time friends despite our connection.  We went months without talking and then they called me one day and it was like nothing changed.  We were able to pick up right where we left off, but then again a few weeks later the cycle repeated.  This was when I brought it to my therapist, upset and frustrated that for some reason the friendship seemed to not be succeeding.  

In adopting this thought process I do not feel so defeated or lacking self-confidence when a friend and I stop talking.  Well, unless it was a bitter split then I’ll admit it hurts and I may get angry and feel defeated.  When I think about it as a season though, I think of it as a beautiful thing.  I think of it in picture form, I think of my favorite parts of it, and I think about what I enjoyed most.  I look forward to the possibility that the friendship may re-occur.  So, most often, I will reach out to the individual again just to check in or if I run into something that makes me think of them.

Can you think about your favorite season, think about a friend that you had in that season, can you say that you are still friends?  Do you talk, text, hang out?  If you don’t when was the last time you did?  Do you notice that there is a pattern?

Think of your favorite parts of your friendship, think of your friend/s and smile, they have benefited your life in many ways even if it was tough when the friendship ended or changed seasons, you were able to learn a lesson.

Instagram: @beyou_findyou

Lessons from Rejection

Rejection, not the easiest thing to swallow especially when we put ourselves out on a limb.

A lot of people in my life lately have talked with me and said the biggest reason they are not doing something or not going after what they want is because they fear being rejected.  Now this may be going out for a new job, a new relationship, or simply just asking somebody a question.  When I have talked to them most often my response is “Don’t be afraid, the worst that can be said is no.”

Keep in mind that I say this after knowing my own rejections and continuing to face them.  Remember my fear post a few weeks ago?  Heck, every time I write a new post I face my concerns of rejection.  The questions of:

Who will like what I read?
Who is going to say “this isn’t good enough she shouldn’t be writing”?
Who is going to call me a phony?

These questions among many others run thru my brain.  The feeling of rejection is not an easy one to get thru.  Feelings of rejection can come from anywhere in your life and yes sometimes the worst thing someone can say is the word “No”.  Those two little letters can most definitely pack a huge punch.  As a kid the word No is a death sentence, “Mom can I please have this cookie” being told we can’t is horrible!

When I am faced with the possibility of rejection I try and look at it holistically in the sense that if rejection comes then it wasn’t meant to be and there’s a lesson in it.

This past year I applied for and went thru a long interview process for a job on a team that I really wanted.  Due to skills the other individual already had they ended up getting the job over me.  It hurt, it sucked, it took the opportunity away of getting out of customer support.  However, I realized that I just wasn’t supposed to be in that position, there was something else coming along.  This past month I just started my dream job at the company I’ve spent the last three years working in.

When a relationship or friendship hasn’t worked in the past, it hurts, I cry, I get angry and then I let go.  Realizing the lessons I learned and realizing that the rejection from that person saves me in the long run.  This letting go may take some time and I can’t say that I always recognize the lessons right away but they are there.

You may think I’m silly but what is our life if we don’t put ourselves out there?  I won’t say that I am perfect and always face it head on, sometimes it takes a lot of pep talk, conversations with friends, and reminding myself I’ll learn something regardless

With or without rejection there is always a lesson to learn.  With rejection it can be an even bigger and better lesson to grow and become a stronger individual.

Instagram: @beyou_findyou

Compliments are essential

As I have grown up, I have learned how important compliments can be in a world of negativity.

As you go through your adolescence, teens, then onto adulthood you are given variations of compliments. You may or may not pay attention to such compliments and how they impact you.  This most often correlates to whether the complement validates your want for recognition at the given time or your perception of self at that moment.

For instance, let’s say one night you are all dolled up in your new dress, with your hair done and make up “prefect” you feel the prettiest you have felt in days.  However, when you walk towards the person you are trying to impress all they say is “Your hair looks cute”, and leaves it at; that it can be disappointing.  I’ll admit it I have let myself get frustrated and angry at that person. Now it’s not the right thing because I’m sure people are saying or thinking “Other people’s opinions don’t matter.”  That is 100% correct they don’t and they shouldn’t but deep down we all know that others opinions can impact us more then we like to admit.  Compliments however can be a tool to shape how to better see your best traits.

