Brainwashed

Wow. It’s been a long time since even thinking about writing a blog post. To say that my spring semester of junior year…scratch that…to say that my junior year of college was the busiest, most stressful year of my life is an understatement. Despite this blog post not being a life update, I will quickly say that this year has tested me over and over again. It’s helped me to grow and mature. It’s tested my patience. It’s tested my relationships. And it’s MOST DEFINITELY tested my sanity. Yet here we are, sane (for the most part) and now a senior in college! WOO-HOO!

Now onto what’s really weighing on me…

Technology. Social Media. The internet. Have you ever thought about and examined what these things actually mean to you? How they play a role in your life? Lately, I’ve really had to take a step back and examine the pros and cons of social media. If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while now, you’d remember my social media break (Social Media Experiment – SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T EVERYTHING) and recall that even two weeks free of social media allowed me to strengthen relationships with loved ones and completely diminish any stressors due to social media urging us to show off a “perfect” life.

Lately, I have been feeling similar to how I was feeling before my first social media break, however this time, I have begun to develop emotions of anger and annoyance at what social media has become and the emphasis it places on perfection, whatever perfection may be in the eyes of others.

*DISCLAIMER* This post is not to rant about my life. I love my life and the people in it. However, it is to state my feelings in hopes that other’s can relate to these feelings and maybe come to a realization of their own.

Writing these past couple months has not come easy. I’ve talked in previous posts about inspiration and how I have been lacking in inspiration for a while now. It seems that only in times of sadness or anger can words easily flow out of my mouth. When contemplating why social media takes such a toll on my life, this is what came out.

In comparison to others, I do not feel special. In comparison to others, I do not feel pretty. In comparison to others, I do not feel wanted or sought after. And because of this, I blame technology. I blame technology for allowing us to broadcast the amazing parts of our lives while completely overlooking the horrible and VERY REAl parts of our lives. I blame technology for making it so easy to compare my body, my materials, and my life to those more fortunate than I. I blame technology for stealing my self-esteem from me. But here I am, continuing to post, to tweet, to make statuses, because this is what my generation does. And this is how I am able to feel important. Technology has simultaneously stolen my happiness while being the thing that is able to make me feel accepted, wanted and loved. Talk about a fucked up concept.

To reiterate; No, I do not hate my life.  No, I am not disregarding the amazing people I have in my life already. No, I am not being ungrateful for the life I was given. As stated above, I love my life and each soul who has touched it in the past 21 years. But now more than ever, a large following and hundreds, if not thousands of likes and comments are what makes someone “important.” Important to who you may ask? WHO FUCKING KNOWS. By what standards are we considered pretty or handsome? WHO FUCKING KNOWS. We continue to aim for these unreachable standards placed by social media influencers, INFLUENCERS WHO ARE PAID TO SHOW OFF THE FLASHIEST, MOST “PERFECT” PARTS OF THEIR LIVES. And because of this, me, and people like me, have unreachable standards set day after day. Striving for a fantasy life of new clothes every day, fancy meals 3 times a day, and living the life that everyone else wants but can’t have. Like I said, a fucked up concept indeed.

I guess this post is more of a reminder to myself and others. A reminder that our lives can be “perfect” in our eyes if we choose to make it perfect. Aiming for a toned body and nice ass like that one Instagram model you’ve been following for ages? Stop. Aim for the toned and fit body YOU want because YOU want it, not because someone else has it. Striving to get over 10,000 followers because in the eyes of others, then you’re closer to being someone “important?” Stop. Focus your energy on gaining a real, in-person friend.

This post is certainly directed towards people my age because I am sure I’ll be told by older generations that defeating this social media brainwash is as easy as deleting the app and putting your phone down. Well any millennial can agree with me in saying it’s not that easy. We are moving closer to a completely technological world, so acting as if social media doesn’t exist, or doesn’t play some sort of role in our lives is simply naive. However, we can acknowledge DAILY that these standards set by social media influencers ARE UNATTAINABLE. STUPID. A FANTASY.

Together, we need to stop letting social media determine whether we are living a noteworthy and “important” life. Instead, let’s make our own standards and work to attain those while appreciating and spreading love to those around us!

