They Say I’m A Dreamer

School is upon us…or for those less fortunate it’s already started.

For a lot people college is cut and dry.

You graduate high school, you pick a major, you take a bunch of classes, and then they hand you a degree and send you off into the real world to find a job and start the next chapter of your life as a “real” adult.

Buttttt….that’s not how it is for everyone, and it’s certainly not been the road I’ve taken.

Some people don’t even go to college, and others take time off to travel the world or go off on some wild adventure in hopes to truly find themselves.

That’s not exactly the road I’ve taken either…I guess you could say I’ve gone down both. I picked a major….I took a bunch of classes…and then I hit a few road bumps and decided college wasn’t really my thing…

…so I took a year off.

I didn’t take any wild adventures or travel the world, and I didn’t really start to find myself. In fact, that seems to be when I really started to lose myself.

I was originally a nursing major…how cliche right? I struggled through even making it into a nursing program, and then I started working at a hospital as a sitter and moved on to work as a care tech on a trauma/general surgery floor and that was when I decided that nursing wasn’t really what I wanted to do with my life…my heart just wasn’t in it the way I knew it should be at this point in my life. I knew I wanted to help people; I’d always known that, and I guess I always thought nursing was the only way a girl could really do that. I’ve been on trauma for a little over a year now, and I realized what I liked most about my job was the people I encountered. I see all kinds of people on a daily basis, and they all come from different places and different backgrounds and they all have a different story to tell. And then I started to realize that I didn’t have to heal people physically in order to help them or make a difference in the world, I could help heal them mentally and emotionally…so I switched my major.

Most would think psychology, or maybe even social work, but I chose criminal justice.

So I’m gonna be a cop right? No.

Most people think criminal justice and they automatically think police officer, but one thing I’ve learned is that a criminal justice degree is one of the most versatile degrees out there and it can be paired up with nearly anything and everything to create some sort of career.

I could team it up with nursing and end up in forensic nursing, which is a possible career path to combine both of my passions. Right now the plan is to team it up with grad school for psychology to hopefully become a forensic psychologist. It seems like with each class I take I find something new that I want to do or could do, so the possibilities seem endless…and right now that’s what I need…endless possibilities.

I guess my point with this post is to remind people that not everything goes according to plan, and for a long time that was something I struggled with. I wanted to be like all the other people who graduated, picked a major, took all the classes and got a degree…all in four years. But, had I done that, I would have ended up with a career I probably didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I was going to. I’m 22, and unlike most kids my age who graduated this past May and have gotten “big kid” jobs, I’m still in school…and for once I’m okay with that. Taking a year off was the best thing I could have done for myself, and choosing the wrong major and working at a hospital were all things that led me exactly where I needed to be.

So for those of you who are out there struggling or maybe feel “behind” because you’ve changed your major 5 times already and still aren’t sure what you want to do with life…it’s okay…and you’re not the only one. And chances are, when you’re 35 and looking back, you’re still not going to know whlargeat you want to do with your life. The only important thing is that you find something you’re passionate about, find something that when you wake up every day it doesn’t feel like work, do something that makes you happy, even if that means you are an artist or a writer or a musician and barely making any money.

Life’s too short, so pick your dream…and chase it.

Sincerely Yours…

Fight For Your Fire

Hey Ya’ll. I know it’s been about a week since I’ve posted, and there may be periods of time like that in the future as well. The purpose of my blog is not to post every single day, although I would like to. My purpose is to write when I have something to say, when I have a feeling I’d like to express, or an important message I would like to share. That being said…happy reading…:)

Change. Where do I start with the topic of change..

I hate it.

It’s a necessary evil, and as much as I hate it, right now I am craving it.

If there is one thing in life that I’ve learned it’s this:

Life changes [quickly]. People change [often]. And the only thing guaranteed to never change…is that everything changes.

Throughout life you’ll change your hair, your style, your friends, schools, locations..but I’m not talking about those changes. I’m talking about big life changes that cause chaos and force you to take a step back and really evaluate your life. Changes that strike you to your core and make you change…for the better.

These changes are often triggered by a tragedy or a wake up call and sometimes by a person that holds you accountable and forces you to look inside yourself.

Over the last few years I have lost my way. One day I woke up and everything was different and nothing was the same, and I just didn’t know who I was anymore or who I wanted to be. I lost my fire, I lost my passion, I lost my drive for all of the things that once mattered so much to me. I lost my heart, and with that…I lost myself. It’s hard to sit down and look at the person you’ve become sometimes, because looking in the mirror you don’t always see the person you want to. I became a lot of what I never wanted to, but all of my mistakes have brought me right here to this moment of clarity. Life is funny, and it never makes sense, but sometimes the only way to truly find yourself…is to lose yourself.

