Disconnected

Recently, I’ve found it difficult to connect with people on a human level. I can’t remember the last time I had a genuinely honest conversation with someone, and i’m growing tired of the superficial conversations I have with people. You know, the ones where we instinctively start to discuss whose life is more difficult. It’s like we’re in a rat race, constantly trying to outdo the next person. When the truth is, we are all just going through the motions of life and the growing pains that come along with it.

If I am being completely honest, I have a great life. I work on my flaws and improve on my weaknesses. I work really hard on growing myself into the person I want to be. However, I feel ashamed to let the world know how happy I am. Why? Because people become jealous and envious that you seem so “put together”. They don’t see the behind the scenes hard work I’ve put into the person I am evolving into. They only find reason to be resentful.

I have a very positive outlook on my life. I focus on the positives, and understand that the problem areas can be worked on. I know that nothing in life is constant and I am okay with that. But I don’t spend each day feeling angry about the pain points in my life. I accept them and roll with the punches, and that works for me. It allows me to stay focused and evolve into the person I want to become.

However, I constantly live in a fear that if I let people know how happy I am that they will find me un-relatable. When the truth is, the only difference between us is the outlook we have on life. I don’t see the grey areas in my life as problems. I see them as opportunities to grow. My approach to the grey areas is to accept them and look for a solution, if there isn’t one, I will sit on the problem until I can find one. When I advise people on how to solve problems in their lives, they find my approach too harsh, or they will give me a list of 100 reasons why the solution won’t work. They make the choice to stay pessimistic, and I can feel myself being sucked into the vacuum that is their negativity. And my outlook on life isn’t negative, so I can’t relate. And in turn there is a disconnect between my world and me.

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Being A Girl

Sometimes, I feel as though women travel through life with invisible boulders attached to their shoulders. As a woman, it doesn’t matter what we do, we carry the weight of everyones judgments. We are taught that we must dress a particular way, style our hair, always have groomed nails, etc The list is endless, and the expectations are exhausting to meet, yet we continue to try and live up to societies impossible standards.
Aside from the pressures society places on women, I think being born a woman is a blessing – at least thats how I feel about my life. Women encompass a strength that no other species on the planet possesses, and society teaches us to be insecure to try and suppress us, limit us and prevent us from achieving great success.
I used to be a very insecure person. I was always a tomboy. I liked sports clothes, and playing outside more than dressing up. Dressing up was never my thing. However,, one year in summer school I decided that I wanted to wear dresses and tank tops. People would ask me “why are you dressed like that? They weren’t used to seeing me in girly clothes. I felt insecure, and lied that my cousin made me dress more girly. The truth was, I wanted to wear those clothes, but I didn’t know how to break free from my peers opinions of how I should dress. Instead of saying what I felt, I lied and during the regular school year, I went back to wearing jerseys and track pants.
It wasn’t until years later that I decided to break-free from peoples opinions of how I should dress. I felt very lost and felt like I needed to find my identity. I went through a phase where I dyed my hair every colour of the rainbow. My motivation for doing this was to teach myself that the opinions of others didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered in my life was my opinion of myself. During this process, I had many people approach me to tell me they either loved my hair or hated it. Regardless of the opinion I received, I refused to let myself internalize it. Instead I made a conscious choice to only focus on my opinion. The extra noise of external judgments disappeared from my mind, and I felt free.

While I am grateful for having the strength of a woman and possessing the ability to fight for myself. I wish I didn’t have to. I wish I was free to be myself from the get go. I wish society taught me that it was okay to dress and be myself. I wish girls were taught to be free the same way boys are. However, with that said I am also grateful for the extra step that I had to overcome as a woman, because it made me stronger.

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Perplexed

As I sit here, starring at my fingers calmly placed over the keys of my keyboard, I am overcome with a sense of calmness. Perhaps it is the familiarity of the keys under my touch, bringing peace to the convoluted thoughts spinning around my mind, I’m not too sure. But I continue to sit here patiently, willing my fingers to decipher my thoughts.

InternetofThingsI’m not sure how I feel. As I look around the world around me, I see that everything is in its correct place. My clothes are tucked neatly in my closet at home, my car is parked in its regular parking spot at work, and everything is as it should be. Yet, while I know that everything is the same as it always has been, everything has changed.

My outlook on life has changed. The person I am is different from who she was just a couple of weeks ago.