 

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xo ツ

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Where Does One Find Inspiration?

In accordance with my last post, these past two weeks alone I have focused on taking this new year and well, making it my bitch. HAHA.

What I mean by that is, along with physical health, I am focusing on mental health. Physically, I have set a weekly schedule for workouts. I have acknowledged the fact that I thrive more in a group setting rather than individually in a gym on my own time. Thus, I have taken the resources given to me by my university and planned out my weekly workout routine. Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights are dedicated to trying out a new type of class whether it be strength and flexibility training, yoga, pilates, or even kickboxing (which I have been dying to try for as long as I can remember). On top of these classes, I have also started pole fitness. Each Sunday and Tuesday I am partaking in beginner pole fitness classes. So far, I have only been to two but I have already fallen in love with the instructors, my fellow students and the amount of hard work, flexibility, strength, and dedication that it takes! If you are used to the same old routine, I suggest trying out something you’ve never in your life thought of doing because it may just turn out to be one of the best decisions, which was the case for me!

Mentally, I am working towards not letting the classes and massive amounts of schoolwork take over my life and my happiness. I work my ass off in school and last semester truly stole away my desire to pay attention to my mental health and make sure I am mentally stable. I focused solely on getting the best possible grade I could get whilst forgetting that there’s so much more to life than my GPA. In an attempt to focus on my well-being this semester, I have also begun guitar lessons.

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April of 2012. Right before my first guitar recital.

I haven’t discussed playing much, if at all, on my blog, but I got my first guitar when I was thirteen, took a couple lessons and then ended up quitting lessons to teach myself. With all the moving around from Indiana to Arizona and vice versa that I have done, my guitar hasn’t always followed me which made it hard to progress any furthur in my skills. After not playing for so long, I had also forgotten that guitar is a very helpful coping mechanism of mine for when I am upset, angry, or just dealing with stress and anxiety. I was able to find a student guitar teacher (who is an absolutely incredible musician) and within the first 2 lessons, I was learning how to finger pick several different songs, a skill I struggled with immensely when trying to teach myself. Currently, I am working on learning Blackbird by The Beatles. For those of you who don’t know, this is a pretty difficult song, but with practice makes perfect and I will get there at some point!

My reasoning for writing this post is to show myself that I am striving towards greatness and working my hardest to get there, but with all these classes and my busy schedule, blogging has been placed on the backburner and has led me into a rutt when it comes to creative writing. I have worked so hard to grow my follower base and now that I am starting to build it, my inspiration seems to be lost. Some posts flow better than others which is understandable, but I want so badly to keep a consistent blog with at least one post every week and that is something I will continue to work towards.

If any of my readers have some ideas on blog topics that you’d like to see or that you think would fit in well with my blog, I beg of you to let me know! Yes, I like to write simply for the joy of writing, but I also want to be sure my readers are interested and relating to what I am writing. Due to wanting this blog to be so relatable, I have opened up about many private situations and thoughts in my life, so if there’s something you are struggling with that you think I may have some advice on, please either comment on this post or go to the ‘Contact Me’ page and fill out the contact form because odds are, I have experienced something similar or can at least begin a discussion regarding that topic.

 

Plus, I’d simply just love some feedback from my amazing, supportive readers. Hope to hear from you ❤

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Whats the Key to Success? Learn to be a Quitter

Hi everyone! I stumbled across this post from BossBabe.com and oddly enough, it is exactly what I needed to hear. Don’t you love when you read something and you feel like it’s speaking exactly to you and your current situation? I wanted to share with all of you in hopes that maybe, it hits home for you just as it did for me!

“WINNERS NEVER QUIT AND QUITTERS NEVER WIN,” RIGHT?

If you grew up hearing this popular saying, you’re not alone. Maybe it was your soccer coach at your first big game, a parent helping you with homework, or a teacher helping you learn a new skill.

They all encouraged you never to quit, because quitting was equivalent to giving up and giving up meant you didn’t have enough confidence or drive to succeed.

And, to an extent, they’re right. Giving up isn’t good. But quitting, CAN be.