It’s that glorious moment when you start to discover yourself all over again that your fire inside is often re-sparked. Your dreams might be the same, or maybe they’ve changed along with you, but you rediscover your passion and your determination to make them happen.

Now don’t get me wrong, while these moments are a lifesaver, you have to understand that your journey doesn’t get easier just because you’ve suddenly found yourself again. It becomes a daily battle to fight your old ways. Finding yourself doesn’t mean that the broken heart you’ve had is all of a sudden fixed. It doesn’t mean that everything is all of a sudden going to fall into place. It’s a step-by-step, day-by-day process and it’s not an easy one; but let me tell you…you can do it. A battle of head versus heart ensues when your fire changes, and you’re caught in the middle and often question what the next step is. Here’s the thing…there is no “next step.”…you dive in head first. A battle isn’t supposed to be easy. You cut out the people you need to cut out. You let go of the toxic things in your life. You fight for yourself and you fight for your dreams and you stop making excuses…

…and you just do it.

Sincerely Yours..

 

 

21 Things I Learned While I Was 21

My birthday is in 3 days, but we’re going out to celebrate tonight and I know in my first post I wrote a letter to myself for the next year but while I’m sitting here texting everyone coming out tonight I’ve been reflecting quite a bit over the last year.

My 21st year of life has been quite the roller coaster, I’ve lost and I’ve gained and above all I’ve learned….

  1. That my best friend is truly that…my best friend. We fight like enemies but love like sisters, and despite all the bullshit we’ve always got each others backs. We fall apart when we need to and we come together when we need each other, and while we don’t always agree with the other person that’s okay because we support whatever makes them happy. So through the bad times and the good, the smiles and the laughs…I thank you for what you add to my life.
  2. That music will literally get me through anything and everything. It will forever be my saving grace in the worst moments and the greatest ones. From concerts to jam sessions there is no greater thing for healing the soul than the soundtrack to your life.
  3. That alcohol and I have a love hate relationship. My drunken nights are usually a shit show that end in tears and snotty noses and arguments and stupid choices, or they can also be some of the best nights with the best memories I’ll barely remember with the people I’ll never forget. And it’s probably a good idea for someone to take my phone from me…Shots anyone?
  4. That I am capable of some really stupid shit…but my momma will always be there to help me pick up the pieces.
  5. That over time people will come and go, and if they aren’t meant to stay…you can’t make them. And sometimes the people who are meant to stay have to leave for a little bit, but they’ll always come back.
  6. That you can never take too many selfies…with your friends and random strangers. Silly faces and captured moments will never be regretted.
  7. That sometimes fighting the girl at the bar is worth it…but most times it’s not.
  8. That while driving the backroads can’t make your problems disappear; they are the best place to laugh with your friends, cry when you need a moment alone, or lose yourself for a little while.il_340x270.426182087_ilw5
  9. That no matter what anyone tells you…tequila is NEVER a good idea.
  10. That people will judge you no matter what decisions you make in your life, so regret less and do more of what makes you happy because in the end…it’s your life and your consequences.
  11. That boys in boots and Chevy trucks are God’s gift to girls like me..BRAAAAPPPP11302_Black
  12. That Tinder is in fact not a good place to meet guys…#SwipeRight
  13. That one night stands aren’t the cure to fixing a broken heart, but if you find top shelf tequila…it’s always worth it.
  14. That living on your own is the greatest thing in the entire world. No one to tell you what to do, no one one yelling at you to clean your room, you get to pee with the door open…and you get to dance around in your underwear all you want
  15. That sometimes the boy is worth it…even when he breaks your heart..
  16. That your best friend will in fact get mad at you if you puke in her bed…and her car…[oops]
  17. That life does not always go as you plan it, and sometimes you’ve just gotta learn to go with the flow or you’ll drive yourself crazy…and sometimes the surprises life throws at you are way better than what you ever could have planned.
  18. That keeping your mouth shut is almost always your best option.
  19. That girls are crazy bitches.
  20. That some of the greatest and most necessary lessons can come from the people you least expect it from; like getting a backbone and that “it’s gonna be okay.”
  21. That no matter how rough life gets, it’s necessary to take a step back and realize how lucky I truly am. Things will never be perfect, and they won’t always be easy, but I’ve got more people in my corner than I’ll probably ever realize and for that I am beyond thankful.

While I am grateful for what 21 has taught me, I’m ready to see what 22 has to offer…so cheers to the past…and tonight I will be raising my glass to a new beginning and an adventurous year!

tumblr_n2l8l4aOg71r1si11o1_400

Because I can.

