Desolation

Grief. Something we will all inevitably go through at some point in life. When I say grief, each person reading this will have a different thought, will have a different feeling and will have a different idea of what grief is or should be. There is nothing more complex in the entire world than grief and I feel so confident when I say that. I have lost a number of different people in my 27 years on this earth and each death, each grieving season has been different.

I lost my uncle when I was 12 years old. The way a child processes grief…now that’s a whole different subject. I’m sure I could dig up one of my papers on that but we won’t go there. That was my first encounter with death though, and I can relive that week in vivid color in my mind. I remember not being able to go look at the viewing. I was terrified of what death looked like. I still am haunted with the “I should have just looked” thought, which has made me how I am today. I am obsessed with how humans process through grief.

Between now and then, I have lost 2 grandparents, a friend who was in a bus accident, extended family members, a hospice patient that I spent one day with and a friend to a drug overdose. I have gone up to look every. single. time. I’m that person that has to touch them, to make sure this is real life. For some people, that is just disgusting or weird or whatever perception they have on what is “right” to do at a funeral. Literally, I have no shame when it comes to how I grieve or what I need to do to process through the death of a loved one. At the end of the day, I know my mind and I know what I need to do to feel okay.

I will never forget the moment in high school when a girl thought it was okay to tell me how to grieve after the bus accident had happened. No one has the right to tell anyone how to feel during grief. NO ONE. Not your mom, not your best friend, not a single person on this earth has that right. The human mind processes through the stages of grief in whatever order it wants to and stays in each stage for however long it wants to. There is no timeline, there is no end. It never goes away, we all just get stronger.

A person could have had one significant moment with a person who has just died and it can massively impact them. Why? Because it’s how that person made them feel. It doesn’t matter if it was for 1 day or 5 years or 25 years. You can’t take that away from someone.

At the end of the day, grief is different for everyone. Be kind. You have no idea how people are feeling internally.

“It’s both a blessing and curse to feel everything so deeply.”

It’s been awhile…

Did you think I was about to quote the Staind song? Yeah, no. I know it has been a long time though since I have written on here and the truth is, I feel like I have so much to write about, so many different topics, that I get overwhelmed and then decide to “try again another day”. Well, it has been many, many days. In my defense, I have been going through a lot of change. My last post was about breast implant illness and removing my implants. I am happy to report that all is good and I am feeling better than I have in years. I am still working on strengthening my upper body but overall, I am more than happy with my decision to remove my implants.

I got my Master’s Degree in May, I found a job in the field that I thought was perfect and I successfully completed just shy of 90 days there. I feel ridiculous even saying that but really…it takes a special, strong and somewhat callus person to work in community mental health. I have no shame in admitting that while I spent that short time there, I, myself, became undoubtably depressed. I carried every patient’s story with me, things that you cannot imagine. I want you to think about the worst possible thing you could ever imagine happening to someone. Times that by like 538743264781. Each day I went to work, I fell deeper into this darkness and I knew I had to make a move for my own mental health. I decided to go back into pharmacy. I just randomly sent in my resume to Potter’s House Apothecary, a place I have always wanted to work. It’s a specialty compounding pharmacy that creates each prescription special to each patient. I have never been happier at work and I am so happy I made that jump.

I have been going through the most intense training program for Barre3. My B3 journey has been amazing, tough and most of all, humbling. I have chosen things in my life that I naturally have been good at, but this was water I had never tread in before. It took me 3 audition submissions to get into training. It took me 2 certification submissions to get certified. All the while, trying to stay positive. Let me tell you how hard and humbling it is to see nearly every person in your training class get certified before you. Comparison is the thief of joy….but its nearly IMPOSSIBLE to not compare yourself to others. Not just in this venture but life in general. I find myself on social media, torturing myself with comparison. It sometimes takes me to such a dark place that it takes me days to recalibrate and find peace.

With that being said, I did pass my certification and I am so excited to continue my Barre3 journey.

Jewel wrote something so inspiring that I wanted to share on here:

“When we look at our own reflection, what do we see? Can we see ourselves clearly or is the image of ourselves distorted because we perceive ourselves through the eyes of others? Teaching myself that I have value that is not relative to any external accomplishment or failure- that my worth is not relative to my job title or lack there of, has been a huge area of growth for me. Our value is intrinsic. Our value is how well we live our values. And if we can live our values each day, regardless of how the day is going. Can we be kind when we are suffering a set back? Can we be loyal or honest when we have the opportunity to take advantage? Living our values helps us have a clear picture of who we are and trust we will be able to keep a consistent belief in and view of ourselves so we don’t feel tossed around or at the mercy of life’s ups and downs.