As we get older, it becomes harder to distinguish quitting from failure.

But go with me here…

Quitting is NOT failure.

Quitting is pivoting into something else.

IN LIFE, IN YOUR CAREER, IN A RELATIONSHIP, TRY TO THINK LESS ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE QUITTING FROM AND MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE QUITTING TOWARD.

UK survey found that 6 out of 10 people stay in relationships they don’t find fulfilling. 5 out of 10 people stay in jobs they’re unhappy with, according to a study completed by the Conference Board. Both surveys found that many people stayed in unhappy situations because they consider leaving to be a failure. What if what comes next is better than what’s you’ve left behind?

Are you quitting to move on to something better? Are you quitting to improve your personal or mental health? Are you quitting because the current situation no longer serves you?  Being afraid of quitting, could literally be blocking you from starting that new business, going back to school, moving to a new city or embarking on a new career journey. If you’re still unsure, run through this quick checklist below:

HERE’S 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU QUIT:

  1. Is my happiness more important than complacency?
  2. Could there be something better on the other side?
  3. Am I making a decision to stay out of fear?
  4. Am I ready to take the consequences?
  5. Do I believe in myself?

If you answered “yes” to most of these, its time to QUIT.

Knowing when to quit or leave something behind is a crucial step toward a brighter, happier, more fulfilled life. So I want you to embrace quitting. You never know what’s waiting for you on the other side.

 

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I Stopped Letting Nicotine Control My Life

For four years, I believed that I would never be able to put down my e-cig. For four years, I grew more and more accustomed to it always being around. The amount of times I SWORE I could never put the thing down are unimaginable and now, here I am one whole month clean of nicotine! HOW EXCITING!

Nowadays, with nicotine being so easily accessible (so much to the point that I have sat next to people in class puffing on a juul), quitting is a little more difficult than it is with cigarettes. The idea of the “hand to mouth” phenomenon switches from having to go outside every once in a while to fulfill the desire, to simply reaching in your pocket in any given situation and fulfilling the desire. And of course many are aware of the juul, but what many aren’t aware of is that a single juul pod is equivalent to AN ENTIRE PACK OF CIGARETTES! YUCK. So I wanted to write this post for anyone out there who, just like me, said “I could never put this thing down!”

Why did I decide to quit?

I had thought about quitting on several occasions but always ended up talking myself out of it for ridiculous reasons such as, “finals are coming up and I am gonna be really stressed out so I should probably wait till after finals.” These nonsense excuses persisted time after time. Roughly a month and a half ago, I got really sick to the point where even the smallest of hits off my e-cig resulted in me coughing my lungs out for the five minutes following. I had stopped bringing it with me to classes and without realizing it, started weaning myself off of both nicotine and the idea of hand to mouth. Wanting to quit was still in the back of my mind so I had brought it up to my boyfriend about how I still wanted to quit and without hesitation he asked me if I wanted him to hide my e-cig. I most definitely didn’t want him to hide it but I said yes and I’m so proud of myself for following through.

What has this past month been like?

The first week was easily the most difficult. If my boyfriend hadn’t hid my e-cig, I don’t think I would’ve successfully made it past that week, but I tried to keep myself busy to stop, or more so mask the cravings. I also took the time to look into some resources I could utilize to help make quitting a little bit easier. Indiana University has a wonderful smoking cessation program that involves a weekly meeting and plenty of resources to help ease the cravings such as nicotine patches and gum. The best part about this program is IT’S 100% FREE! The program has been so very helpful to me and if you are wanting to quit but can’t imagine doing it by yourself, I would most definitely recommend looking into some smoking cessation programs near you.

My challenge to you!

For four years, I relied on nicotine in almost every situation and laughed at anyone who even slightly insinuated that I should quit because I didn’t believe I was mentally strong enough. Now one month free of nicotine and I am so proud of the progress I’ve made. Each day truly does get easier and it helps when you are surrounded by people who want to help you to quit. So if you also have considered quitting smoking but can’t imagine your world without nicotine in it, I urge you to find someone who you trust to help keep you on track (and possibly hide anything you may use to satisfy your nicotine addiction) and look into any resources your town may have to help you quit.