Because people always ask me…

6cf63a69a019a5572553f7107dbd23e9Do you ever have those moments late at night where the world is quite but your mind is screaming? You have so many thoughts floating around in your head you almost feel like you’re drowning in them? When I was younger I would lay in bed unable to sleep, and these were some of the first moments where writing really ever became a form of sanity, and over the years writing has literally become a saving grace for me. Sometimes I have such a tornado of thoughts and I feel trapped inside my own head until I put pen to paper and get them all out. Writing makes me feel like I’m in control of my thoughts because I can sit and organize them and I can put my words and sentences in whatever order I feel is appropriate at the moment. I’ve been asked before, “Why do you write, and what’s the point if no one will see it?” The answer to that question has two parts:

Part One – Sometimes it’s not about having someone read it. A lot of the times I write to escape myself or keep my thoughts and memories close and in a physical format. When I feel like I’m trapped inside my own head writing is my release; it’s my way of working through a problem or sometimes I write things out so I can understand why I feel a certain way or how it is I’ve come to certain conclusions in my life. As silly as it sounds, my writing helps me understand myself, and sometimes after I go back and read something that I’ve written I discover an inner voice or opinion I never realized I had. Writing is a lot of things for me, and I don’t always want people to read whatever it is that I have to say because it’s not always for someone…sometimes it’s just for me. Occasionally there are moments when I have something to say to another person but the time isn’t right or they are no longer a part of my life, so I write them a letter to get out what I have to say. A lot of times the person the letter is written to will never actually see it, but the feelings I need to release are no longer stuck in my mind. Most of the writing I don’t want people to see happens when I’m angry, when I’m sad, when I’m confused, when I need an escape. Writing makes a person vulnerable, and as with all forms of vulnerability, we protect ourselves from the potential ridicule or criticism it carries with it.

Part Two – This is the whole reason I started this blog, for those moments that I want someone or a lot of people to see what I have to say. A lot of people who write write books, but I like blogging because it’s real time emotions. Whatever I’m feeling or thinking about at any given time can be written down and shown to whoever wants to read it. Writing allows me to put together letters into words and words into sentences in my own creative way so that maybe my voice will reach the heart of another person. As mentioned in part one of this, sometimes I write letters, and while most of the time the people don’t see these letters…other times they do. When I have so much in my head or my heart to express to a person, I write it out. It allows me to take all of those thoughts and perfectly place them into some coherent and understandable form of expression. I’m good with words, or so I’ve been told, but I find that I’m best at them when I have the chance to put them into a physical form. Writing is my greatest vulnerability and the fastest way to the truest parts of my heart, because most of the time I can say something to you on paper that I just can’t seem to form the words for out loud. I know someone really starts to matter to me when I find myself writing about them, but especially when I begin writing to them. Writing is one of my greatest expressions of love to a person, and it takes a lot for me to open up and let people read those words.

Some people play sports and on the field they forget about life and it’s all about the sport. Some people get lost in a garage working on a car. Some people write songs or play an instrument as their release. We all have our escape from reality, and writing is mine. It’s a liberating feeling to release yourself of the words in your head. My life is my story, and my story is mine to tell in whatever way I chose, so why do I write?

I write to feel. I write because I love. I write to have a voice. I write…because I can.

Sincerely yours…

To The Boy Who Broke My Spirit

In light of my last post, I’ve decided to start a series of posts over the next year of letters written to people of my past or my present that have played a part in shaping the person that I am today. We often forget that it’s not only our experiences that mold our journey through life, but also the strangers or the lovers or the friends that we meet along the way. Some people break your heart while others inspire change and some will make you cry while others will fill your years with endless laughter. Each person plays a part, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but to all these people I will write about…I thank you in one way or another for breaking me, making me, and shaping me…its-a-new-beginning-and-like-a-phoenix-i-am

