Goals for the Rest of 2017

Hello frenz! Welcome back to whatever this blog has come to. I've been bored with my blog lately, so I thought about doing something a little different. I've seen these done before and I think it's fabulous to share goals with likeminded individuals. I've tried to keep this post upbeat, but to be honest, I haven't been so positive lately. So here goes – my goal list for the rest of 2017.

GET A JOB
I've been unemployed since March, so that makes a total of almost five months now. I was planning to join the Air Force, but realized that I was leaving too much behind (also I'm too old to be tricked by military schemes). I put that goal behind me and now I have another – to find a job. Not only do I need one to pay my bills and buy food, but I'm tired of not working. Every day since losing my job has turned into a blur and I'm ready to be productive again.

SAVE MONEY
I really don't want to live in Pennsylvania anymore. It's poor and highly taxed. The weather sucks and my town should be known as Drug and Crime Central. By getting a decent (and steady) paycheck from accomplishing Goal #1, I hope to be able to start saving enough money to get the hell out of here within the next two years.

GAIN A FOLLOWING
I want to write for a living, I've known that for some time now. I want to be a full time writer or even a full time blogger at some point. I want to get my blog out there and create a name for myself. I need to start creating my empire.

LIVE STRESS FREE
I don't think I've ever had this amount of stress in my life. I have nervous breakdowns almost every day, mostly due to lack of money. I can't afford things I want and need. I want to live stress free again. I want to be able to enjoy life and wake up happy.

BEGIN SFX MAKEUP
This is something I've wanted to do for some time, but haven't had the money or want to invest the time in. But Halloween is coming up and you best believe I want to scare all the kiddos on the block this year.

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFE
Since money has been so tight recently, I've only been eating once a day and skipping the gym to conserve gas. I need to get back into the routine of working out regularly and eating enough so I don't waste away into nothing. It's easier said than done when you have $-33 to your name.

TAKE ANOTHER TRIP TO FL
My trip to Florida at the beginning of July was so incredible. Seeing and spending time with my family meant so much to me. I want to make it into a regular visit.

READ MORE
I really do enjoy reading, but I lack the interest to do anything other than nap (thanks depression). I also find myself reading the words but daydreaming about something else, which leads me to reading the same paragraph ten times. I have so many books but have only read maybe five of them. I'd like to read them all and then add to my collection.

BUY MORE MAKEUP PRODUCTS
It sounds a little materialistic but I'm a sucker when it comes to makeup. I watch and read tons of reviews on new products and I want them all…but lack the dough to get them. I haven't purchased any new makeup in at least a year, and it's breaking my heart.

GIVE GIFTS AT CHRISTMAS
Last Christmas was horrible. I wasn't able to get anything for anyone and it made me feel so low. Christmas is my second favorite holiday and I love giving to others. I want to be able to give to everyone I can this year, and even to the less fortunate. I miss having the means to be generous.

BE GENUINELY HAPPY
I haven't been happy in such a long time, and I really miss the feeling of enjoying life. I need to get that feeling back for my own sanity.

I'm keeping this list as my own little time capsule of things I want to accomplish. I hope to look back in January 2018 to have accomplished all of these and then some. Here's to my future endeavors.

23 Things I’ve Learned in 23 Years

I’ve been on this planet for 23 years now. That’s 8,359 days and 201,480 hours. Within that time, I’ve learned some things about myself and my life, as most do when they grow older. Some things take a longer time to learn because you need to experience self growth, while others are learned in an instant. Below are 23 things I’ve learned in 23 years — things I wish I could tell younger me.

1. Perseverence is Key
Hard work really does pay off. Don’t give up.

2. Do What You Love
Even if it’s a hobby like painting yard gnomes, do it any chance you get. You deserve to have a joyous passion.

3. Blood Doesn’t Mean Family
It’s all about how you’re treated. My boyfriend’s family is more of mine than my own…because they treat me like family. See how that works? Don’t feel obligated to stick by someone just because of blood relation. You don’t need that negativity and stress in your life.

4. Nothing Lasts Forever
Whatever you’re going through, it won’t last forever. Keep pushing through the hard times and keep having good times. It all gets better.

