Everything & Nothing

In the time between this post and the last I had written in 2015, it feels like everything has changed. Conversely, it also feels like nothing has changed. How is that possible?

There are many days I wake up and feel entirely inadequate. I struggle to like what I see in the mirror, I question who I am and doubt that I’m a good person. Today is one of those days. I thought that by the time I turned 30, I’d have this self-doubt thing ironed out. Instead, I’ve begun my 30th year with more of the same criticisms about myself than I’ve had in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I have more ham enough to be thankful for and have so much love in my life but I consistently fight with the loneliness that I think can only come from not loving who you are. How can I be fulfilled when I feel sad about the person I am? I seek and find the beautiful things in other people but I’ve never learned how to do that for myself.

This past weekend, my father asked me if I had someone in my life that could be my shoulder to cry on. The sad answer is no. I hate sharing these feelings with others because I feel guilty. This isn’t their issue, it’s my issue. This isn’t their struggle, it’s mine. So instead, I hold it inside until the next wave comes and share my thoughts with the universe because right now, that seems like enough…

 

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Seeking Faith

I have been struggling with something lately. If you read my last post, you know that I have been putting up with the nagging feeling that something is missing in my life. For quite some time now, I have become more interested in my faith.  As I get older, I realize that spirituality is very important to me.  This has all slowly become apparent to me each time I attend church as an adult.  I cry.  I cry every single time and I have no explanation as to why except that I feel an overwhelming peace when I am there (and for an over-thinker this is an incredible relief).  The trouble is that when I leave, I question the validity of what I felt.  In my late 20s, I have found it hard to whole heartedly believe in things that I cannot concretely define or see.  God is one of those things and sharing that is such a hard thing for me to do because I feel disloyal, ashamed, and cowardly.  I think the small difference is that I want to believe. I so badly want to give up my fear to something that is larger than me so that I can live my life and face my inevitable death without worry.  I have found it incredibly difficult to began a walk of faith because there is so much negativity around discussing God or church or faith.  In my adult life, I have witnessed my peers mock church and God countless times and I have been suckered into it.  I don’t know why though… fear of missing out or not getting picked for kickball?!  Why is it so easy to mock the faithful but so socially terrifying to discuss our faith or ideals?   I think this post is my cry for help to the universe.  I feel ready.  I feel open to new possibilities and accepting that I will not know all the secrets of this world even though I may want to.  I am nervous to begin a walk of faith but mainly just because I don’t want to fail.  I don’t want to say all of this (things that I haven’t really even admitted to those closest to me) and six months down the road still feel the missing piece.  For those of you that are loyally faithful… where did you begin on your journey?  Do you have any suggestions for someone relatively new on their walk?

Planning.

Another year is upon us. This new year brings back all the good and bad memories from 2014 and also presents the hope that in the next 365 (well, actually 338) days we are able to improve upon our circumstances or ourselves. This is how I am choosing to look at it at least (forcibly directing my thoughts). Please do not get me wrong, I am incredibly fortunate in my life. But does anyone else suffer from debilitating self-doubt and/or the feeling that there is something more?  Because I do and I am tired of it.

That is where my revised journey begins. I plan to build off what I was able to learn last year and continue down a path of light. Now, this all seems great and easy but when your thoughts tend to drift negatively about who you are, both mentally and physically, it can cause a tremendous amount of grief (for my loved ones as well as myself). I started this blog as an artistic outlet, fully aware that my mother and one or two friends that happened to click on the link attached to my Instagram would be my only readers. I failed my blog and my self-discovery challenge because I simply didn’t put in the work necessary to nurture them.  So in 2015, I am vowing to myself and my three readers that I will work at my goals this year.