        I say all of this as a girl who has grown up trying to tame my wild, frizzy, thick, curly hair. I never thought it was pretty, cute or beautiful.  I always wanted it straight and when that wouldn’t happen it would get thrown up in some mess on the top of my head. Even those days were tough, I wanted the sleek pony tail that could go up high on my head without giving me headaches. Any day that consisted of any moisture other than snow was my enemy.  I have always been told that my hair and my curls were pretty, that girls and women wished they could have my hair. My 80 year old grandmother to this day still asks if she can have my hair.  It has taken almost 15 years, but I now LOVE my curly hair it is incredibly bouncy, unpredictable, and full however it fits my personality.  Having natural curls that people use chemicals to create, or heat to try and imitate makes me thankful to somehow have ended up with the genetics to end up with this beautiful, voluminous hair.

        My “porcelain” skin and rosy cheeks have been the nuisance of my existence since elementary school. I used to be made fun of by the boys saying I was always blushing or being called a ghost due to my skin complexion. I have never truly been able to “hold” onto a tan, I have told people I either end up with a faint summer “glow” or I become a lobster from burning. My sister however can be a bronze beauty in less than four days, stupid genetics right? What’s that saying, the pieces might be cut from one cloth but they are not the same? Anyways, point again is that I get by because I don’t really ever have to wear blush when I wear makeup and I have begun to love my pale skin because it sets me apart. I actually had someone say “She’s just so cute I want to put her on a shelf like a porcelain doll.” Mind you this was said while I was over the age of twenty. You just learn to take remarks like that as a compliment, they are not said to make you feel less pretty. Learning to see the positives in you sets you apart, makes you embrace your differences.

        I never truly thought about the power of a compliment until I met one of my good friends. She told me this, “If I see a girl who I think looks hot, pretty, or I like something about her, I’m going to tell her.” My question to her was why, because it never truly dawned on me to do this. Simply put she said it’s because we already live in a world where we are all judged and go out knowing we are going to be judged, why not make one person’s day by one compliment. She said “I know I would want someone to do the same.”

        Why in this society do we find it so easy to judge one another or belittle one another, when a compliment is so much easier. For instance, how many times have you seen someone in a day and thought to yourself, “I wish my makeup looked like that” or seen this one coworker at work that has impeccable style that you envy. How is it that we can’t just tell that person, ‘Hey, I really love your makeup today!” or “Hey, where did you get that outfit, you look really great in it!” I have concluded that we would simply prefer to feel sorry for ourselves than make someone feel better.

        Now, HOW INCREDIBLY BACKWARDS IS THAT? I have started taking my good friends advice and you know what I FEEL BETTER. When I compliment someone on their dress, or their earrings, or simply their style I can tell it makes their day, which intern makes mine. Why as a human race can we not just do that? Compliment girls and boys so they truly start believing in the quality of who they are.

I challenge you to compliment at least one person today.  Go out into your day and compliment someone you love, someone you don’t, or a complete stranger.

What compliment have you received that made you recognize a quality you love? Share your stories with me! Email me or tag me on Instagram.

Instagram: @beyou_findyou

No “Right Way”

One thing that has been abundant in my life lately is the there is not a “Right Way” to take care of yourself.  Yes, sure there are guidelines by many institutions and schools of thought on how someone should take care of themselves.  However, I am a firm believer in listening to your body and it’s needs.  Just because something works for one person does not mean that it will work for you.

I have two amazing friends that have branched out and started their own company called “The Thrive Effect”.  These two amazing human beings are battling autoimmune diseases with an holistic approach to their care.  They believe in not only what is put into your body (whole foods, balanced nutrients and vitamins) but your mental and emotional well-being too.  These girls are wonderful, kind, and caring human beings and I can not wait to see what they accomplish and learn from them.  They started this journey because western medicine was not what they wanted to fill their bodies with.  They are on little to no medication and work to thrive with their diseases.  Is every day a picnic in the park?  NOPE, but they listen to what their body is telling them.  If they need modern medicine, sure use it!  If they need a day of rest, they take it.  They are working to build a community around this mindset and it’s truly an amazing feat!

I, myself, have had my own life lessons.  I do not have an autoimmune disease but I work very hard to listen to my body.  I see a chiropractor and I have for 10+ years, I see my PCP once a year for a physical, and I also practice a holistic approach to my life.