To The Boy Who Broke My Spirit,

They say that hate is a strong word, but I won’t sit here and lie…I hated you for a really long time. There are some days that I still do. I was angry with you for hurting me the way that you did, for breaking my heart and destroying every possible part of me in the process. The ironic part is that I loved you once, and I would go as far as saying part of me still does and part of me probably always will. You were the first person I ever took a chance on you know. You were the first person I ever decided I would let in far enough to trust with my entire heart. I let you see all of me, including the parts I’d kept hidden for so long and the parts that weren’t pretty enough for the rest of the world to see. I told you my secrets and shared with you my biggest fears and my biggest hopes and dreams. I shared my past with you, you were my present, and I was going to give you my entire future. You were the smile on my face when I went to sleep, and the first thought of every morning. I was delicate, and you knew that. I was vulnerable and breakable and you knew you had to be careful with me…and you were…at first. You knew that while I craved a place to call home I also needed my freedom to spread my wings and fly. You gave me that…at first. You were a lot of things I needed you to be, and in return I became your strength and your foundation. I was your safe place and your happy moments. In each other we had found belonging, and we had found love. And while I’m not really sure where it all went wrong, I’ve stopped trying to pinpoint the exact moment because it no longer matters. My past and my fears and my imperfections became your ammo, often shooting through me like a bullet from your tongue. Where I needed freedom I felt trapped, and the home you once created for me turned into hell on earth. I became your puppet as you drained me of all the good things I once held inside for you. Your touch began to frighten me as you no longer were my place of safety, and my future started to darken as you slowly but surely erased my smile. I loved you, so I made excuses out of hope to hold on longer than I ever should have. I constantly blamed myself and shed more tears than I ever knew my body held. It’s not all your fault, so I won’t play innocent and say it is; I too played my part in our demise. The girl I was when I first met you has become the girl I will never be again. You destroyed my soul and broke my spirit; you took my self-esteem and my confidence, you stole the love I held in my heart, and you set it all to fire. In it’s place you left a pile of ashes and a ghostly girl vacant and void of everything she once was. You left her filled with fear to ever let someone in like that again. You created a fear so great that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to love again. In fact, she gave you all her best parts and from this point on all she has to offer is whatever might be left. She gave up on her dreams, she gave up on herself, and she’s still paying the price years later for the irreversible damage that you caused. It took me a long time to realize how deeply rooted the heartbreak you caused really was, and it was not until recently that I’ve started to see the full extent. I find it easier to shut people out and push them away than ever let them in again, all thanks to you. The amount of power to break someone is often found in the amount of love they hold for you, so I figure if I never love again then I won’t ever be hurt like that again. If I never give someone the power that I gave you, then no person will ever again be able to break the pieces that I am slowly trying to piece back together. You wreaked a lot of havoc on my fragile soul, and while I never wanted to give you credit for any piece of good done in my life, there are things that I must thank you for. I thank you for showing me how it is that i should never be treated again. I thank you for allowing me to quickly recognize the signs of mental and emotional abuse so that I will never have to put myself through that again. I thank you for creating a strength in me to speak up and stand my ground so that I will never become someone’s puppet and lose control of my own life in the future. But mostly I thank you for showing me what love is not and what it should never be, and for showing me that I deserve more than your hands and your heart and your mind could ever deliver to me. You are not a bad person, you just weren’t the person for me. You deserve good in life, you just do not deserve me. And as for me…I forgive you, not because you deserve that from me, but because I owe that to myself. While you are a significant part of my past, I want you to know that although I am still fixing what you broke, you will never be a significant part of my future. I let you go because you forced me to, and to this day it is still the best decision I could have ever made. You were toxic and you were dangerous and while I lost sight of my own value, I see now that you didn’t see it either. I have created a new beginning with a brighter future and a healing heart. So to the boy who broke me…I bid you adieu..

Sincerely Yours…

Leavers and Senders of Love.

I think one of my favorite parts about my blog is going to be the ongoing opportunity I hold to share some of my favorite organizations and their missions with all of my readers. I recently wrote a post about the teaming up of Tyler Knott Gregson and To Write Love On Her Arms. I was so excited to find out that both Tyler Knott and TWLOHA took the time to read and respond to my post. There is nothing greater than not only reaching my readers but also the people I am writing about. Awhile back I discovered another organization that I instantly fell in love with that I’m excited to share.

I am a writer, and just like with this blog it’s often easier to type out what I have to say. It’s less mll-lettertime consuming, and it’s a way to easily reach hundreds or millions of people in a matter of seconds. In a world of technology it’s easy to forget the simple act of sitting down and writing a letter to someone by putting pen to paper. But, one of my favorite things is a handwritten letter, a handwritten anything, in fact. I love nothing more than the personal touch and the love I feel from a letter that comes from the hand of someone who loves me. Handwritten love letters are a thing of the past, but More Love Letters was created to make it a thing of the present and a thing of the future. This organization was started by a girl named Hannah Brencher with a mission to create a global movement of love through people who desire to leave this world better than they found it. There are several different ways to get involved with More Love Letters, all of which can be found on their website. They provide you with a “starter kit” to educate you on the “art of love lettering” After reading the starter kit there are two main ways to get started; you can be a leaver of letters or a sender of letters. There is nothing better than leaving a handwritten love letter inside a book at the library or a bookstore or in a coffee shop or somewhere on campus for someone to discover. You never know who might find your letter, and you could be the person giving a complete stranger the words of strength and encouragement that they need to hear. By writing ‘moreloveletters.com’ on your letter you also allow the finder to turn in their letter and you can check back regularly to see if someone has found your letter. If you choose to be a sender of letters rather than a leaver there are always requests to be found on the website or through their newsletter for people who are in need of some old fashioned, handwritten love. These letters get sent in bundles to a specific person who has requested a little extra strength and encouragement for a special person in their life. If you find yourself knowing a person who is the one in need of these letters of love and hope you can also send in a nomination to be hosted on their website under the requests section. If your request is chosen it will be posted for people all over the world to see and fulfill your request.