5. Friends Come & Friends Go
Your best friend when your 15 might not be your best friend later in life. You might keep in touch and catch up once in a blue moon, but it might not ever be like it was. And that’s okay.

6. Less is More
I’ve been living on my own for three years, I’ve just now begun to realize how much stuff I actually own…and it’s driving me to insanity. Don’t clutter your space because you really want a turtle statue that you have no place for.

7. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Mentally prepare for events or things that make you anxious or scared. It makes the experience less traumatic.

8. Read
Read the newspaper. Read about current events. Read everything you can. Knowledge is power.

9. Drink in Moderation
Drinking way over your limit, being sick that night and/or the next morning, along with a headache and a craving for McDonald’s? No, thanks.

10. Wear Whatever You Want
Honestly, life is too short to care what someone else thinks.

11. Stop Comparing Yourself
You’re YOU for a reason — you don’t need to be like anyone else. Become comfortable with yourself. Self love shines through.

12. Exercise More
Relieve your stress and lose some weight in the process.

13. Challenge Yourself
Set goals for yourself and force yourself to get there. Future you will thank you. 

14. Follow Your Dreams
We all take a different path sometimes because we’re not 100% sure of what we want. But when you come to that great realization, chase that dream. You can do anything you set your mind to.

15. Stop Feeling Bad for Being Lost
So you don’t know where to go or what to do in life? Stop feeling bad for it. There are people who seemingly have it all that are just as lost as you are. 

16. Have a Backbone
Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t take shit from anyone.

18. Stop Eating Fast Food
Cooking is fun and you can choose what goes into your food. Fast food makes you feel like garbage. You don’t deserve to feel like garbage.

19. Be Yourself
Stay true to who you are. Don’t lose yourself in the mindless trends or the competitive nature of life.

20. Learn About Your Planet
Grow familiar with where you live and the nature surrounding you. Mother Earth is a beautiful planet. Take care of it.

21. Plan and Prioritize
Plan out everything and learn to prioritize your life. Routines and plans can save you from chaos.

22. Love
Fall in love. No matter what you think, you will be accepted by another human. Stop being scared of that.

23. Build Your Empire
No matter what you have set for your life, work and build it. Be a boss. 

Florida Nights: My First Time Traveling

florida

Hello, frenz! Long time no blog! It’s been a few days since I’ve arrived back to Almost 70 Degrees and Overcast, Pennsylvania. It’s always a bittersweet feeling to arrive home after a one-week vacation; you wish you could’ve stayed longer but, at the same time, you miss your boo and fur babies. Florida was an incredible experience. It was my first time being on an airplane (which caused a nervous breakdown all its own). It was my first ever vacation in another state and even away from home – other than the time I was 13 and went to Las Vegas, but that honestly shouldn’t even count. It was an incredible experience, even through the most frustrating of times. Let’s sort these out in categories, shall we?

THE INITIAL AIRPORT EXPERIENCE
I get really bad anxiety when I have to be somewhere at a certain time so you best believe I was planning out the trip to the airport and every little move I would make. I (obviously) psyched myself out because it wasn’t a terrible experience…at all. Granted the airport we flew out of was incredibly small, so it was easy to find the kiosks, security and the terminal. I even got fresh airport coffee, which I was looking forward to since we left at 3:30 in the morning. The more time that passed, the more nervous I became that there would be an issue with our bags or somehow the flight would be cancelled (hello irrational fear). As zones were called and I began boarding my very first aircraft, the nervous feelings subsided, as I had successfully navigated through my first airport. That’s a win for this girl!

THE FLIGHT TO ORLANDO, FL
Okay, so I had a minor freak out within my own head when the plane took off — mainly because it shot back like a rocket and I was glued to the back of my seat. To be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting other than the plane to blow up Final Destination style. Once we were at altitude, my nerves relaxed — until I had to pee. That was an experience all its own. First, I tried to open a closed stall (are they called stalls?) because I didn’t look around to see that there were, in fact, two potties in the same vicinity. I also couldn’t figure out how to get the water on to wash my hands, and soon couldn’t figure out how to turn it off. I wasn’t the whitest cloud in the sky that morning.