I focus on eating foods that will fuel my body, give it nutrients.  I take nutritional supplements with the knowledge that I do not take in as much as I should or could.  I have cut out a lot of processed sugar from my diet and I have quite literally trained myself to want water, fruits, and veggies.  I very rarely binge eat anymore and if I do I have a portion and then most often don’t want it again for a six months to a year.

I am not saying The Thrive Effect girls or myself have it all put together.  We don’t, I know we don’t, but we listen to what our bodies need.  Am I saying that I deny myself if I want McDonald’s? Nope! Do I feel guilty if I want ice cream? Nope! I recognize that it’s okay and it’s not the “wrong way” to provide for my body if I enjoy those things.

I also make sure I try and take the time to recognize what is good for myself.  I was working out three times a week over the last six months, in the last few weeks not only did I start a new job but my school semester started and I am now taking two classes on top of full time work, blogging, family, and my relationship.  I know many people do this type or workload in varying degrees and sometimes much more. However, for myself the balance wasn’t there to work out.  I allowed myself to let it go and I am focusing on my yoga practice.

My yoga practice helps me unwind and let go of the stresses.  I didn’t feel the need to wake up early or throw in the time at the end of the day to complete a workout that would drain any energy I had left.  Yoga helps my body unwind, relax, and recharge for the next items to come.

My mom has always said “There is no right or wrong way, there is only the way that is best for you.”  As you finish reading this please take that thought with you, don’t think that what somebody else is doing is the right way and that you have to do it too.  Listen to your body, your wants and your needs.

The Thrive Effect:
Instagram: @thethriveeffect

Instagram: @beyou_findyou

Crawl. Walk. Run.

A favorite idiom of mine is we must crawl before we walk, we must walk before we run.

I feel this applies to almost anything in life.  Before you can excel at something you must learn how to do it.  You must accept and be happy with pieces of you before you can be happy with your entire self.  To get over an ended relationship you must be able to get out of bed in the morning before you can go through your day.

I believe for anyone who has self confidence issues, you need to start by appreciating the “small” things about you.  You start small by appreciating the color of your eyes, your freckles, your smile or maybe it’s your sense of humor.  Recognizing and appreciating small things, like I just mentioned, are where you begin to crawl. Once you start appreciating that one thing about you, that you grow to love about yourself, or you believe is your best feature you start finding others.  

For instance, as I’ve mentioned before, I have curly frizzy hair in a world of pin straight hair.  For many, many years I used the word “hate” when I discussed my hair.  I would flat iron it constantly or put it up so that the curls were not visible.  Even when it was straight it had more volume than those around me and it was frizzy.  Finally when I hit high school I decided I needed to come to terms with the curls.  They were clearly not going away and my hairdresser at the time was constantly telling me I just needed to let them be and that they were in fact beautiful.  Slowly, in my own time, when I didn’t think many of my peers would see me, I would wear my hair curly on the weekends to allow myself to see it and appreciate it. I began to crawl.

Once you begin to crawl you want to walk right?  You start to get curious what the world looks like from two legs.  For this you start looking at who you are, what your morals are, what you are passionate about.  You begin to love your passion for woodworking, animals, art, reading, anything that you are passionate about.  You begin to recognize the parts of you that make you, YOU!  Not just the physical aspects of you but what some might call your morals, your soul, or your personality.  

When I was younger I got teased for being a “goodie two shoes”, I rarely took risks that others did, I never really lied to my parents, I didn’t smoke or drink in high school.  It’s not how I was raised and honestly not what I wanted to do.  I spent time with my family, stayed home and watched movies with them, my sister is and was my best friend.  Family is what I am passionate about, this is how I walk.

When you run, that’s the best feeling.  I believe when you run it is you running head on at life.  You have the self-confidence in not just your physical appearance but how you present yourself to the world.  Having found what makes your life meaningful, whether it be family, a sport, an activity, anything at any given moment that can put a smile on your face.  The running step in this idiom to me is all about how you personify yourself.  These last few years, while I began working on this blog, I ran the fastest I have ever run.  I had the confidence in myself to cut off all of my hair into a pixie cut, put myself out there in relationships and lastly put myself in front of those at work to get to where I wanted to be in the company.  I ran and took risks and I don’t regret it for one moment.  It’s been clarifying and eye opening on how much I have grown as a person.