Now that I’ve shared this awesome organization mll13logowith you, my challenge to both you and myself is to take the time at least once a month if not more often to be a sender or a leaver of a handwritten love letter. It’s easy to take 30 seconds out of your day to shoot someone you know a text message, but you’d be surprised how much you can make a strangers day with a few handwritten words left for them to find. The world is in pure need of more love, more hope, more encouragement, more strength, and a simple, old-fashioned letter can be the out-flowing source of all of these things.

Be creative. Share your love. Tell your story. Just. Start. Writing. 

Sincerely Yours…

You Will Live To Fight Another Day

I wrote this exactly two years ago, and I was in a pretty dark place at the time. While I hope for most of my blog posts to be fairly positive, life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Some days are bright with hope while others are covered with the darkness of despair; but always remember that even through the darkest of nights…you will live to fight another day.

“I hit the ground running, and now life’s running through me like a freight train. It’s hit me like a bullet, the pieces now exploding. One by one they land around me as I quickly fall apart. The knife plunges deeper and I can’t escape the pain. The tears are ever flowing as the world spins without me, I’m an onlooker to my own life. The colors blur together and they slowly start to fade to black as I get lost inside the dark. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know where I’m going. My eyes are closed tightly as I try to push it all away. Trapped by my past demons and chained by current issues. The beating of my heart slows until it stops. Like a tornado it’s ripped through me, the damage too much to bare. The weight of the world is crushing me as my lungs forget to breathe. Twisting, turning, spinning, falling, rock bottom’s what I hit. Looking up, there’s no way out, the walls are growing higher. Too weak to climb, too tired to fight, my strength is fading fast. A thread of hope twists around my throat, and suddenly I can’t breathe. Closing in around me, my bones are crushed to powder. I close my eyes to clear my head and watch it fade away. I take a breathe and realize…I’ll live to fight another day”

 
© Kelsey Poelker Sincerely Yours 2014
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The Best Years Of Your Life

I’ve noticed lately as I scroll through my Facebook that a lot of my friends are constantly posting links to lists or articles about being in your 20’s and why these are the greatest years of your life, most of which are tailored towards girls. I myself have even posted links to them; I do so because I find them rather entertaining and some of the things I read are pretty true. They say your 20’s should be the best years of your life; and while part of me believes that, the other part of me thinks it’s a load of bullshit. Your 20’s are some of the hardest years of your life…but I think that’s part of what makes them the best years. You spend 10 years of your life in your 20’s and through these 10 years I think you go through some of the greatest transitions and learn some of the hardest lessons. You go through some of your worst heartbreaks and some of your greatest triumphs. Some of us meet our life partner while some of us go through more relationships than we can count. Some of us graduate college and some of us spend the time trying to figure out what we want to do for the rest of our lives. Your 20’s are the time you spend growing up; you spend your time learning all about who you are and defining who you want to be and I think these are some of the greatest battles a human faces.

I’m 2 weeks shy of 22, and while I’ve only spent 2 years in my 20’s I’ve already faced a lot of obstacles upfront and I’ve questioned who exactly it is that I want to be and where I want to end up. I’ve had my heart broken more than once and I’ve spent time piecing it back together. I haven’t graduated college yet, and up until last year I questioned what exactly it was that I even wanted to spend my life doing. I come from a home that spends most of it’s time in turmoil, and while I didn’t have much of a choice when I was younger as I’ve gotten older I’ve had to decide if I wanted to play into that turmoil or take myself out of it. Along with all of that I’ve been faced with what any person my age might be faced with. Do I drink? Do I have sex? Do I do drugs? Those decisions seems so trivial at the time you’re making them, but they still play into the person you are through your 20’s and the person you end up in your 30’s and your 40’s and the rest of your life. Your 20’s define the foundation that you build the rest of your life on.

20's

Growing up is hard at any age, but I think that when you’re 20 you’re stuck in this in between of wanting to be an adult while still wanting to hold on to being a kid. You want freedom and responsibility, but you want to enjoy life and have fun at the same time. You have bills to pay and you want to move out and be on your own, but spending money on that new Coach purse or those concert tickets seems like a better idea at the time. You want to get good grades and graduate college, but that party or a night at the bar is so much more entertaining than studying your life away. You start to decide who it is you want to be but then you’re constantly faced with things that challenge you to stand your ground and be who you are. And while you’re going through all of these changes and life transitions and making these choices…so are all the people closest to you. During your 20’s the people you surround yourself with will change more than once as you learn more about yourself and cut people out who don’t fit your chosen path. Relationships get harder to uphold because you don’t see each other every day in between classes or during lunch, which means you have to put effort into the people you want to hold onto. And because you only have so many hours in a day, it makes you question who you want to keep around and who you don’t. Do you keep around the person stuck in their younger days with no motivation or the person supporting your future life ventures and goals? Do you get stuck holding on to the people who want to party every night or do you make the choice of surrounding yourself with the people who understand the importance of maturity and responsible decisions? And what happens when the people you start to associate with force you to question who you thought you were? Are those people forcing a negative change or a positive one? It’s hard to hold on to the people that you care about when they don’t seem to fit anymore into what you want from life. And it’s hard to let go of old friends as they graduate and get jobs and start their lives in other towns or when they become toxic and you’re forced to let them go for the good of yourself.