Take a moment to remember, you are all you have. Be kind to yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on being your best self. And know you have unique value beyond a job or title- value that can’t be fired, or stripped away by an injury, or a set back. But one that is built over a life time of investing in your inner game. Character is Currency.”

To Me, From Me

This place is only temporary. And you, you’re powerful beyond measure. Beyond your wildest dreams. Those things that you want, they’re all within your grasp. Those things that you tell yourself you can have one day.

You can have them. All of them. Right now. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

You’re beautiful. You’re smart. You have this insanely big heart that you wear on your sleeve for all to see. It’s time to take down those walls and let everyone see all of you. Not just the things that you think the world wants to see. All of it.

So, what are you searching for? What is it that you want? It will find you if you’re open to it. Dream it. Feel it. Manifest it. You can have it all.

I won’t lie to you though. It’s going to be hard. But you have to choose happiness every single day. Every minute of every hour. It’s a new mindset. You have to choose to be grateful for the many many many things that you do have. That breathe that you just took, that’s something to be grateful for.

I know that people have been cruel. But that’s just a fact of life. There will always be someone who’s going to be a jerk. But with that same person, there will be five others who are kind, sweet, and beautiful. Find them. Hold onto them. Keep them. And don’t fight it if it’s magnetic.

 

Killer Tits

So let’s just roll off my last post on body dysmorphia. Four years ago, almost to the day, I told myself that I could solve all of my problems. Plastic surgery. So many people do this. So many people want the perfect stomach, the cutest nose, or in my case…I wanted killer tits. I wanted to not feel like I had the body of a 15 year old boy. I wanted to look at myself and feel like a complete girl.

Growing up, I always thought they would just grow in. I mean, my mom was not flat. My sister was not flat. Surely, I would grow too. WRONG. I have literally been the same height and body type since 6th grade. My dad is 6’4″ and when I peaked in middle school, people thought I would continue on and go D1 for basketball or something crazy. SIKE! Here I am, still 5’6″.

When I decided I was going to go under the knife, I put about zero thought into what could go wrong either right away or further down the road. I threw the surgery bill on a credit card, paid it off a couple months later with my tax return and Voilà! I had 425 CCs of saline goodness filling my chest and I could not have been happier. Let me tell you, going from an A to a D was thrilling and I felt like I could finally be a woman. That literally sounds so stupid when I say that but seriously, it is how I felt.

I had always felt like something was missing until I got those airbags put in place. It was weird….I felt incapable of being loved with such a big insecurity of being flat chested.

Now let’s fast forward to about two years ago. I started experiencing things that never had an answer. I was battling constant (and I mean constant) infections. I will keep that vague and spare you the specifics. I began experiencing headaches that were uncontrollable and intolerable. I saw a headache specialist. I got put on crazy meds that they use primarily for seizures but I guess they work for migraines too. They made my face, hands and feet numb, I could not have a casual glass of wine and I could not remember anything. I literally could not even remember how to tie my shoe at one point. My family started to freak which, of course, made me freak and I said screw it. I threw all the meds away and have been dealing with the headaches as they come. I have suffered from extreme anxiety. Anxiety has been a part of my life due to some events that have happened to me as a child but as far as being anxious over absolutely nothing? We all know that is not normal. I had standard backaches. I mean, obviously….I am packing around all this saline. I was having night sweat episodes that were so bad, I had to get up, take off all my clothes and put on dry clothes (don’t worry, I showered in the morning but ain’t no body wanna take a shower at 2am). And lastly, I was always tired. I am very dedicated to my sleep schedule and get 8 hours of sleep almost every night. I was so tired all the time and could not for the life of me figure out how someone who just slept for 8 hours could be tired by 9am. When I said at the beginning that I wanted killer tits….I feel like I got the literal version of that.

Like I mentioned above, I did zero research on breast implants before jumping ship. I just thought, “thousands of women do this, it’s fine”. Let me tell you, for me….it was NOT fine. I cannot speak for everyone because I know SO many girls who have implants who have no symptoms and who are in love with their boobs…and that is great. Trust me, I wish that was me. But maybe there are some girls who have no idea about Breast Implant Illness because they have never heard of it and have weird symptoms that cannot be explained by any doctor. If that is you, go to this website.