Now when we do the reverse, when we run before we crawl, we can hurt ourselves.  When you believe you’re the hot shot in art class, you’ve been told you can paint the best fruit bowl, feels good doesn’t it?  However then the teacher says the next piece you do will be in charcoal and you just come up with a black blob, do you get frustrated?  Do you feel deflated?  You might, then your circle of self doubt could start over again, you could spiral down fast and never go to an art class again.  I’ve seen it happen, heck I’ve done it personally.  You know the most disappointing thing, I ended up being my own worst enemy.  

What we need to truly remember is that when we are able to see the little things in ourselves that are what we find the most attractive, then truly others will.  If they don’t, are they really worth it?  So let’s crawl, walk and run together and find ourselves.

Instagram: @beyou_findyou

Consistency > Perfection

One thing that I have struggled with, especially with regards to staying “fit”, is not looking for perfection.  My trainer, and friend, Amy said it best most recently “Consistency is greater then perfection.”

One morning I wrote her the following email:

Happy wednesday, I hope that you are having an amazing week!  So I managed to get my workout in on my birthday and do yoga that evening, the plan was to workout this AM.  I ran last night (btw I never learn to run at dusk). I did not get up this morning and work out, instead I slept.  When I realized what time I snoozed my alarm to I rolled my eyes and immediately thought “Failure”.

THIS is why I started my blog. I know I’m not a failure, I know I can do it and it’s not a big deal if I do it this evening vs this morning. I’m an active individual and my body needed rest.

I just wanted to share, I know listening to my body is the most important thing and there is NO reason for me to dump on myself. I just felt like sharing, I’m happy I’m in a place where I can recognize all of this and I know I am healthy.

I wish I could tell you that I would have had the courage to say that a year ago, even if only to myself.  It is so incredibly hard to acknowledge disappointment, vulnerability, guilt. It is also just as hard to acknowledge when we took a step in the right direction for our own health.

In the last four months I have decided to get back into working out more regularly. Up until a year ago I had been going to the gym for two years, three to four times a week.  I did varying workouts primarily circuit, HIIT, cardio and weights.  I would get up at 4 a.m., be at the gym by 5 a.m., be out of the gym and showered by 7 a.m.. At the office in plenty of time to refocus, eat breakfast, fit in some homework and then begin work. I would then work until 5 p.m. and then maybe fit in time with friends, boyfriend, or just prep for the next day.

Is it any wonder that my body simply stopped letting me go? You think I’m kidding however I truly had no desire to workout. Sure I continued to run now and again but my body was just tired. So, I decided to go on a hiatus and allow my body to be what it was and learn to love it again without looking to perfect it on a weekly basis. I eat intuitively, I always have so my diet was never a thing of question whether I was working out or not. It was an adjustment however, to allow myself to love my body without the workouts.  Despite my consistent activity otherwise and my consistent eating habits I didn’t feel like it was “good enough”.

Last summer, I began going more consistently to a local yoga studio. I loved it but it was an added expense and again time taken to get a bag together, get to the studio, get home, and eat. A friend had shared a YouTube channel she uses to do yoga at home. I figured “Why not?” this became a saving grace.  It allowed me to be more consistent in my yoga practice.  Did I still have the same worries and concerns of “Am I doing enough?” OF COURSE!  It wasn’t until I finally put my all into it and practiced every day for a month where I began to feel a difference.  Even with yoga however, if I missed a day I would beat myself up saying that it wasn’t “good enough”.

See the theme here? I was striving for a perfection that has been created outside of myself.  this “perfect” idea of an individual who is able to have the “perfect” body, live a “perfect” life and eat whatever they choose all the meanwhile.  What we should be encouraging and advocating for is consistency!

WE ARE ONLY HUMAN!  Our bodies get tired, we get sick, we get depressed, sad, or you know what, life happens!  If we at least stay active, if we at least eat well and what our body needs (I believe healthy is different for everyone) and allow ourselves to do more when we want and rest when we need it we would be much better about this perception of “perfect”.

There have been quite a few times sense that email to Amy where I have had to check myself and say “It’s okay you needed the rest, you can do it later or tomorrow.”  Now, I also check myself too because there are definitely those days where I’m just being lazy and I have to kick my own butt into gear.  I am no less proud of myself, I don’t think any less of my self (on most days), and I am no worse for wear.  I am healthy, I am active, and I continue to stay consistent.