It is not easy. It definitely took all the willpower I had but I knew that it was in my best interest. I went on for 16 years without nicotine in my life and I WILL get to a point where nicotine doesn’t even cross my mind, but for now I will stick to relying on the ones who have my best interest in mind and want nothing but to help me succeed in fighting this addiction.

I stopped letting nicotine control my life and you should too. (Wow I sound like a commercial)

I am MORE than happy to answer any questions that anyone may have regarding this topic. In fact, if you are considering taking that first step to quitting, PLEASE either comment on this post or go to the ‘Contact Me’ page and fill out the form! I would love to help anyone wanting to beat this horrible addiction!

and remember…

You ARE capable of putting it down ♡

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When the Silver Lining is Nonexistent

Normally, I can find the silver lining on a majority of bad situations. Maturity has helped me to recognize that sometimes losing something or someone is for the better. But what happens when you feel like you’ve hit the point of no return?

College for most people is finding life-long friends and soaking up every second of young adulthood, but what happens when it seems as if I am losing more friends than gaining? What happens when the supposed friends I do have, have more interest in what seems like everything else BUT me? Now of course, I know I am not the only one going through this and I’m not going to sit here and whine and complain about issues that I’m sure everyone faces at least once in their life, but now the question arises, where do I go from here and how do I keep from experiencing these feelings in the future?

Self-reflection of course is necessary because I’m not going to sit here and blame my issues on everyone else, but there has to be something more, doesn’t there? In all honesty, I don’t know what I am searching for in writing this, but I do know that writing is one thing that helps me to self-reflect and fully recognize and acknowledge all of the feelings I am experiencing.

Life is a series of lessons and a majority of the time, those lessons are brutal and take time to understand. I am aware that I am in the middle of one of those lessons as we speak, but how do I understand the lesson before its learned. What is the goal in my suffering? In my loneliness? Only time can tell.

So for now, I will focus on taking this pain and turning it into strength. I will fixate my attention on the positives in my life rather than dwell on the negatives. I will appreciate all that I do have and I will tackle each day as it comes because that’s all I really can do.

We all have bad days. So while I am in the midst of one, I want to remind you that if you are having a bad day, remember its a bad day, not a bad life. Cliché I know, but life is most definitely an obstacle course and we are just along for the ride. Wow, I am just a book of clichés right now, be that as it may, work with me in taking charge of your life. Work with me in reminding yourself that these difficult times will pass because as I had said before, these lessons may be brutal but the outcome is bright. With pain and heartache lies strength and beauty.

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xo ツ

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Social Media Experiment – SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T EVERYTHING

HI GUYS! So two weeks ago I decided I wanted to take a little social media break and observe how I felt throughout that time. I wanted to remind myself that social media is not the most important thing in my life and I wanted to take that chance to not only build friendships/relationships, but create them as well! Well here I am, two weeks later in good spirits, knowing that my social media break was most definitely needed. As I reflect, I wanted all of you to be aware of the benefits of taking a step back and recognizing the negative impact that social media has on our lives and our well-being.

What did I do best utilize my time?

  • I made DELICIOUS dinners with my Jackson.
  • I went on walks with Jackson and explored the town that we have lived in for several months now but still barely know (LOL).
  • I cleaned the apartment…a lot.
  • I was able to fully focus on my homework without worrying about what was new on my social media.
  • I did some fun DIY projects from Pinterest.
  • Jackson and I made new couple friends in our apartment complex!! (Our first couple friends! How exciting!)
  • I went tailgating with new friends and enjoyed the crisp fall air.
  • I tried to soak in every moment spent with Jackson and friends.

Why is a social media break important?

It’s hard to notice the negative effects that social media has on our lives when it is constantly available to us. So my goal in taking a social media break was to merely acknowledge, without judgement (using mindfulness), how much of my day is stolen from me because of social media. Rather than avoiding an awkward silence by shoving my face in my phone, in a sense, I was forced to make conversation, which my generation is not the greatest at. Face-to-face interaction is such an important part of our lives as social creatures and thats something we tend to forget because of social media.