I have looked back on the goals that began my initial challenge and created new goals for this year. Much of what I said I wanted out of the blog last year still rings true (which is further proof that I miserably failed). Here is a summary of what went wrong last year: I grew busy. I started my calligraphy course with fresh pens and graph paper but quickly realized that they were teaching a style very Medieval and I just wasn’t interested in calligraphing the title to Dungeons and Dragons to show my friends. I started at the gym which promised to be a great coming together of two of my passions, exercising and being with people, but it fizzled after a few months because of communication issues. My family went through a major change with the loss of my grandfather and anxiety began creeping back in to my already fragile/critical mind. I stopped writing. Now I don’t want you to think that I didn’t enjoy 2014 because I did. There were a lot of wonderful things that happened: I traveled (California in June for friends’ wedding and the Dominican Republic in November for my cousin’s wedding), I loved, I grew in my career and received a promotion in November after a lot of hard work, I became more financially stable than I’ve ever been, and I remained healthy for another year (something I truly value above other things). As I said earlier in this post, the new year reminds us of all the highs and lows.

Nonetheless, I still notice (with an ever present nagging feeling) that there is something missing in my life so here is what I am hoping to accomplish in the next 337 days:

  1. Blog at least once per week
  2. Read one new book per month (completely exclusive of the audiobooks I am now hooked on while I drive for work)
  3. Purchase a calligraphy book (in the style I want) and practice until I am able to write my name and address (almost) flawlessly
  4. Text less, Call more
  5. Study and practice yoga at home so that I am able to come back to a place of light after a long day at work
  6. Volunteer regularly (particularly serving the population my company serves)
  7. Learn why I am worthy of love and how to fully love myself
  8. Be a better friend
  9. Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Each of these goals is broad but also measurable so I believe I will be able to achieve them.  I hope you are able to see/feel/believe #7 in your own life and may be willing to share your thoughts on how you got to such a point in your life. I also hope you will come along with me on my new journey. I am open…

All my love,
S

For Everything There Is A Season…

I’ve been trying to find the words to help explain what this past week has been like so that people aren’t left guessing about what is going on in my life but it’s been incredibly difficult.  For those that may not know, my grandfather passed away last Sunday.  One week ago, the world seems to have slowed down or stopped for me and my family (seems crazy it has only been a week).  The craziest thing for me is realizing that the rest of the world just kept going when the people that I love were going through something so hard.  I suppose that’s good; it reminds you of the resiliency of the Earth (something I typically find solace in as a wannabe yogi).  Right now, however, it reminds me of my heart aching.

Two weeks ago, I was gearing up for my 27th birthday.  Eric Church was supposed to kick off the weekend’s festivities on Wednesday and I’d taken the rest of the week off just to relax.  My parents were supposed to come visit so that my mom and I could go see Phantom of the Opera downtown.  We were going to take them to a restaurant none of us had tried so that we could all share in something new together.  I was so excited.  The concert on Wednesday was amazing; I had such a great time and felt so carefree.  The next morning I was nursing a headache and received a phone call from my dad telling me that my grandfather had been admitted into the hospital but it didn’t appear to be too serious.  I still expected the weekend to go on as planned.  That quickly changed and I was told that I needed to come home.  I rang in my 27th year by saying goodbye to a man that had loved me for all the days of my life.  All my days.    I’m still struggling to bring that into perspective myself.  I’ve dealt with death before; I’ve loved both grandparents on my fathers’ side.  Those experiences changed me in ways I wasn’t aware of until now and I know that this will change me in more ways than the previous times had.  My bubble has been burst.  This year is officially the first year of my life where I feel like an adult.  Maybe this feeling will pass and I’ll go on my merry way pretending to be protected by an imaginary bubble but I kind of doubt it.  The pain of losing someone is more real as you age; you see the depth of their absence.  The domino effect of people altered by them being gone is more real too.  I’m scared for my grandma and my mom, I’m angry that people can’t live forever, I’m hurt because I won’t get the chance to tell my grandfather things that may have made him proud of me, I have more questions about God and Heaven than I care to admit, and I’m so sad that I won’t be able to tell him I love him anymore while we’re both still present on Earth.  It is a lonely, lonely feeling.  It has cost me a lot of tears this past week… I’ve somehow managed to cry at moments where I feel sad, happy, frustrated, and joyous (it’s mostly been sudden changes/thoughts/memories/new moments with loved ones that result in tears).   I’ve tried to embrace my emotions because Lord knows I cannot fight them.  I’m a wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve kind of girl.

