dear spring

Dear Spring,

 

It took you a while to show up this year. Winter seemed to have a need to dominate this earth but you slowly starting to peek through with your original shyness. Your rainfall has soaked the ground for the past week as you melted the snowy blanket that sheltered me from the world. You force me to smell the fresh air and break down my barriers. With winter’s hibernation you tell me that it’s time to show the world the creativity I’ve been carefully attending to for the last few months.

You give everyone around me a sort of anticipation as you tease us with your peek-a-boo sun and the little chirping bird that occasionally appears. The scholars I pass by on a regular basis with a growing anticipation to explore the muddy ground they so dearly missed when the snow covered their tracks.

You give me a new kind of hope each year and open my eyes to the world I hid from. You give me a pair of rose-coloured glasses to wear for a while so that the bitterness and harsh reality of winter can be forgotten for a bit. My gentle, flowery spring, please take your sweet time to blossom and care for this earth and its people with your nightly rainfalls that soothe me to sleep as you transition us to a burning summer.

Love,

Elizabeth

 

Please also read: dear winter

my journey to self-love

Like anyone else, I’ve had my moments of self-doubt, a lack of self-worth, and a difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. We’ve all been there, but sometimes we can’t get out. Life has been particularly hard for me lately as I dive into my 20’s with seemingly no sense of direction or place to call home. With Valentine’s Day being celebrated this week, I knew something in my life had to change. I needed to show a little more self-compassion and a little more acceptance for my imperfections. This is my journey to self-love.

I used to be a rather shy child. I was always fearful of speaking my mind, just in case something I said wouldn’t be right. As I made my way into my 3rd year of high school I soon found that there was a way I could be accepted. I found a small group of friends and we had beautiful moments together full of laughter and tears. Although as soon as I reached the end of my last year our friendships began to dwindle because we were changing. The people we be-friended before weren’t the same people and we all wanted to escape from each other. The only downside to that was that we weren’t able to see each other grow at their own paces and support each other, and so, we were left with our past visions of each other, and this, in turn, led to regret.

I’ve moved through life just like this. I’ve grown and changed, but along with those changes, I’ve left people behind. Each person I’ve left behind, I’m afraid, has a memory of me which I don’t like, and so I continue to run away. Soon, I began to run away from myself and my mistakes, which only led to a feeling of loss, like I would never be good enough.

As I write this, I am sure many others are relating to this. And so I ask you to be kind. The only way to show self-love is to be kind to yourself. Remember that you are human and many mistakes will be made, but remember how you have grown from those mistakes and how you have still gotten somewhere in life. It may not be exactly where you want to be, but it is a start. Along with this, be kind to others. Show that same compassion toward yourself to those you meet in life who maybe didn’t show off their best assets for a day. Create an endless world of love, because this is how we grow; not only ourselves but together.

I’m leaving some videos and songs down below to listen to whenever you’re feeling low. Enjoy! And let every day be Valentine’s Day!

 

Videos:

Oprah – There are no Mistakes: https://youtu.be/dGgb1PwH7mo

Taylor Swift – Clean Speech 1989 Tour Machester: https://youtu.be/dZFEOuhiilo

Lady Gaga Talks About Being who you Really Are: https://youtu.be/EA2ljohWGsQ

 

Songs:

Self-Love Playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/22lnecqchavemxdzijlvriz7i/playlist/7wAxg7PIYrBhRkIDtFNe55

life in limbo

Forgive me but I’ve been at a loss for words.

I’ve traveled around the world thus far

And I’ve discovered things about myself

That the girl at home would never understand.

I’ve made a name for myself in some places that I want people to forget,

And I’ve been praised of my name in some places I want to go back to.

I currently live in limbo as I swing from one home to the other,

Always recognized in a different color, no matter where I go.

You see, authenticity has been hard for me and I’m sorry to say

That I’ve lied before.

I’m sure I misspoke my name many-a-times.

Because I’m still trying to find my place.

The place where I step onto the ground

and where I can say that I’ve made it my home without the birth-rights.

For now, my only constant remains on the road and I may have a gypsy soul

But I’m a poet at a loss for words trying to find her way home.

 

That poem was written soon after my 21st birthday. Living in your 20’s isn’t always everything I expected it to be. It seems as we grow in life we are always expecting our life is going to be how it normally would be 10 years from now. By my 20’s I expected to have a successful relationship, a solid career, my own place in a city or town I made my own, and the ability to no longer rely on vacations with my family. Being in your 20’s is strange, especially as soon as you turn 21. We would think we would have life figured out and look like a woman from Sex in the City. Unfortunately, it’s more like your last year of college, scrambling to prepare for a job, with a near future of being lonely and still living with your parents. It’s this strange mix of knowing you are clearly an adult and yet still not living that adult lifestyle you expected.