Healing Breast Implant Illness

After researching and talking to tons of women, I decided to explant. The days leading up to explant were excruciating. Ask my boyfriend, I think obsessed, cried and complained everyday about it. I had so many fears. My number one fear was that I would slip back into being unlovable. My boyfriend is seriously sent from heaven and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. If I could go back in time and know that he would love me flat chested and all, I would have never thought about implanting in the first place.

Explant day- did I mention that I hate IVs? Once that bad boy was in my arm, I got the best cocktail ever and could not wait to wake up and see what I looked like. If you read anything on explant with BII, they talk a lot about removing the whole capsule. Your body so kindly creates a tissue around the toxic foreign objects and that has to get removed too. Usually with this being done, you get drain tubes. The FIRST thing I did when I came out of anesthesia was touch my sides, feeling for those tubes and when I didn’t feel them, I completely lost it. Hysterically crying. In hindsight, I now know that my doctor did remove the capsule but it was so minimal that I did not need the tubes. Crisis averted.

My recovery has been a BREEZE. I expected to be laid up, crying constantly about my pain and the fact that I couldn’t shower for a couple days or wash my hair. But it was overall good. Rafey brought me flowers the day of surgery and the first thing he did was cat call at me. I love this man.

So like I said, if you love your implants and have no issues, seriously give yourself a big W. You are one of the lucky ones. If you think I am a crazy person with somatic symptom disorder, that is fine too. Take away from this blog whatever you would like but I felt like this was worth sharing.

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I am back to being even smaller than I was prior to implanting which I am adjusting to but here is my old vs. new bod (one day post op). Also, my face looks sunburned because I micro-needled my face the night before surgery. Side note- highly recommend that facial.

Compassion

I know I don’t have to tell anyone this, but, man, the world is a tough place.

It’ll turn you cold in a heartbeat.

And if you’re like me, you also get to add in the fact that you are constantly overthinking any and all situations.

Anyone else ever feel like they get stuck in their own head?

I am so guilty of losing myself in a moment. Where I can’t find my way out of it for days.

That one time that you said too much, or that you played your hand a little too soon? Let’s play that over and over in our head for days and weeks on end and beat yourself up over it.

About a year ago, I decided I needed a change.

So I started a spiritual journey. It became a conscious effort to allow myself more time to heal, to try and stop beating myself up over things, I just wanted to be more in tune with what was happening around me and how that in turn, affected me internally.

But I went into this with the thought that the only way I could achieve this was if someone came in and saved me. I felt as if I was this hopeless being who needed saving to become who I wanted to be.

And I know so many people who think this same way.

It started just a year ago, but I recognized that my way of dealing and healing just wasn’t cutting it anymore. It just so happened at this same time, I started to see an amazing human being who was helping me to alleviate migraines.

It started it out with easy conversation and I think that we both knew that we were fighting the same battles in different ways.

He was exactly what I needed to encourage me down my path.

I started journaling, a few minutes every day. I started meditating. I stopped belittling myself. I began to understand that the most important conversations that I was having on a daily basis were the ones that I was having with myself.

Find that something that works for you, please. It could be anything, just anything that gets you out of your head for a little bit. When you find that outlet, it’s going to make a huge difference.

It took me some time but I know that I don’t need anyone to save me now.

And neither do you.

It’s true what they say, light does shine brighter in the dark.

Now, I bring my own light.

You, too, can bring your own light.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of days where the darkness tries to bury my light. There are days when it feels as if someone is trying to pull the rug out from under me. There are days when I try to pull the rug out from under myself, too.

But I am so better equipped to handle all of that now. I know how to show myself compassion, how to strip away the ugly thoughts and situations that my mind creates and treat myself with compassion.

I’m not the same person I was a year ago, but I’m taking the time to reflect on that and smile at how far I’ve come.

No, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine now. But I’m so thankful for all of the people that have stuck around for some dark times. The ones who have taught me that love isn’t a feeling. It’s an act of will. It’s a choice. Love is a choice. And it’s something you can choose to do every single day.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.

So when you find yourself questioning why people “put up with your sh**,” it’s that they’re acting out of compassion.

Your friends choose to love you despite the darkness that is or was.

And when you find yourself having a rough day, unable to get out of your head, treat yourself with that same compassion.

You can choose to love you despite the darkness that is or was.

You deserve every ounce of happiness in the world.

You deserve to be your own light.

So I hope you can make peace with your pain — with whatever it is that’s eating at you.

I genuinely do. So have compassion for yourself. Because you are magical and beautiful.

And me, well I am, too.