I’ve tried to keep some light at the end of the tunnel.  I’ve kept myself busy.  I’ve begun gathering an arsenal of music for times when I cannot turn off my thoughts or when I feel low.  I was sure to support my family through their tough moments along the way.  I’ve kept planning for a future at work.  My grandpa would have wanted it this way… but it still doesn’t take away the aches.  So for now, I think I’ll be working on figuring out what it is like to live in a world where I only have one remaining grandparent (a thought that hurts to much I could scream) and navigating the waters of adulthood.  I’m scared.  I’m frustrated.  I’m sad…  Is this real life?

One song has been an odd comfort to me this past week, it seems only fitting that it isn’t a new one:
Turn! Turn! Turn! – The Byrds


To honor my grandfather, for anyone interested, please visit his obituary here.
He was a great man and I will miss him very much.

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Lastly, I wanted to extend a very heartfelt thank you to those of you that wished me
a happy birthday and/or gave condolences after the news of my family’s loss.
I appreciate your thoughts and prayers more than I’ll ever be able to put into words.

All my love,
Steph

Keeping Sight.

It’s been ages since I’ve let myself sit down and document my feelings onto this blank canvas of a blog and although I know not many people read what I have to say, I have to admit that it can be incredibly cathartic to write down what you’re experiencing.  I’ve been distracted, at best, recently though.  Summer is always an incredibly busy time for everyone and where it is so beautiful to have the opportunity to share time with others, I also think it is so easy to lose sight of yourself in the process.  I sure did.

My journey (this blog) began nearly five months ago with the hopes of helping me keep hold of myself; to stay in tune with my desires, my headaches, and my needs.  Since I lost sight of my goal, I’ve decided to begin two new goals to finish out the year by showing personal growth and gratitude for this beautiful world I’m lucky to call home.

  1. #100dayshappy on Instagram:  My life/journey to gratitude in photos.  I noticed that other’s personal happiness projects used to annoy me on social media but now I find them incredibly empowering.  When you remove negativity from your life, you really open yourself up to something wonderful (an open/eager awareness of the people in your world).
  2. Recipe of the week:  After realizing the summer not only took a toll on me emotionally but also physically, I’ve decided to return to my cleaner eating approach.  My hopes are that this will also boost my master chef street-cred.  I have 376 pins on Pinterest involving food (which is just ridiculous), so I will be selecting the best options for a new 18 week challenge.  I will probably share my journey (inevitable fails and unexpected triumphs) here and incorporate some into my #100days as well.

It may seem ridiculous to many that I need different challenges in order to stay fulfilled but I’ve come upon a major realization about myself this weekend; I am a wanderer.   Not in the sense that you may think.  I do love traveling and meeting new people, unraveling new culture into my life, and seeing parts of the world, specifically in nature, than I’ve ever seen before; but I am a wanderer in the sense of daily life and relationships.  I find that I move on from things quickly if they are not suiting my soul.  Ironically, I also find that I hold on to things that have hurt me in the past.  So I wander to find new things and I wander to protect myself against past heartache.  This has posed a unique challenge for me in my relationships and decisions throughout my life but I think owning it and harnessing its potential to keep me challenged (in a way that not many other people allow themselves to be) will be an incredible experience for me.  As anything, the first step is identifying the issue.  I’ve done that.. I’ve informed my loved ones on the matter.. and I’m ready to accept the challenge of accepting it as part of my unique identity here on this Earth.  So here’s to a challenge within a challenge within a challenge!  To constantly keep evolving and finding the beauty in the day-to-day!  