My challenge to YOU

I challenge you to take the step not only in bettering your mental health and well-being, but to rediscover and reevaluate what truly matters in your life with the absence of social media, whether it be family, relationships, friendships, hobbies, school, etc. You may come to find, like I did, that we place such an emphasis on the importance of social media, but without it, life will still go on. I didn’t miss my social media like I thought I would, in fact, it was refreshing, like a weight lifted off of my shoulders.

So take that step! 

Do something GOOD for your mental health and your well-being.

PUT YOURSELF FIRST! YOU DESERVE IT!

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xo ツ

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Protecting Your Heart

I’m sure many of you have experienced a friendship where it seems as if, without your effort, there would be no friendship. So when is it acceptable to take circumstances into your own hands, realize what you deserve, and move on? I’ve asked myself these questions for years now. It’s hard to make that final decision in ending something you once put so much effort into, but we all know people change, people grow, and people move on. So I want to discuss when it is acceptable to realize that the friendship/relationship has changed and move on. Its never easy to do. All anger aside, giving up on something you once worked so hard for is definitely a challenge in itself. I find myself being the person in any relationship that apologizes merely because I don’t like fighting, whether I had something to apologize for or not. Maturity has helped me to admit to my wrongs and take a step outside of my shoes and see the situation from an outsiders perspective, but I find my fault to be apologizing when I have nothing to apologize for. For apologizing simply because I dislike conflict. Coming to the realization that a relationship is doing more harm than good is definitely a difficult one to come by. Rather than worrying about hurting someone’s feelings, it’s important to take initiative in guarding my own feelings. Doing what’s right for yourself is not always easy and in some cases, others may get hurt along the way, but in the long run, it truly does boil down to protecting your heart. I find it helpful to write out a list of pros and cons. The minute you realize that the cons are beginning to outweigh the pros is when it’s time to reevaluate. This should be the case in all relationships whether it be a romantic relationship, a friendship, or even a familial relationship. I can’t promise you it wont be difficult and it won’t hurt to let go of the memories and good times shared with that person, but I can promise you a weight will be lifted off your shoulders and time will heal the open wounds. Sometimes it takes losing a bad relationship to realize how many healthy, prosperous relationships can be built when there is effort on both parts.

xo ツ

Mental Health Comes First

Lately it seems as though life has been getting the best of me. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel overwhelmed and both mentally and physically drained. Everyday has seemed to turn into counting down the hours until I’m back in bed. Now I can go blame this solely on being an active college student, but in all honesty, I think my mental exhaustion roots from social media and the importance our generation places on social media. Technology and social media are so easily accessible nowadays and I believe it harms both our development and our well-being. So I have chosen to do an experiment whilst documenting everything here on my blog. I want to acknowledge the changes in my overall health when eliminating social media and replacing the times previously dedicated to social media with positive activities. It’s so easy to blame all of our issues on everyone else, but by accepting that I have control over many aspects of my life that could be negatively affecting my well-being, I am taking that first step to living a more positive, uplifting life. So stay tuned for updates and maybe this will help you to take the next step in caring for yourself and your mental health.