Instagram: @beyou_findyou


Every corner I turn I feel as though this world is coming up with a new way for us to be fearful, uncertain, scared, and worried.  We live in a world where terrorists are active within our lives.  We have social media constantly reporting on events that are happening within our own country that we never thought we would see happen.  We have TV shows that people get so enthralled in with criminal activity and conspiracy that our brains begin to fear what we see.

Even if we take it down to just us, just ourselves as an individual can you look at yourself and state what you fear? What you are afraid of? I find when we say what we fear most it is almost always tied to the amount of control we have over it.  When you are afraid of losing the person you are in love with it is most often because they have their own free will, they have their own emotions, and you have no say what those may be.

I can say, after much soul searching, a lot of the fears or uncertainties that I have are because I have no control over them.

With my boyfriend, there have been many times when I have been afraid of “losing” him or uncertain of how strong our relationship is.  I have been afraid because despite him choosing me, and choosing our relationship on a daily basis there are days when I know I can be a handful, my choices or actions may not be the best; because of those I fear that he’ll turn around and one day say “Nope, I’m done”.  It is tough to face these fears and uncertainties with him because while we have been together he has been in graduate school the whole time which is its own monster.  One of my biggest uncertainties has been despite being together the whole time, things change when school is over, how do I know we are strong enough to go thru those next steps too?

Despite my fears he has always been there to comfort me and tell me there is nothing to be afraid of.  When we hiked Mt. Katahdin two years ago and we hiked along knife’s edge (the name is NOT misleading) he stayed by me the whole time.  While I crawled on all fours across it and cried he was there lending his hand and encouraging me and telling me I could do it.  His reassurance, support, and comfort have always put my fears and uncertainties to rest.  I will admit some help from my therapist never hurt. J

From these fears and uncertainties I have also determined a fear of letting go.  I am afraid and uncertain of letting go of control, letting go of the thoughts and emotions within the situation.

I fear heights because let’s face it, you fall you fall, there is no going back.  Even tied to a carabiner I’m not exactly the most comfortable, it’s why I’ve never gone skydiving.  Free falling thru air, even if in tandum, no thanks!  I have no control over it, all these factors in these two situations are entirely not controlled by me this causes me to be afraid.

When I cut off my hair last year I was afraid to show everyone.  I was afraid of the judgement, the comments, and to put myself out there. It is scary to put yourself out there for all to see because again you have no control over their thoughts, their reactions or responses. Tying it back to our relationships, have you been afraid to be honest or voice your concerns, thoughts, feelings, or opinion with your significant other, your parent/s, sibling/s or friend/s.  It’s scary to do so!

One of the biggest things I am afraid and uncertain about is death.  For the last..ten years or so I have gone thru some nights where my mind just spins, I think of death, I think of dying alone, I think of those around me dying.  My mind just keeps going to the point where I have broken down to tears and have had panic attacks.  My mind has kept me up well into the night with these thoughts.  It wasn’t until I started talking about this fear with my parents and having a discussion that I have begun to cope; I know it is a part of life, I understand it happens for all of us.  What is driving this fear is my lack of control over when, where, how, and with whom.

I bring fear up not to be negative, sad, or doubtful.  I bring it up because despite fear I work every day to acknowledge it and be happy. Am I perfect? Definitely not, there have been many days where I have let it rule, I break down and cry and feel lost.  I know I’m stronger then it but it can be consuming.  When we give into our fears we not only are afraid but we can become angry, nervous, sad, frustrated, uncertain, etc.

The difference that I have found is in acknowledging my fear.  If I acknowledge I am afraid, if I acknowledge WHY I am afraid, and state what I can or cannot do about it I am better able to handle it.  Again, this is not fool proof and works often but not always.  Sometimes your fear or uncertainty needs to be talked about and brought to light so that those who you care about and are in your life can be aware.  I also have a therapist that I see to discuss these with as well because these fears or uncertainties are sometimes best addressed with her.

I share all of this and put myself out there in a very public way all because I have spent a lot of time recently being afraid, uncertain and scared for many reasons that have been out of my control.  So, as I stated earlier I decided to share, be open and honest about some of my biggest fears.  Hopefully this will help not only just myself but others in their journey to let go of their fears and uncertainties.

Instagram: @beyoufindyou

Your Influencers

You know you’ve heard it from the adults in your life, let’s just count an adult anyone your parents age or older.

The friends you have, the people you spend your time with, make you who you are.