Morning photo: Summer set

“The mountains are calling and I must go”

Summit County Citizens Voice

Short and sweet!

Solstice sunset in Colorado. Solstice sunset in Colorado.

FRISCO —Summer is short and sweet in the Colorado high country, marked by the sudden emergence of wildflowers where there was snow just days before. So break out the bikes, flip-flops and camping gear and take advantage of the long days and the few nights of the year when temps don’t drop below the freezing mark.

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Why 30 Is Not The New 20

So I’ve hit that stage in my life when everyone seems to be taking the next step.  I have found myself (at times) almost sad that my life doesn’t seem to be following in their tracks.  At twenty six (getting nearer to twenty seven than I’d care to admit), it seems like I “should” have approximately 1.5 fiance(s)/husband(s), 0.5-1 child, 2 dogs, an SUV that is no later than 3 years old, a home that isn’t decorated with anything from IKEA, and a fat paycheck every week that allows me to care for my white picket fence flock of people and things.  The reality is, I have none of these things.  I have friends that are either married or halfway down the aisle, pregnant, and some that are independently wealthy.  I find myself jealous of their lives and their accomplishments.  I thought by now that I’d at least know that I had a solid and transferrable career; meaning I could go from one location to the next and still be able to find a role in the same type of job the way that a teacher or physician can.   The reality is, I don’t have this and the realization that my life hasn’t gone in exactly the direction I had envisioned for myself as a little girl brings me great anxiety.  It brings up questions that I really shouldn’t be thinking like “WHY don’t I have these things? ” or “WHAT have I done wrong?” and it’s just not healthy for me.

NEWSFLASH— my self confidence comes and goes with the wind and thoughts
like this are Earth shattering for my sense of self (and I end up feeling/looking like this:)

Frazzled

This journey was all about finding myself and feeling content with what I do have but I find myself envious of others and not focusing on the good in my life.  As you can imagine, it creates a snowball effect where I find other things that aren’t quite up to the standard I’ve envisioned and I harpoon on the negatives.  It’s frustrating for me so I can only imagine how frustrating it is for my loved ones.  The only time my feelings start to even out is when I allow myself to just stop and not think.  This is usually personal time that I have set aside for myself and it usually takes place during a long run where I can sit back and smell the roses (literally) to see that my life is actually quite beautiful.  Being your own worst critic is so damaging if you can’t control the negative thoughts in your own head.  I feel a bit trapped and right where I started when I started this blog.  I don’t have a plan for overcoming all of these thoughts.  I’ve looked in to meditation and yoga but can’t find a yoga studio that focuses on mind-body the way that I’d like it to.  I’ve picked up a few self-help books (as embarrassing as that is) along the way but never seem to read them.  We’ll see what the next few months have for me…  I’m really hoping to focus on the good because honestly, I can’t keep this up for much longer.

If you have any advice or examples of how you let go I’d love
to hear them so please feel free to share.


Endnote — I did find this video incredibly helpful in the moment.  Take the time to watch, it sums up the twenty-something battle quite nicely.  Some beautiful takeaways from this video:  “What you achieve inwardly will change your outer reality.” and “When you lose sight of belief in yourself, you’re done for.”  (what a thing to remember!)

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Internalizing

For what seems like my entire life I have been an internalizer (yes, I just made up that word).  I have flipped every situation into something about me.  A group of my friends argue about something?  It’s something I’ve done.  Something goes wrong at work?  I caused it.  A battle of words happens at home between my boyfriend and I?  I said/did something to spark the debate.  Something stupid I’ve done in the past is brought up?  I haven’t grown at all and people still see me as I used to be.  Case-in-point, this weekend at a friend’s bridal shower.  My time was disrupted by an embarrassing story that was brought up by her mother.  The thing about it is… no one but me knew the details behind the remark but I was still so embarrassed that I’ve struggled the last few days with feelings of self adequacy.