I  have always been a person who loves clothes, and any method of self-expression for that matter, but recently I can’t help but think “what’s the point?”. What is the purpose of establishing your individuality?

Recently, we experienced the loss of a family member. She passed away quite young and as I walked around her home, I couldn’t help by notice many of her possessions neatly organized in their assigned homes. A thought flashed across my mind,

“once upon a time, she had gone to a store, and picked out
each item because it spoke to her in some way”.

Days after her passing, the items remain, and she is no more. It’s true that she exists in our memories and left behind a legacy of learned lessons, but we can’t touch her. Instead we are left with items that she purchased to express who she was as a person, and that person no longer exists.

This realization has left me with an internal void. What is my purpose? I believe that my family member passed away young because she had fulfilled her life purpose. She had fully blossomed into the most beautiful flower and I believe god always picks the most beautiful flowers in the garden. But what is my purpose? Am I fulfilling it? I don’t want to leave behind a house full of things if I didn’t use them to make someone else happy. I don’t want to become so fixated on the things in my life that I become sidetracked and neglect fulfilling my life purpose.

I love my job and feel that I am making a valuable contribution to the world around me. The company I work for changes lives for the better, and that inspires me to work to my full potential every single day. The technology this company creates saves lives, and makes an impact in the world that I could never make as an individual. But, I can’t help but feel like there is more that I can do.

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Mind Shackling

Lately, I’ve been feeling confined by the shackles of my mind. The harder I pull to break free, the tighter the shackles become. I try to maneuver to free myself from the madness of my mind and when I think I’m finally free, the elasticity of the rope I’m tied to flings me back against the wall, and then I’m back to where I started.  I can’t escape the hollow feeling inside me. The more I try, the stronger they get. I’m trapped in a world of self-inflicted sadness – my mind keeps playing tricks on me.

I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize the person I see in front of me. I feel lost, and at the height of vulnerability, with no one to turn to. No one to understand the depth of my emptiness. I’m not sure how I got to this point. I was completely blindsided. Maybe there has always been a part of me that felt this  way, and only now that I am taking the time to learn about myself do I see this side of me as clear as day.
Maybe we all have a place inside us that is dark and hollow and filled with vulnerability, insecurity and sadness. After all, we are all human and we share the ability to laugh or cry, or be happy or sad. Our emotions are the thread that tie us all together. We have the ability to feel and analyze the world we live in.  We possess a unique ability to learn about ourselves, understand our strengths and our flaws. However, our perception always seems to skew how we see our lives and sometimes prevents us from seeing the good.

Perhaps the trick to overcoming these emotions is to understand that these emotions don’t define us. They are what make us human. We need to understand that in life we all have ups and downs, and to not allow ourselves to get stuck in the lows. Maybe we will forever remain shackled to the games our mind plays on us and a part of growing and learning in life is to find ways to maneuver through life with them. Perhaps it is the shackles that teach us life’s most valuable lessons and we have to learn to understand those lessons and continue on our journey.

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Breathe. Pause. Take A Minute.

Breathe. Pause. Take a minute to regain your strength and understand your worth. I feel as though I’ve become a prisoner of my thoughts. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I can’t pull myself free from the shackles that are my insecurities. I try to stay positive and focus on the present. But the more I try, the stronger the memories of my past become. I’m not trying to run away from my past, I appreciate my past and the lessons I’ve learned.  However, lately I’ve become fixated with the negative emotions associated to the events that have taken place in my life. I wish I could control how I feel about the current circumstances in my life – instead of projecting the negativity of the past on to the present.  

I feel as though I’m standing in quick sand. The harder I try to free myself, the faster I sink in. While I exude confidence, I feel like a black hole inside. I feel lost and at the height of vulnerability. I feel haunted by the thought that I’m not good enough. When I least expect it, a little seed of insecurity appears in my mind, and like a fungus spreads to taint all of my thoughts.

Perhaps my insecurities aren’t insecurities, but rather fears in disguise. I’m at a turning point in my life, and maybe I’m afraid of myself. Maybe the fear of the unknown scares me, and I’m unintentionally sabotaging my mind to think that I am inadequate, when deep down I know I possess the potential to be great.  Perhaps I need to just let go and see where life takes me. Perhaps I need to take my advice to myself literally. Breathe. Pause. Take a minute to regain my strength and see where life takes me. Embrace the new direction of my life with open arms.