20's_2Your 20’s will be some of the hardest years of your life, which is why I never understood why they said they were the greatest years of of your life, but I understand now. Because although you’re faced with a dump truck full of decisions and everything is always changing and you never seem to know what is right or what is wrong…your 20’s are your selfish years. These are the years that you get to stand up and fight for yourself. You get to make the choices now that will hopefully give you the greatest possible future for yourself. You get to be indecisive and change your major 20 times to find a job that will make work not seem so much like work. You get to have your heart broken while you’re young and learn more about yourself each time. You get to find out what it is that you do and don’t want in a relationship so that eventually you know exactly what it is you want from the man or the woman of your dreams. You get to learn what it feels like to work 40 hours a week and still be broke come payday, which then forces you to realize that just like your parents always told you…money doesn’t grow on trees. These are the years that you can make the choice to travel the world and see new places because you’re not tied down to one spot on the map. You can pick up and move to a new city and start all over if that’s what you want to do. Your 20’s are the years of discovery and the years that you get to spend carving your own path. You learn to laugh even when things get tough. You learn that loss is a big part of life, which teaches you to keep the people you love close and always remind them of their importance to you. You learn to stand up for who you are and what you believe in. Through all the chaos of your 20’s you become the fiercest, smartest, toughest version of yourself and you spend your time learning to love that person. You learn that time passes quickly so take advantage of it while you have it.

Life isn’t always easy, and you’re going to make mistakes, but make mistakes while you’re young. Love the wrong person. Have your heart broken. Move to a different city. Travel to a different continent. Meet new people. Make new friends. Cut your hair. Change your wardrobe. Be spontaneous. Do what makes you happy. But through it all…learn to love the struggle. 30 years from now these will be the years that you look back on as the most important. These will be the years and the memories and the lessons that taught you how to live and the years that taught you how to love…to love yourself and love others and to love life. The world is at your feet, this is your journey and these are best years of your life…

…make them beautiful.

 

Sincerely yours…

 

 

Chasers Of Hope

71JHA7z+npLI’ve been itching to write this blog post because I am so excited that my absolute favorite writer, Tyler Knott Gregson, will finally be releasing his first book titled, “Chasers of the Light,” come September. I originally discovered Tyler last year on Pinterest and quickly fell in love with every ounce of his work. I look forward to his daily haiku’s on love, and his typewriter series is flawless (in my opinion, of course!) If I had to pick one of my favorite parts of life and the world, it would be words and someone’s unique ability to express themselves through the use of any combination of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Tyler Knott’s ability to do use his word’s and his ability of expression has blown me away since day one. Last year for my birthday my mom bought me two of his printed poems which she had autographed for me, and this year I am super excited to receive his book, which of course my mom has already pre-ordered for me! While I am pumped for Tyler’s book, I got even more excited when I found out last week that my favorite non-profit organization, To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), has teamed up with Tyler who will be donating $1 from every copy of his book that is pre-sold. Check out his interview with TWLOHA here: http://twloha.com/Tyler-Knott-Gregson-Chasers

For those of you who have never heard of TWLOHA or don’t know much about them, they are a non-profit organization that started with a story and has become a viral movement dedicated to supporting individuals dealing with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. Not only does this organization provide support to these struggling individuals, they work to provide hope and inspiration to them as well. I originally discovered TWLOHA about 8 years ago when I saw several people wearing shirts at school, which prompted me to look into what they were for. Since that day I have strongly supported their message and this movement, as I have extremely close emotional ties with both suicide and depression. While I am not ready to openly tell a detailed version of my story, there are many other reasons behind why I so closely relate with the movement of To Write Love On Her Arms. TWLOHA_logo

“Approximately 11% of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18.” [NAMI]

Approximately 30,000 lives in America are claimed each year by suicide, making it responsible for more than 1% of deaths in the United States. [NAMI]

“In 2010 there were 38,364 suicides in the United States – an average of 105 per day.” [CDC]

20% of all annual suicides are of those among the ages of 15-24 [CDC]

In 2010 suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all ages [CDC]

Between 14-24% of today’s young adults have turned to self-injury at least one time in their lives, and one quarter of them have done it more than once. [SIOS]

487,700 people in 2011 were treated in emergency departments for self-inflicted injuries [CDC]

Maybe these numbers don’t mean much to you, but the fact that an average of 105 people a day think this world is such a bad place that they would rather not be a part of it or that their life is so bad or they feel so lonely that they would rather just not be alive does not sit well with me. While I understand that suicide effects all age groups, the other fact that 20% of all annual suicides are within the age group of 15-24 makes me sad but unfortunately doesn’t surprise me…which makes me even more sad. I am nearly 22 years old, which means that I fit into this age group that makes up this 20% of suicides. And do you want to know why it doesn’t surprise me? I have been the victim of bullying and I have watched other people be bullied. I have had someone verbally attack me both in person and from behind a computer screen. I have had people make fun of me. I have gone through hard times that I thought no one else would ever understand. I have suffered from anxiety my entire life. I have had rumors and lies spread about me. I have been talked about behind my back. I have felt alone. I have felt sad. I have been depressed. I have laid in my bed and cried myself to sleep, and those were the days that I thought, “What if I just ended it all?”