PLL

Why do I do this to myself?  My loved ones remind me on a regular basis that I am a good person but I have a hard time believing them.  I’ll be honest, I may have said this in previous posts but I don’t really like the person that I was a few years ago. I didn’t really make the best decisions for myself or my friends and I completely disregarded others’ feelings about my choices.  For example, I hurt each of my roommates’ feelings at some point or another and at the time, I shrugged it off as though it was their issue and not mine.  Over time, I’ve realized that this way of thinking caused a lot of distrust in my life– coming from my friends and coming from me to others and that’s where I am now.  I’ve put myself in a place of doubt.  It’s a daily battle I have to try to overcome.  The truth is, I have grown up and I have become a better person than I used to be and I am proud of that.  I struggle when reminders of a former life come up because I’ve done the due diligence to remedy the situation.  I think all of my ranting on this post really is just a heartfelt plea to help me forgive myself.  I know it is a challenge I must inevitably overcome on my own but support from everyone else wouldn’t hurt, you know?

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 9.20.22 AM

I wanted to end my rant with a few positive thoughts about myself.  I lived through the idiotic stage of my life and have decided to come out as a better woman and for that, I am proud.  I love my quick witted sarcasm.  I love that I can recover quickly from a hot temper (which gets me through a lot of misunderstandings when I feel as though I’ve been wronged and I haven’t really).  Also, I am empathetic of others’ feelings now so more than I ever have been because of my sensitivity to it and because I’ve put other people through pain.  I’ve risen above… I just have to remind myself when I’m feeling a bit low.

My sincerest thank you’s go out to you for reading my rants.  I’ve decided that this is officially the first of many Seinfeld-like posts; I may call the series “Posts About Nothing”.  But oh, what an incredible medicine writing things down can be!

– POSTS ABOUT NOTHING –

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What Makes Your Heart Beat?

I’ve decided to take a literal and figurative approach to answering this question. With all the possibilities still up in the air about what may be causing my heart to “flip-flop” I’ve begun thinking about my heart and what it really does. Before I go on, I want to clarify something; I am experiencing a minor heart rhythm issue that may be hereditary. There are other people that are facing far worse and I want to make it clear that I am not trying to be unsympathetic to them. My situation has simply made me realize that life is short and has got me thinking (here I go again) about a deeper meaning to it all.
I’ve always possessed a flair for dramatics and have grown into quite the philosophical soul– I want to determine an explanation for some things and see the beautiful possibility of others. So I am choosing to look at my heart in two ways. (1) my heart is the source within my body that enables me to live and (2) my heart is the source within my body that enables me to love.
Science defines the heart as “a pump. It’s a muscular organ about the size of your fist and located slightly left of center in your chest … Together, your heart and blood vessels comprise your cardiovascular system, which circulates blood and oxygen around your body … Your heart also has electrical wiring, which keeps … your heart beating in a coordinated and normal rhythm, which in turn keeps blood circulating. The continuous exchange of oxygen-rich blood with oxygen-poor blood is what keeps you alive.” (Mayo Clinic). The engine to the machine.
Emotionally, I define my heart as my compass. So what makes my heart beat aside from electrical impulses? What makes me truly feel alive? Moments. Moments of silence on top of a mountain just listening to the breeze and seeing so far on the horizon I feel like I could touch the ends of the Earth. Moments where the emotional dam breaks and I’m left soaked in my own tears. Moments with my family and friends where the love between us is palpable. Moments when music consumes me. Moments of passion and strength. Moments where I break free from my fears during a long jog or finishing a hard workout. Finally, moments where I am so sure of myself I feel as though I could change the world. My heart beats for these moments. They are so simple yet complex. They define who I am and why I keep going. My heart beats because it is physiologically able but it thrives off of these moments. The reason for my irregular heartbeat is still undetermined but the collection of all these things has made it so strong.

Watch this: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=a9O0jIMfdNs

So… What makes your heart beat?

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