xo ツ

Remembering Your Worth

IMG_7015September 23, 2018 marks a whole year of being in love with the most thoughtful human being. My heart is all mushy and love is most definitely in the air, but its not hard to think back to a time when I felt worthless and irrelevant to the world around me. Now I can’t go blame all of my issues on previous boyfriends, however I can say that getting treated poorly in a relationship tends to diminish the desire to love yourself. I went on for years hating myself and searching for the things I could change about myself in order to be loved by someone else. It took a full year of loneliness and contemplation to realize that I was never going to find what I was looking for until I learned to love everything about myself, the good and the not so good. Wow, that sounds so cliche but it couldn’t be any closer to the truth. I began to realize my worth in one of the most painful, mentally exhausting relationships. He belittled me, called me names, and made me feel foolish for wanting to get treated in a respectful, loving way. One day, he got so angry that he kicked me out of his apartment and told me I was dead to him. Hours later, he called me to say he overreacted and to come back over. Stupid me, I went back over to his apartment where he proceeded to yell at me and NOT apologize because “he had no reason to apologize, I was just being crazy”. Time after time I continued to forgive him and time after time he continued to show me the millions of reasons he didn’t deserve my forgiveness. My self-esteem was diminished and the love I had for myself was nearly nonexistent, so I turned to God. I listened to my favorite worship songs and I prayed that he would give me the knowledge to understand why I wasn’t good enough. And he did answer my prayers, but rather than helping me understand why I wasn’t good enough, he helped reveal to myself the many ways I am more than good enough. He gave me the knowledge to know what I deserve, whether it be in a relationship or in my everyday life. He gave me the strength to remove the negativity from my life and look solely at the positives. During this time of growth, finding myself, and learning to love myself, God placed a wonderful man into my life. A man who doesn’t try to diminish my self-worth but instead shows me reasons every day to treasure my self-worth. A man who, everyday shows me the true meaning of unconditional love. I love my boyfriend for a million different reasons, but everyday he teaches me how to love myself and thats a debt I will never be able to repay. So ladies, if you are in a toxic relationship and have been dragged down so far to the point of not knowing if you’ll be able to make it back to the surface, know that there is hope. Know that there is someone out there who will love you for you, imperfections and all. And lastly, know that you ARE beautiful, you ARE strong, and you ARE capable of living the life you deserve.

xo ツ

Treat yo’ self

IMG_6963.jpgI find it hard to take time out of my day, or even my week to relax and do something for myself. Whether it be 15 minutes to do a face mask and listen to some music or 45 minutes to take a bath, focus on my breathing, and enjoy the silence, nine times out of ten I prioritize school or work or other people before I prioritize me and my mental health. But that has come to an end because I deserve to treat myself to a little spa day now and then or watch a rom-com, cry a little, and eat my hormonal feelings away with a tub of sherbet ice cream. I deserve to take time to myself despite the long list of homework assignments, upcoming exams, and errands I have to do. It’s crazy how much stress affects our brain. Our bodies naturally choose either fight-or-flight in a stressful situation and when we experience so much stress for such prolonged periods of time, our bodies react with a rush of adrenaline, increased heart rate, and energy loss, thus resulting in decreased brain activity. Simply, our brains are not at their highest potential whilst experiencing stress. So my advice to you would be, if you are having a bad day, maybe having an exam coming up, or even getting pissed off at a homework problem you’ve been working on for what seems like an eternity, then stop, take a deep breath, run the bath, light a candle, turn on your favorite playlist and just enjoy doing nothing. You deserve it!

xo ツ

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Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

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Mid-August always seems to be the start of the most time-consuming yet enjoyable time of the year. Its that time of year where new beginnings are within our grasp and we are given the chance (as college students) to build a home away from home. We pack up our lives and are given the chance to start again in a sense. This year I have had the privilege of starting my junior year of college at Indiana University and lemme tell ya..it has been the most exhilarating, exhausting, fulfilling experience. With these chances for new beginnings comes classes all week and homework to fill up the little downtime we do have. With these chances for new beginnings comes a constant state of stress and exhaustion and AT LEAST one mental breakdown a week, if not more. The transition from a community college to a big university has been everything I could’ve hoped and more. I am so incredibly proud to call Bloomington and Indiana University my home, but I have certainly struggled to make ends meet since classes have started. On the second day of classes my professor told me to expect 2 hours of homework for every 1 credit hour you are taking. Well with the typical full-time student, 15 credit hours in class = 30 hours spent on homework EVERY WEEK!! And lemme tell ya, he wasn’t lying. After about a month of classes, I am starting to learn where my classes are and im not having to use a GPS while riding a bike (it was not a pretty sight HAHA), I’ve met some really great people who are just as motivated to learn and succeed as I am, and I can 100% say that I am finally settling in. One thing I always forget to remind myself of when classes first begin in August is that I will get used to it. I will get used to the running around, the stress, and the lack of downtime. So for anyone reading this, if you feel overwhelmed whether it be because of work or school or just life in general, continue to remind yourself that those feelings will fade, life will get easier, and you’ll be stronger because of it. Be grateful for the stressful downs in your life because those are what make you truly appreciative of the ups.

xo ツ