I remember back in junior high I started getting sick every time I would eat or drink something which is obvious cause for concern. I went to doctor after doctor, I had test after test done, and every time it would come up that nothing was “medically” wrong. I was a medical mystery until they determined I was to be “diagnosed” as they would say with anxiety and depression. Getting sick was the way my body had decided was an appropriate way to handle stress, especially the stress I decided to keep bottled inside and not tell anyone about which also led to panic and anxiety attacks that would make me feel like I was going to die. When I was told this, I cried. I was frustrated because I was in junior high and what was I supposed to tell the kids at school when I went back and they asked why I had been gone for months? They would make fun of me for being depressed or they would see me as too weak to handle the every day stresses that came with being a teenager and not capable of dealing with my problems on my own…so I lied and told them they never found out what was wrong. My mom made me see a therapist to help me figure out how to deal with it, but I always refused to go because “it wasn’t going to help.” I didn’t want to be labeled as depressed, I just wanted to be labeled as normal. Over the years I have become more accepting of my anxiety which has helped me learn to deal with it appropriately, and my depression has evened itself out on it’s own. It was a process of learning to accept it and deal with it rather than hide it and run from it. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, but I know that not everyone gets lucky like I do. 

Mental health is not a game, and unfortunately a lot of people within my age group see it as one. And a lot of adults see it as phase or a stage we will grow out of, but what needs to be understood is that while some of it has to do with our age and some of it may very well be a stage, not all of it can be tossed into those categories. Over and over again I have heard or been told, “It gets easier as you grow up,” and for some it does, but for others…it doesn’t. Mental health problems can sometimes be hard to recognize and no one ever really wants to admit that they are depressed. Even though it is more commonly spoken about today, I feel it still comes across as a taboo subject and a lot of people still don’t understand it. And with most things that people don’t understand, they make fun of thumbit or they call it weird or they just ignore it all together. Because I have personally struggled with this battle I always told myself that I would never be someone that added to the problem and I would always do my best to take a stand against it, and while I have stood by this to the best of my ability I will not be hypocritical and say that I have never been at fault for making fun of someone or saying things I probably shouldn’t have. Being young is hard, and growing up is harder. You get thrown a lot of life lessons all at one time and some people get them worse than others all while trying to tread the waters of life and learn about who you are and who you ultimately want to be. We are all human and we are all fighting for the same thing, so why make the fight harder?

That girl you just called a whore or a slut? She might be crying herself to sleep every night. The person you just made fun of? Maybe you just pushed them over the edge. That boy you just called gay? Maybe he went home and cut himself. That person sitting at lunch crying? Maybe they just need a friend or someone to talk to. The rumor you’re helping spread? Maybe it’s not even true but you ruined that person’s reputation anyways. The person you label as just wanting attention? Maybe they do; maybe they want someone to reach out and notice that they aren’t okay. Each and every person has a story. They have struggles you don’t know about and scars in hidden places. I guarantee every single one of us has dealt with suicide and depression in one way or another, whether it be through a friend or family member or we have personally struggled with it ourselves. But do you understand how easy it is to help the problem rather than add to it? Open your eyes and pay attention. Lend an ear or a helping hand even if it’s to a stranger. Be the place where the rumor stops rather than continues. Many people don’t pay attention because they think they’ll never be able to make a difference, but a smile and a helping hand to one person could open a door of recovery and allow them to some day be that helping hand to another person. I know all of that sounds cliche or like something you’ve heard a hundred times, but it’s all so true and I know that because I’ve lived it on both ends. I’ve been the person needing help and I’ve been the person helping. Get involved, shed the light, and take a stand to making this world a better place rather than a worse one. And if you’re the person needing help…please find it. Reach out and please know that you are not alone and I promise that this world is a better place with you in it. Every single day wake up and look down at your heart and realize that it is still beating because you still have a purpose to serve in this world, and that purpose might be saving someone from ending their life. Maybe one person can’t make a difference, but together we can and it’s easier than you think.