The Ticking Clock

I’m sorry – they’re gone. The words feel like an avalanche of rocks, causing you to momentarily lose your breathe. The words cut and it feels like a sharply edged sword that leaves you feeling at the peak of vulnerability. It’s as though, at the snap of a finger, the world as you see it has slightly shifted its axis, and you have to find a way to exist in this new world.

Like many, I’ve had close relatives move into the next realm of life, and each time it has had made an impact on my life. I hold my memories of each passed loved one close to my heart, and once in a while I catch myself fondly thinking about the great memories we created together. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet such wonderful people, and I appreciate the impact they have made on my life. But, that doesn’t stop me from missing them every day, especially during milestones in my life. During my wedding, I remember missing my grandfather and wishing he was there to share in the great memories that were being created. He was the only one I wanted at my wedding that wasn’t on the guest list. While I know he lives in my heart, I wish I could physically touch him, talk to him, and interact with him, in some way. But, I know that’s not possible. So I hold on to memories of him sneaking me chocolate bars when my grandma wasn’t looking, or shopping for my very first bike. Memories that I’m latching on to with more strength as I grow older.

I also had a friend who commit suicide when I was 11 years old. This was my first real experience with death – he was my age – and at the time I didn’t understand why he chose to end his life. Growing up, I learned that he was bullied because he was gay and had a hard time accepting it, and in retrospect if he was, I wish he had told someone how he felt.  I would have been there to support and listen to him so that he didn’t feel isolated and lonely. It almost angers me to think, ‘if you had just fought for yourself – the world is a different place now. If you felt shamed – you shouldn’t have! The tiny bubble of high school isn’t a reflection of the real world’.

Sometimes, in life, I feel that we unintentionally get lost in the present clouds of sadness. We look around, search for something to grasp on to, and when we finally think we’ve found our footing, we start to feel the turbulence.  Grief is the same, we feel it in stages. After the initial shock has worn off, and we start to regain some stability, the second bout of grief hits us. That is when we truly start to feel the pain of loss.  However, we need to accept that life isn’t a constant. People come and go. Life’s circumstances change. The only thing that remains constant is how we grow as people. What was the purpose of us undergoing events in our lives? What did we learn about ourselves? How did the situation positively impact us? My grandfather gave me my sweet tooth for chocolate. In general I don’t like to eat sweets, but I love chocolate. My friend taught me compassion. He taught me to never judge people and let them exist the way they are. Everyone has a life journey, a purpose and when their time comes to move on, you have to accept it. Take the lessons that you learn from them and the happy memories you have created and cherish them.

Jumping Over Hurdles

At times, I feel that we are our worst enemy. We create a vision for our lives, and when we unexpectedly veer off course, or are pushed into unfamiliar territory, we start to see our lives through a shattered mirror. Our vision of ourselves becomes distorted. Thoughts like “this wasn’t meant to be my life”, “this put my life back 5 years” creep up on us and without realizing it, we’re left feeling vulnerable, helpless or both. It’s as though we mentally confine ourselves to the walls of a padded room in a physic ward. We become so entrapped in the current state of affairs that we fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Speaking as someone who has been pushed off a bridge into unfamiliar waters time and time again, I thoroughly understand the pain you feel when they splash into the icy cold abyss. The sharp pains you feel when the realization of where you are kicks in, and your inability to breathe as you look in every direction to find something to hold on to. We all have events in our lives that cause us to feel this way. The death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, learning that pregnancy may not be in the cards for you, not getting into the school of your choice, we all have events in our lives that seem shattering, but they make us stronger people. When you finally accept the changes in your life, and realize that you alone are the only person to pull yourself from the depths of sadness that have been created in your mind, you take a retrospective look at your life and realize that you may have underestimated yourself and tried to create a life that was inferior to what you deserve.

Growing up, I didn’t know what course my life was going to take. I became involved with a group of friends that I had no business associating with. I was in a relationship with someone who treated me slightly better than the dirt on the bottom of his shoes and silenced my voice. I can hide behind the excuse that I had an ill parent and that left me feeling confused and vulnerable. But the truth is, I had created this life for myself. I allowed my thoughts to control me and make me feel inferior. My life would have continued down that path if I didn’t fight for it. I had to fight for the life I thought I could create for myself. I set a list of goals for myself: Complete my master’s degree, find a life partner who will be respectful of the person I am (I wasn’t going to compromise who I was. I had already wasted 5 years and I wasn’t about to waste any more time), and be myself (whether people liked it or not). It was only when I decided to fight for myself that my life turned around, and I truly believe that this is the truth for many people. When we stop playing the victim in our lives and start taking control over what we want to accomplish, it puts us in a better state of mind. Yes, there are going to be events in our lives that push us off course, but it’s how we get back up that defines us. We can’t let the events in our lives define us. Similarly to a hurdle race in track in field, life is about jumping over hurdles. Sometimes our foot gets caught and we stumble, but we have to get back up and finish the race.