Body Dysmorphia- The Ultimate Controller

Body dysmorphia- A mental illness involving obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in appearance. To me, that definition sounds a little extreme but maybe its a blind spot for me. You know when you see something, hear something, feel something all the time & it’s just so natural to you? That is exactly how I feel about this subject.

When you see the photo I have drawn of myself, you might think I am crazy or need extensive art lessons. Yes- it is in fact a stick figure drawing of how I see myself in the mirror everyday. Art is not my strong suit so cut me some slack but the stuff I pointed out are REAL things that I see with my eyes in the mirror.

I know I am not the only person who struggles with this. I am not the only person who changes 12 times before leaving the house and still wishes they could just stay home instead of having to deal with the social anxieties that come from feeling like everyone is starring at the imperfections. I am not the only person who wears workout clothes constantly, thinking people will just associate my baggy shirt and leggings with the fact that I probably just worked out. I wake up everyday and am SO thankful that leggings are actually a thing that people wear in public because if they weren’t, I probably wouldn’t leave the house.

Truth be told, this has always been something that I have struggled with and something that has gotten worse after birthing a child. I still have baby weight. Anyone else? My five year plan for that flat stomach went out the window a couple of months ago when Preslee’s birthday passed…so now I find myself hiding in my pantry, eating powdered donuts, telling myself to just embrace that jiggly belly. #yolo

But seriously, real talk. I have found something that has changed my life and my outlook on my body. I have tried every workout you can imagine. I have tried signing up for the nicest gym, I have tried a personal trainer, I have tried strict diets, I have tried yoga, P90x, Insanity, just to name a few. Then I found Barre3. Y’all…Barre3 has saved my life. I say that in the most dramatic way possible because I TRULY feel that way. I torment myself daily and fill every ounce of my body and mind with negative thoughts. Barre3 is the hardest workout I have experienced for not only my body but my mind. It challenges your mind more than your body in my opinion and it is exactly what I needed. I have been going to Barre3 for a little over three months now. My body is stronger than it has ever been, and my mind…my mind is stronger and more clear than I ever thought humanly possible.

So for all the girls out there who have fallen into a slump, for all the girls eating girl scout cookies while hiding in their pantry who have lost hope on just about everything to do with their bodies…I am talking to you. I mean, please, still treat yourself and eat those cookies but don’t hide. Balance is everything. Literally EVERYTHING. I encourage every person reading this to try a Barre3 workout (guys included). Every person deserves to love their body and be comfortable in the skin that they are in.

I still have my days where I am just not feeling it and I don’t want to leave the house because I feel like the world is starring at everything that I see wrong with me. Those things that I see though, are slowly going away and those days are becoming less frequent and for that alone, I am thankful. It is exhausting to always worry what other people think about you. Finding self love can be one of the most difficult journeys but there are others right there along side of you, myself included.

“No one is you….and that is your super power”

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Last First Day

 
As I woke up this morning, I was so excited for my last first day of class…ever.  Then it hit me.  Wait, last first day of class forever.  What does that mean? What will I do with all of my free time? What is coming next for me?  To piggyback off of Kasey’s last post, I have always had a plan too.  I immediately started looking at what my options are for more schooling (as if I cannot live without school or something, ha!).  First of all, looking at schooling options is overwhelming and I decided I had not even had caffeine yet so I dragged my anxious butt to the kitchen to make coffee.
 
As I was standing there, I was reminiscing in my head about all of my “first days.”  My childhood memories are so gray in my mind.  I must have had some adverse childhood experiences or maybe I just have a really crappy memory.  In any case, there is a lot of really great first days that I do remember.  My first day of high school.  My first day of work.  My first day of college (terrifying).  My first day finding out I was pregnant.  My first day of being a mom. My first day being a homeowner!
 
The first day of anything can bring a lot of emotions and as I woke up today and realized I was genuinely sad it was my last first day, I realized that although in school it might be my last…my future holds so many firsts still.  A first day at a new job, a first day of being a fiancé and then a wife,  a first day of being a mom to multiple kids. A first day being a grandma (hopefully lifetimes away).  But you get it.  We all have so many first days that we haven’t even reached yet.  When I realized that, I was able to sit back and just be happy and content that today is my last first day of school.  Like Kasey mentioned, so many of us don’t take the time to celebrate our accomplishments and victories.  It is so important to do so and to give ourselves that time to reflect on the hard work we have all accomplished.
 
So I hope you read this and smile…thinking about all of your first days from the past and look forward to all the great firsts still to come.