They help mold your ideals, your thoughts, your morals. I have had my own experiences as well as witnessed people I grew up with influenced by people around them. Now, if you are reading this and saying to yourself “I’m not influenced by any one,” good for you!  I ask you to just keep reading anyway, or you can just stop here, it’s up to you I won’t be offended.

When we are kids your family is your influential group. My parents influenced me to enjoy classical music, especially Andrea Bocelli. My mother influenced me to enjoy cooking. My dad has had me on a computer since I can remember, so his influence has helped me to be fluent on a computer much earlier on than most.  My sister influenced my ideals of friendship and was my first friend.  I won’t say there weren’t times I wish I didn’t have a sister but more often than not I remember pointing out that she was my sister and being proud.  I wasn’t someone who disliked having a sister and was never ashamed to say she was mine. 

As I got older my friends also became influences on my life. They influenced me to swear, they influenced me to lie to my parents, which was never successful by the way. They influenced me to judge people, most of all judge myself.

I judged myself every morning, before I would let them judge me. I beat myself up before they could. I can pinpoint when I started to really have self-image issues in fifth grade. I had cut my hair incredibly short, so I got called “mushroom head,” at that age you think no big deal they’re just kids.  Those words though have lasted to this day, since then I have cut my hair just as short twice, until most recently.  While writing this over the last year, I cut my hair down to a pixie cut.  I had been debating it for a year and then decided Memorial Day weekend that I’d call my hairdresser and if she had an appointment that day I’d do it and guess what…SHE DID!  It was a HUGE change and with curly hair I looked entirely different from those other girls who had pixie cuts.  It has been a test of my self confidence and has been a whole new learning curve the whole time.  It took me almost twenty years to feel comfortable again in my own skin and with my own identity to cut all of my hair off.

Learning to love myself again “without” the hair that has defined me for so long has been thrilling and scary.

Throughout my life and especially during this phase of short hair, my self-confidence has wavered from okay to down right gross, always comparing myself to other girls. At one point, when I was younger I felt so gross, so low, so poorly about myself that I thought cutting myself would cause relief. It did not, but it happened because of media influences as well as the people I had around me.  I saw others around me handling their anger, sadness, and depression in that way and thought, “Why not try it?”.  After that I was incredibly ashamed and swore I would never do it again.  I realized that self harm, physical self harm, did nothing except hurt and gave me a physical reminder of the low point in my life.  Why would I want a reminder of that?  Why would I want a reminder of a really low point instead of having a reminder of something happy?  Now don’t get me wrong, there are many I know who have these scars and look at them as growing pains, they went thru something and made it out the other side.  

**In no way am I stating that self harm is okay or acceptable to deal with things that are going on in your life.**

I am merely acknowledging that it happens to many whether it be cutting, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, eating disorders and any other type of harm one can cause to oneself.  I recognize it occurs as something that we feel we can “control” but many times I have seen where it ends up controlling someone.

As I’ve gotten older, I have begun to recognize and see when people influence my thoughts. In college, a few people I spent time with, were incredibly judgmental of others and I began judging people again. I felt gross when I did it, I knew it wasn’t right and I knew it wasn’t nice.  I didn’t like how I felt when I did it because again, I then began to judge myself.  I won’t lie, it’s sadly human nature to judge however, I now choose to fill my life with people who choose to be understanding and acknowledge no human being is perfect. I work very hard to give people the benefit of the doubt and to not judge them on how they look, how they dress, how they talk, or how they act.  

People around us influence our thoughts, actions, and emotions in many different ways.  If you continue to fill your tribe, support system, group, friends etc. with people who are constantly in fear, doubt, shame, sadness, nervousness, and negativity most often that is what you begin to feel like.  If you surround yourself with people who admit their faults, honest, kind, happy, positive, accepting; you find yourself reflecting those things back and living your life a bit differently

As Thumper said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Try it, give yourself a month, look at your friends and see who has a good outlook on life versus the one’s who are a bit more negative. Try spending a week solely with the friends who have a good outlook, then spend a week with the friends who are a bit more down. How do you feel? What are your thoughts like? Are you happier with one over the other? If you can’t tell after a month give it a little longer.

You do not HAVE to do this, it’s food for thought. It is to get you to think, if you can change how you think about yourself by who you spend time around shouldn’t you try it?  If you’ve had your own experiences like this share them with me!

Instagram: @beyou_findyou