  • Do something small like purchasing Tyler’s book before September 2 which will allow for the $1 donation to aiding TWLOHA in their efforts or purchase a TWLOHA t-shirt.
  • Don’t want the book? Donate straight to TWLOHA or join their street team and donate your time.
  • Check into your school or university and see if there is a club or the opportunity to start one on your campus to help raise awareness for mental health. [TWLOHA has UChapters or can help you start one at your university]
  • TWLOHA also has an intern program if you have the resources and the want to really get involved
  • TWLOHA also has many campaigns for both high school and college students to get involved in such as their Storytellers campaign or their Fears vs. Dreams campaign. 
  • But most importantly, take a stand and make a promise to be a light for someone rather than part of the darkness they find themselves falling into. Together we can be a voice, we can be chasers of light…and chasers of hope.

Below are links to all the things I talked about so you have access to getting involved or just more information as to what TWLOHA arms is about and what they do. I will also included a link to Tyler’s blog and book page so you can purchase the book if interested!

To Write Love On Her Arms

Tyler Knott Gregson

Chasers of the Light

Sincerely yours…

Operation Fitspiration

dieting

Fitness seems to be all the craze these days. Fad diets. Detoxes. Healthy eating. Working out. Everyone wants to be skinny or muscular, and people often let a number on a scale define them. I used to work at a gym a few years ago and made friends with a few of the trainers, and one of my best friends used to be a personal trainer. The best advice any of them ever gave me was that being skinny or muscular doesn’t mean that I or anyone else is healthy. There is more to a healthy lifestyle than just looking the part, and in all reality it takes a lot of hard work. 

I am by no means obese and I am by no means the skinniest girl you’ll meet, but on top of that I have been living what most would probably consider to be a fairly unhealthy lifestyle. I’m not a couch potato, but I don’t hit the gym. I don’t dislike healthy foods, but I often make unhealthy choices. I drink more soda than I do water, and I have plenty of room for improvement. There are many reasons to live a healthy lifestyle, but those reasons aren’t to fit in to today’s mold of what is skinny or beautiful..or at least they shouldn’t be. Today I started preparing to embark on what I will be calling “Operation Fitspiration,” and while my ultimate goal will be living a healthier lifestyle, my underlying goal will be learning to be comfortable in my own skin and loving myself along the way.

As I said, living a healthy lifestyle is a lot of work, and I learned that today when I went grocery shopping and started prepping my meals for the week. You have to research healthy foods and recipes. You have to read labels and prep your food. You also have to mentally prepare yourself to let go of the unhealthy foods and resist the temptation you will face daily. Being healthy and getting fit is more than just going to the gym, in fact they say the work you put in in the kitchen is more important than the work you put in in the gym. Luckily for me I don’t absolutely hate healthy foods. I enjoy fruits and vegetables, and while I like soda I really love water. I’ll post a picture below of what my kitchen table looked like before I started prepping. My brother is also into the healthy lifestyle as he prepares for college football, so we bought our vegetables and chicken in bulk and used our food saver to vacuum seal things into portion sizes. We also prepared some of our dinners so all we have to do is stick them in the oven and they are ready to go.

IMG_9658

Eating right isn’t the only aspect of living a healthier lifestyle; working out and being active is also extremely important. While I didn’t have the time tonight, I will be making a workout plan to follow for myself as well. This is the part I find the hardest to follow because working nights I get tired and make excuses not to go to the gym, but this time around I’m determined to get into a routine of going to the gym and being more active over the next few weeks. I’m not looking to lose a hundred pounds or run 10 miles at a time, but I am looking to gain strength and endurance and become comfortable in my own body.

Operation fitspiration isn’t just about getting healthy, it’s also about empowering myself and proving to no one else but myself that I am capable of doing what I put my mind to. It’s a journey of determination and inspiring change and doing it the right way. I’m not going to starve myself and I’m not looking for a quick fix, I’m going to work hard and change my lifestyle, and I challenge all of you to do it with me. There is no time like today to build a better life, a healthier life. Being skinny and muscular is great, but so is being strong…but inside and out. That being said my fitspirational motto for the next few months will be as follows…

“Train like a beast, look like a beauty. Look strong. Feel strong. Be strong.”

Be on the lookout for updates on operation fitspiration as I go down this journey, and look forward to future posts with inspirational quotes and recipes of my favorite foods I’ve been trying and maybe even a few workouts I find that I like! Let’s get strong together, because strong is the new skinny.

285058_2240873423969_1312074322_2694851_1277973_n

More Than Skin Deep.

Raising awareness about self-harm.

Ultra-Pink Dirt

Leaving a trail of glitter through the dirty adventure of life.

Single Gal Starting Over

I find myself single again, it's time to share the lessons I've learned

Thin spiral notebook

My journal of big words and pretty pictures

Dream, Play, Write!

Today, make a commitment to your writing.

betternotbroken

The War on Terror Begins in the Home

Storytime with John

pull up and listen...I've got a funny one for ya...

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33 other followers