ARRIVAL IN ORLANDO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Arriving into sunny Orlando, Florida was incredible. Even looking down from the plane, it’s so clear how beautiful the Sunshine State is. The Orlando airport is international so it was massive in comparison to the one at home, in landmass and population. There was so much diversity in people, where they came from and where they were going. I was a confused mess when I finally had my feet on the ground — I didn’t know where to go or how to navigate this large and in-charge airport. Talk about a culture shock. Thankfully, everyone in Florida (unlike PA) are incredibly kind and helped us find the shuttle that would take us downstairs. From there, we were on our own to take elevators to ground transportation, which is where we thought we needed to be. It took us a good 20 minutes to figure out how to get outside. It turns out, my brother-in-law was at a different part of the airport looking for us. And so the shenanigans ensued.

Odd Fact: the buttons designating floor numbers in the elevators are labeled as cattle in the Orlando airport. Why?

ORLANDO, FL
So we didn’t actually stay in Orlando itself. My family lives about 20 minutes out of Orlando, and that’s where we spent the majority of our time. When we arrived, I was taken back by how hot it was. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think it was going to be like it is up North, but I wasn’t expecting to be a baked potato as soon as I stepped out the door. The heat was incredible. You couldn’t get in a car without your legs and back burning on the seats. You couldn’t lay out in the sun to get a tan without becoming a sweaty pile of goo. Needless to say, I spent the majority of my time in the pool.

We weren’t pool potatoes for long before we became beach potatoes. I, personally, have only seen the ocean on TV. I was taken back by how huge (and how hot) it actually was. Crystal blue water with white (hot!) sand — it wasn’t long until I grabbed the boogie board and attempted to catch some waves. The waves knocked me down more times than I could count…I obviously didn’t have my sea legs. I could’ve spent my entire life in the ocean. We collected seashells and I learned about crab and clam holes from a 10 year old. It was a magnificent way to spend the day…except for the sunburn. That could’ve stayed on the shore.

Since daytime is so hot in Florida, we decided to wait until evening on one Sunday to go play miniature golf, and after, laser tag. The golf course was a tropical pirate theme with two separate courses. The plant life and scenery was the epitome of a tropical vacation…and let’s talk about the amount of lizards! I so badly wanted to catch a baby lizard, but those suckers are fast! While the humidity was at an all time high (but it made my hair look good so whatevz), it was a breath of fresh air (literal air conditioning) when we went to WonderWorks to play laser tag. Yet another first checked off of my list, but I have to say, I wasn’t a fan, mostly because I sucked and my shirt kept falling down. First World Problems, I know.

The remaining days spent in Florida were poolside with bagels and coffee — also a three hour nap in the pool (hello crispy legs). The sun was relaxing and therapeutic to me — I wasn’t thinking of all the problems I had at home. I was living right in the moment without a care in the world. But, all good things eventually come to a screeching halt.

THE FINAL AIRPORT EXPERIENCE
Getting to the Orlando airport was a fucking nightmare. The rush hour traffic was at an all time high, with cars dodging other cars left and right. All I wanted to do was get to the airport and get on my plane because my anxiety was making me a flustered mess. The parking garage that my brother-in-law wanted to park in was full, so we spent a good 15 minutes driving around looking for a spot — meanwhile, I was having a panic attack about somehow missing my flight. We made it there at 6:00 and our ticket said we had to be through security by 6:27; I still wanted coffee and my sister needed to visit a gift shop — do you see why I was a hot mess? I later found out that we had more time than anticipated and I was a happy clam when I finally got my coffee…except when I threw it out in the security line because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to have it. RIP to my half full iced coffee. I still miss you.

HOME SWEET HOME!
It’s a weird feeling when you come back from vacation. It’s like you just lived this completely different life and then you’re back to where you started a week prior. Although I wish I could’ve stayed in Florida forever, I was ready to be home. It’s been five days since I’ve been home and I’m just now able to get my routine back. My days in Florida are becoming a fond memory.