It’s at times like this when I remember how I felt when I was a teenager. I wanted to be on my own and in college so bad, then I got to college and wanted my carefree high school days back. We always want to grow older until we do and we want to be younger. It’s a hard bullet to bite when reality smacks you in the face and you suddenly don’t feel like you belong anywhere. Home is too suffocating and you like college because you have freedom and friends but honestly, the homework is relentless. So now you’re stuck and feeling like you don’t belong anywhere. Believe it or not, this is a time you may want to relive at some point.

We tend to fantasize the past in the present and we look toward the future with the strain of not being able to get there fast enough. Then when we do get to the future we romanticize our past when we weren’t really living in it. Being in your 20’s is truly a time for self-discovery. Even though you may not have the means to travel freely as you expected, you do have the means to reflect and work on yourself. We want to be prepared for the future right? Think of this time as simmering in a pot, getting ready for the buffet. You’re the star dish and its time to make your debut. You may be in limbo but this is the time to create yourself when you’re the star of the show. Live in the present, and just be.

the workaholic’s guide to relaxation

As we grow older and find ourselves attending University and going to work, we find ourselves getting involved in more work. Sometimes this work can be addicting. When we work we usually receive an award, such as honors, the employee of the year, or we are simply admired. When we get praised for doing this we want to work more. When we do work more we get used to it and any day when we don’t do work feels like we’re wasting our time or being unproductive. Our minds crave stimulus in a world where computer screens are everywhere and our phones have so much data and media with easy access right at our fingertips. I too am a culprit, and it’s not something to be too worried about. Being a workaholic can have its benefits, very good ones, but it can also have its downfalls. This is the guide that I used to achieve relaxation with my stimulus craving brain.

 

  1. Put your phone away!

The number one thing to start doing is to diminish your need for stimulus. Start this by putting away your phone more often. Think about whenever you call someone, you expect them to answer immediately and are frustrated when they don’t. We no longer have patience and we need to constantly have our phone with us. Start by buying a wrist-watch. This way you don’t have to look at your phone for the time. Start putting your phone away when you’re in the waiting room or eating a meal. Look around you, have a conversation. You need for stimulus is sure to decrease.

 

  1. Evaluate your commitments.

At some point, we will find ourselves with so many commitments that we don’t have time for ourselves. We believe the more work we have, the more successful we will be. This eventually will just lead to burnout and we wonder what it is that we actually care about. I’ll leave a video by Youtuber MuchelleB to explain more: https://youtu.be/9qBHD2R3EkY

 

  1. Have a burnout plan.

If you are a workaholic, I am sure you have found yourself many times in a puddle of burnout and you just feel stuck. I used to work so much that my burnout period would actually be me getting sick. Everyone’s burn out package will be different compared to someone else but this video by Chase on New Age Creators should help you get started: https://youtu.be/dNVM5uP2GvQ

 

  1. Make a self-care package.

We all need self-care, especially if you are a workaholic. Take the time to have a list of things to do for self-care. Maybe have a relaxing morning or evening routine to have two parts of the day when you focus completely on self-care by eating, watching a TV show, or meditating. Have a day off in the week when you don’t do any work what-so-ever. These are usually Sundays for me. Whatever works for you, make sure you always take time for self-care.

 

That is all the advice I have for today! Hopefully you little workaholics will be on your way to feeling better about your laundry list diminishing a little bit. Stay healthy, take care of yourself, and good luck!

why college life doesn’t have to be for you

It’s ingrained in our minds by now. Finish high school, get a part-time job, go to Undergrad school for 4 years, go to Grad school for another 2 or 3, and get a full-time job. The typical college student goes into higher education right after high school. Most of the time they move away for the first time with no real-world experience on their shoulders and muddle through homesickness while being surrounded by frat parties, underage drinking, and a lot of experimentation with sex and drugs. A lot of people may not want to hear this but no matter how prestigious the school you go to is, the odds are this activity does happen. For those, like myself, you don’t particularly like the college lifestyle and end up hiding in their dorm rooms half the time and go home on the weekends. It really does take away from the experience we should be having. College life isn’t for everyone and that’s okay.