All in all, it was a great experience. I don’t know if I would travel the world or be one of those “full-time travelers” after this experience. It’s too much of a pain in the ass to navigate airports and dodge that amount of people — it’s not my thing. It’s nice to have that place that’s “home” and I’m as happy as a clam to be back. I’m trying to get my blog and life back in order, so hang in there with me.

rl

Letting Go of Toxic Thoughts

toxic thoughts

We all have toxic or negative thoughts, whether it’s about ourselves, other people or something we don’t fancy doing. Sometimes these thoughts can overpower all of the positive ones, and as a result we’re left feeling mentally and emotionally drained. But how do we stop seeing the negative and start noticing the positive side to life? That’s where mind control comes in. No, not the type that David Blaine does on Las Vegas sidewalks; I’m talking about controlling our own minds to turn toxic thoughts into positive thoughts.

Sometimes I get overwhelming thoughts about myself. My mind makes me feel that I’m not good at anything and sometimes, it even goes as far as making me feel that the world would be better off without me. I’m a generally optimistic person, I just have a few issues with anxiety…so why do I feel this way? Negative or toxic thinking usually begins with a mistake I’ve made that I feel overly embarrassed for, and then it turns into thinking about everything I’ve ever done wrong. If you think like this too, there is a way to control it. You simply talk yourself out of it. It sounds crazy, I know, but it’s really that simple. Let yourself make a mistake. Acknowledge said mistake, learn how to do better next time, and move on. Don’t beat yourself up for it. You’re human. This is how you grow and become better. This is especially true if you’re a toxic thinker in relationships. Talk to your significant other about it. Sometimes their reassurance is all you need to convince yourself that it’s okay to be human. This goes hand in hand with perfectionism, which is a main player in my toxic thoughts.

“I want so bad to be perfect although I know perfect does not exist.”

Turning toxic thoughts into positive thoughts can be grueling when you’re not naturally an optimistic person, but sometimes that’s all it takes to turn your day around. It’s an old saying, but try to look on the bright side. Yeah, things might be hard at work or you’re having a crap day, but there’s always a positive. Spilled your coffee in your car? There’s a reason to buy that Starbucks coffee that you never get to have, and a reason to stop the procrastination of cleaning your car. Is your boss on your case really hard today? Remember that all days come to an end. It’s so easy to jump to toxic thinking when something bad happens. It’s easy to think that one disaster can ruin your whole day; but it can get better when you deal with a problem when it happens, and then move on. Deal with your emotions in the moment rather than letting them boil all day until the inevitable eruption.

Stop taking everything so personally. This is something I’ve struggled with and I am just now learning how to handle. I’m a people pleaser, especially when it comes to a loved one. If my boyfriend wakes up grumpy, I automatically assume it’s because of me. When he loses his temper at a video game, I get nervous because I don’t want him upset or mad at me. I’m familiar with the fact that it has nothing to do with me, but my toxic thoughts lead me to think that I did something wrong. If you’re like this too, stop it. Stop it right now. Not everything is a personal attack at you. Learn to understand the difference between a person who is grumpy at the world and a person who is grumpy at you. Walk away or ignore this behavior in your loved one to save yourself time and energy.

Sometimes we do have bad days where everything is happening all at once and we can’t help but become overwhelmed and frustrated. I’m not denying that days like this exist. I’m also not denying that anxiety and toxic thinking feed off of each other. What I do know is that you can talk yourself out of any emotion as long as you acknowledge it, deal with it and move forward. Your mind likes to play a lot of tricks on you. Start playing tricks back.

Until next time, XO.

[Photo Credit: Pixabay]

What You Don’t Hear About Living in Poverty

poverty

Poverty is around us everyday, whether we choose to acknowledge it or keep it in the back of our minds like that bad 90s techno song. Poverty doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care about your race, gender, who your parents are or that you graduated college with a perfect GPA. With the price of living rising and decent paying jobs becoming few and far between, it’s hard to keep your head above water in the modern day. There are some things about poverty that most like to keep behind closed doors. Today, I am going to expose the true struggles of living in poverty.

The average income for the poverty line in America is $24,250 for a family of four. In 2015, 13.5% or 43.1 million Americans were found to be in poverty.* What this statistic doesn’t show is the amount of immense stress these 43.1 million American experience. Poverty leaves you in such distress, as if every day is a battle for your life. You wake up in the morning and the first thing on your mind is money. How will I pay for groceries? How many groceries can I get for $20? You know well that your two person household won’t be able to live off of that amount of groceries, but you don’t have a choice. You spend the rest of your day trying to get your mind off of your stress. You try everything from a nap to a nice, long run…but it doesn’t matter. Your stress returns almost immediately.