Right off the bat I am going to reach out to those who don’t want to go to college at all. If you don’t find any higher education concentration of your interest, then don’t do it. The other thing I recommend is if you are in love with the arts, please do not feel obliged to go to a big fancy art school. Take it from the art student herself. Art isn’t something you should be graded on, it is something to practice, but that is an entire other rant meant for another time. The college itself is not meant for everyone and it doesn’t have to be for everyone. In some parts of the working industry, you don’t have to have a college degree. I do recommend at least getting your higher general education requirements done, just because it does up your resume, however, it’s not necessary if you want to be a welder, a car dealer, or a baker. What our generation has undermined is the fact that there are plenty of wonderful and fulfilling careers out there that do not require a college degree but just a bit of training.

The other point I’m going to cover here is for those who do want a higher education but don’t want the college life. I’m a quiet gal who wants to live out in the country near a small town of wonderful people and the college lifestyle doesn’t exactly offer that. I ended up going to community college for 2 years while living at home, then my antsy-self wanted to move away for the rest of my college education. I ended up hiding away from the college lifestyle instead of embracing it like I thought I would. I was sad, homesick, and lost in my higher learning and that is definitely not where I should have been. I’m finishing up one more semester at that school and I’m going straight to online courses so I can be in a comfortable setting where I can learn. The point I’m trying to get at is that if you are going to pursue higher education, there is no reason you should be sad and distraught about it and that has a lot to do with your environment. Try looking into community colleges near you so you can live at home. It is sure to be plenty more comfortable for you and you’ll be able to concentrate on your studies. The other thing I suggest is if the certain college you want a certain degree from is far away, consider taking online courses. This takes a lot of work to get through online courses but believe me, it is possible (read my blog over at UAlbany’s Project MyStory on “7 Things to Consider Before Taking an Online Course”: https://ualbanyadvising.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/7-things-to-consider-before-taking-an-online-course/#more-7115). The last thing to mention is maybe you do have to be away in order to attend college. If you don’t want to deal with the dorms or any of that nonsense, then it may be good for you to check out college apartments. Yes, you will still be near the college and near college students but you may have a bit more space and silence than you would if you were in a dorm. There is also something called, intergenerational living. There are programs that offer rent-free apartments to those who are willing to live side by side with senior residents who seek to have a little company (to find out more on this, check out: http://iahsa.net/Intergenerational_Living.aspx).

No matter the situation, you don’t have to experience a sort of lifestyle in order to get the education you want. It’s time we start promoting other ways of getting the careers we’ve dreamed of instead of the traditional mindset of going to college for 4 years and living in a crappy dorm. I hope this helps you on your journey to the life you’ve always dreamed of.

why you shouldn’t force positivity

This has been a topic that I have struggled with and I’m sure many have. I recently watched a video by famous Youtuber, Pewdiepie. His video was on forced positivity (find the link below), and it inspired me to bring my own perspective to this idea. In our culture today you have so many quick tricks and motivational speakers telling you how to get “happier” in 6 quick easy steps. There are “motivational” quotes all over the internet that encourage constant happiness. Our social media culture represents only the good things that happen in our loved one’s lives and we are influenced to believe that being constantly happy is the true meaning of success in life. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with happiness. Happiness is a beautiful thing and it has created some of my most memorable moments in my life. However, when happiness is forced because we are led to believe it is the only right way, that is when it becomes a problem.

Pewdiepie also mentioned this article, which is a great read (link below); a Harvard psychologist took a gander at forced positivity and how it can actually hurt you more to pretend you are happy. Here is one of the quotes from the article, “A lot of our cultural dialogue is fundamentally avoidant, so people will just say things like, ‘just be positive and things will be fine.’ ‘The tyranny of positivity’ was what a friend of mine called it.” There have been many times in my life where I forced a smile to come off as “normal” or “successful.” I saw these happy successful people and I thought, in order for me to be like that, I have to constantly be happy and enjoy everything in life. But in turn, I just became more upset because if I wasn’t happy enough, I thought I wouldn’t be successful enough. You’ve probably already seen this from plenty of movies and interviews but success brings on a lot of trouble in life. Being successful is hard, it takes work, and sometimes that work hurts. As humans, we cannot constantly be overwhelmed with joy. We can enjoy things in life and not have to feel an overwhelming boost of positivity. Life is not like it is in the movies and this is okay. We will feel sad, we will feel happy, and we will feel… just okay. Most of the time we’re in the middle. We’re not happy and we’re not sad, we’re fine. Being fine doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy things or have fun. It doesn’t mean we can’t be successful either.