Along with stress comes the sleepless and restless nights. You lie awake and stare at your ceiling, hoping for the universe to send you a sign of what to do. Your anxiety increases with all of the hopeless “what ifs”. Soon it’s midnight and then 2:00 am and before you know it, you’re still wide awake come 5:00 am. You were supposed to go to a party the next day, but you can’t seem to pull yourself off of the couch since your anxiety, stress and depression have been hounding you into the wee hours of the morning. And so the cycle continues until you finally become exhausted.

You want to make plans to see your friends, but you’re too embarrassed to say, “I don’t have enough gas to get there”, or, “I don’t have money to go out to lunch.” Casual shopping trips and iced coffees with your girlfriends become a thing of the past, and something that you’re too easily envious of. You shop at Goodwill and feel guilty for spending a little extra cash on a few t-shirts and some jean shorts. Your pride shrinks and you begin to sink into a depression like state. You can’t take much wanted trips or vacations. You can hardly afford to go see your family in the next town over. You really begin to understand the true meaning of cabin fever.

You resort to prioritizing your bills and ultimately have to skip one or two a month just to afford food or gas for the week. The guilt is overwhelming when you’ve never missed a payment and you just got your credit in good standing. You almost feel like a failure even though you’re trying your very best to make things work day by day. You start to debate selling some of your expensive items just to have a little stash of extra money. Any money that you’re gifted is never spent recreationally, although that’s all you wish for is to be able to have expendable cash.

Your thoughts become overwhelming when you think about how worse it could be, and how easy you could end up homeless and on the streets. You want to be thankful for the things you have because you know others have it worse. You’re aware that there are different types of poverty and that the kind you live in is much better than others, but it’s still hard to focus on how good you have it when you feel so low. You prepare for the worst in every situation because although you’re hopeful, you’re never quite sure how it will end up. Your cynicism becomes increasingly high. You’re in constant fear of how fast things could go south.

Whilst living in poverty is stressful, difficult and outright overwhelming, surviving it comes with certain abilities. You learn how to problem solve. You learn that optimism can get you through more than you think. You learn just how strong willed you can be. You understand the meaning behind never giving up, mainly because you don’t have choice. When you want to be successful in life so bad, you will do just about anything to get there…even if you have to struggle for awhile first.

For all of those that can relate to this post and who might have it the same or, god forbid, worse than me, I want you to know that you can get through this. I am right here with you, and we can’t give up. Nothing ever lasts forever. Keep on keepin’ on.

Until next time, xo.

*Statistic according to talkpoverty.org.

[Photo Credit: Pixabay]

What’s Been Going On: Vacation, Anxiety, Life

whats been going on blog post

Hello there, frenz! Long time, no blog post. First off, I would like to apologize for the 24-day absence. If you read my last post, you know how I was running my blog completely from my iPhone and that I ordered a new laptop charger so I could run my blog the way it is supposed to be ran. Well, the charger came later than expected and then life events, as you all know, came crashing down like monsoon season in Vietnam.

My boyfriend thought three weeks ago that it would be the perfect time to quit his dead end job. If you know anything about me, it’s that I like to see people with happy souls. He didn’t have a happy soul at this job. He was doing slave work and working insane hours for very minimal compensation. He’s my man and my best friend, so of course I supported his decision 150%, even if I didn’t totally agree with it. Sometimes you gotta quit that crappy job for a happy soul and peace of mind; I’ve done it and was happier because of it. The only issue now is that we are a household with a total fiscal balance of $2 bucks.

Although we are extremely broke, we’re trying to make the best of our situation. I actually have a family vacation to Florida in T-minus 12 days. And no, I didn’t spend money on a plane ticket that I could’ve been spending on food. My generous and loving big sister and brother-in-law paid for both mine and our other sister’s tickets. Our niece turns ten on July 6th, and what kind of aunts would we be if we didn’t visit her? A vacation to bright and sunny Florida is long overdue, and is just what I need to clear my head. I need to get away from this rain and gloomy weather. I need a break from my own existence. I need to be in my happy place, which is poolside (or ocean side) with coffee in one hand and a fashion mag in the other.

As excited as I am, I’m also exceptionally nervous. I’m nervous for the plane ride, because I’ve never been on one and I’ve seen Final Destination a billion times; but I’m more nervous to see my big sister. She’s been like a mother to me ever since ours crapped out of the unconditional love department. I’ve made many changes to my life in the last year since she’s moved away and I can’t get it out of my head that she won’t approve of the changes I’ve made. She’s always told me she wanted me to move out of my parents’ house and experience life; learn what I like and dislike and find out who I am, and that’s just what I’ve done.

Whether I like to admit it, I need approval from my big sister. She’s always pushed me to do great things and I want to make her proud…but what if I don’t? It might be my anxiety talking or it might be a validated fear, but I don’t want to feel less proud of the choices I’ve made for my life by her disapproval. My boyfriend said something to me a few days ago that really stuck with me – “if she doesn’t approve of your life, then she’s not really your sister and doesn’t really love you.” And he’s right…like always. But if that is the case and she’s not happy with my newly formed beliefs and the choices I’ve made, then I won’t have much family left, and it’s already upsetting enough not to have parents in my life.

It could be the child in me that never grew up that needs approval and validation, but IĀ  finally know what I want, and am meant, to do with my life and I’m ready to put the steps into motion. All I want is to be truly and utterly happy, at whatever cost.

Until next time, xo.

[Photo Credit: Pixabay]

 

It’s Okay to Leave Your Toxic Family

Pixabay

Family; the people you go to for the utmost unconditional love and support. That’s like the basic principle of family. But there are some families that are toxic and dysfunctional and stressful and terrible. That’s the kind of family I had. I left them when I was 20 years old. 

To keep a long story short, my mom had Bipolar Disorder and had been addicted to pain pills for as long as I can remember, and my dad was a truck driver who was only home on weekends. Due to my mother’s addiction (and other underlying issues I’m not sure of), she would be physically and mentally abusive. On top of that, she was a compulsive liar and everything was about her and her health issues (pancreatitis, diabetes). It was a stressful time growing up. I never knew what kind of mood she would be in when I got home from school, if there was going to be a fight or if she had accused me of doing something in her head. She would be nice one minute and upset the next. She could really spew some evil words towards me. I never really understood her addiction as a child and I just went along with it. I thought it was normal. I thought all families acted that way and that all moms behave that way. 

When I was old enough, she would have me drive pills to her friends and pick up money. She once made up this crazy scenario that I stole her pills and sold them, all because she didn’t want my dad to know she was overtaking. She almost had me arrested over her lie. I was her scapegoat.

My sister got married in 2014. My mother showed up to her wedding late and hopped up on God knows what. The guests at the wedding took notice which, in turn, lead to my sister’s embarrassment. My sister stopped all contact with her that day. Due to the imaginary scenarios my mother created, I was soon kicked out because I told my sister she was high at the wedding. 

I tried to stay in contact with her even after I moved out because she was my mother, I loved her. But it soon became apparent that she only cared about her and her pills, and that my life really didn’t matter to her. She couldn’t be bothered to wish me a happy birthday or ask how my job was going, or even if I had a boyfriend. That’s when I  started to realize that her behavior wasn’t normal. The things that happened to me as a child were not normal or okay. So I left. I stopped all contact. 

It’s been three years since I left my parents’ home and I’ve learned so much about myself and the world. I’ve learned that I have anxiety and depression stemming from childhood trauma. I’ve learned how to cope with those feelings. 
Most importantly, I’ve learned that you don’t have to stay in a toxic family. It’s okay to get out and start your life anew. It’s your life. Live it how you see fit. Don’t feel bad because you got out. You’re a survivor. You’ve been through a lot, now it’s time to breathe. This doesn’t go without saying that it hasn’t been hard. I get sad when I see girls my age with their moms. I still get upset on holidays. 

But what’s funny is I spent all this time feeling sorry for myself, like I didn’t have a “family”, when I do. It might be unconventional, but I have people in my life who love me; people who have been there for me when my world has crumbled. It has taken me a long time to deal and work through my family issues, but I’m able to say today that I’m better, and it was no thanks to my parents. Family is who you make it. It shouldn’t be a label given away freely. It’s a label that should be earned.