Another quote from the article says, “emotions like sadness, guilt, grief and anger are beacons for our values. We don’t get angry about stuff we don’t care about. We don’t feel sad or guilty about stuff we don’t care about. If we push these emotions away, we are choosing not to learn about ourselves. We are choosing to ignore our values and what is important to us.” By pushing those other emotions away, we only grow to be more upset than we were before. We must embrace how we feel, understand why we feel this way, and then move on to be just okay. I highly suggest watching the video in the description and reading the article as well.

 

And today… I hope you can say that you are fine.

 

Video Link: https://youtu.be/iyGI1uHyyws

Article Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/09/23/forcing-positive-thinking-wont-make-you-happy-says-this-harvard-psychologist/?utm_term=.00f033b25826

 

dear winter

Dear Winter,

You sprinkled your white dust upon my home a lot sooner than I thought you would this year. Your cold blanket shuffled me indoors, cuddled under a blanket with a warm cup of coffee. The people I love and the ones who surround me grew depleted with your fall and the world grew quiet. I mourned the loss of the constant time spent with others but soon grew to love your silence, just as I do each year.

Winter, you give me space to dream and think about myself and my life. I love to sit in your solitude and plan for my future as my creativity blossoms under your falling snow. The holidays are always confusing when you’re near. I wonder what it all means. Each year it seems as though the holiday cheer shrinks into a corner as the commercial influence engulfs the family laughter. Each snowfall, the world becomes so much clearer. I feel the sting of reality, along with your icicle droplets. And somehow this calms me to know that the snow can reflect the bitter things that I must encourage to take care of in my lifetime.

Each snow storm I discover a little extra part of me. Sometimes I like it and other times it hurts; but all the time it’s refreshing to know that I am authentic, even if authenticity means making mistakes. No other season can bring me the appreciation of having a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, a family to be with, and food on my table. I appreciate the warmth of a blanket and cozy sweaters so much more than I would if it were summer.

Thank you winter, for giving me the time to grow under silence and so much more.

let’s talk about change

“We all change when you think about it.

We are all different people, all through our lives.

And that’s okay, that’s good.

You got to keep moving.

So long as you remember all the people that you used to be.”

– Doctor Who-

 

I’m going through a massive change in my life. I’ve just turned 21 and my ideas are different, my personality is different, and my aesthetic is different. However, I’m still me. I’ve been so many different people in my life that sometimes it feels redundant for me to say this. But people change. Everyone does.

Doctor Who is a perfect and physically clear example of this change. If you haven’t watched the show; Doctor Who is an alien from a dead planet called Gallifrey, who looks human, can travel in time and space in a phone booth called a TARDIS, and has two hearts. These three things will never change about him, but because he is an alien he has a special power. Whenever he is hurt or dies he regenerates as a different person. He’s still himself with all of his memories intact but his personality changes, his morals, and most importantly his genetic features. Basically, the actor playing his character is replaced with a new actor.

I’ve always related to this aspect of the television show because I feel like in my lifetime I have grown and changed so much as a person. I’ve held so many different faces and so many different experiences, and every time I feel like it’s the last time I learn something new and I change. This change is usually scary because I sometimes worry if I’ll have the same friends or if the people who liked me before will like me again. I worry about that untitled page and wonder if it will hold good or bad for me. This change is also exciting with a new look and a new perspective and so many things to explore.

What has happened recently is mostly due to my age. Turning 21 brings on a lot of new things. I’m looking forward to graduating from university and possibly starting a new career. Love and relationships are different for me now and more committable. I’m an adult with bills to pay and responsibilities. As soon as I walked into my first bar I reverted inside. I didn’t feel confident and I immediately began to create fantasies and distractions to escape this terribly real world that was suddenly in my hands. Instead of concentrating on myself I began to concentrate on other people and I started building fantasies about them. I began to grow nostalgic. All of this, in turn, resulted in disappointment and a loss of control. Luckily it didn’t get too out of hand. I recently just got a kick in the face with a major disappointment and I’m ready now to be 21. I’m ready to embrace this age and face the realities life is giving me to attempt to figure out.

This is, of course, scary because I’ve never walked down this road and I just lost a very close friend of mine who was there for me for a very long time. This is okay, though. They weren’t ready for this change in my life. I have a handful of new friends now and my family is still close to me. I have a winter intermission to think about life and what I want out of it. I am going to read, eat, drink, laugh, love, and dance. I am going to tread through these new waters and experience the new experiences this chapter has to offer me.

Don’t ever be afraid to let go of the past and start anew. You don’t have to disregard who you once were or throw it away. That person is still you, just matured with new experiences, like a fine wine. It’s time to make something of yourself and start a change because without change there is no forgiveness of mistakes and there is no future. Embrace it, follow it and be it.