Taking A U-Turn… Sort Of

Being forced to face your fears can be a very scary thing.  The feeling of venturing into the unknown and challenging yourself to grow and become great can be very intimidating. Recently, I’ve forced myself to slowly tread outside my comfort zone, and if I am being completely transparent, existing in unfamiliar territory has been a very scary experience. While I know that I am growing for the better, I feel that my thoughts are bleary.

Late at night, when I am forced to be alone with my thoughts, I find that I am overwhelmed with feelings of insecurity, sadness and calm at the same the time. To accurately describe my emotions, I feel as though I’ve sprinted through a 10k marathon and am finally able to catch my breath.

I’ve been working extremely hard at forgiving people in my life and to accept them for who they are, but it has been very difficult. I know that whether I forgive them or not is irrelevant in their lives. These individuals will continue to flourish in their lives and these negative feelings I hold are entrapping me in an endless cycle of negativity.

I think a key point of weakness for me is that while I am strong, I internalize every interaction I have with anyone and I possess an inability to let go. I have very high expectations for myself and I expect the people in my life to also live up to the standards I’ve placed on myself, which isn’t fair. I take life too seriously, and somewhere along the road, I feel as though I forgot how to whole heartedly laugh and truly enjoy the company around me.  I don’t remember the last time I laughed till my stomach hurt. Somewhere along the road of confronting my weaknesses, I left behind some of my strengths. Perhaps this is why I have been feeling vulnerable. I’ve changed so quickly that I left behind some of the things that made me great. I think I need to take a few steps back and find my sense of humour. 

I am truly grateful for my in laws. At family gatherings, I usually take a seat back and admire how free they are. I’m sure that life throws challenges at them, but whenever I attend a family gathering, there is so much laughter in the air. They are genuinely happy people who laugh till they feel laughter pains, and have an indescribable bond. It is truly remarkable. My hope for myself is that I find my way back to the person who was once carefree and enjoyed the simplicities of life, while growing into an awesome person. Maybe then I won’t feel defeated when I am alone with my thoughts J  

To Bury Or Not to Bury the Hatchet

Life. Just when I thought I had it figured it out, it throws me another curveball, leaving me confused and isolated.  In my earlier blogs I had talked about a tongue lashing I received from a ‘friend of mine’. After that incident I had vowed to remove toxic people from my life. However, a few days ago I received a text message apology, which has left me frazzled. Does a text message apology even count?

I’ve been pondering over this text message for the past few days and the truth is, I don’t know how to respond. On the one hand, this person and I were friends for a very long time prior to the incident that took place last summer. But, on the other hand what was said is unforgivable. And more importantly, given the types of vile statements that were said to me, does a text message apology even count?

Personally, I think an apology received by text message shouldn’t be considered an apology. If one is genuinely sorry for the things that were said, wouldn’t one pick up the phone, or have a face to face meeting to express their remorse? Perhaps I am not as tech savvy as others, or perhaps I value human interaction, but I think there needs to be sincerity in an apology.

Granted that what was said was extremely mean (to say the least) and perhaps he was afraid to approach me, but I think that if someone is courageous enough to say those mean things, they should be brave enough to apology in the same way those initial vile words were spewed.  I don’t think that it is an unreal expectation to have of someone.

Nevertheless, I am doing my best to give my ‘friend’ the benefit of the doubt and like a broken record, I’ve been posing the question ‘Do I forgive my ‘friend’ and look past this incident, or is it too late?’ The truth is, I’m not sure. While I would like to say, ‘yes, I forgive you’, I am stumped at my own personal obstacle of my inability to forgive. I understand that there is strength in accepting an apology and forgiving someone, however I’m not sure on how to overcome my own ego. In Demi Lovato’s book ‘Staying Strong’ she writes, “when you are wronged, it’s better to confront it with tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance”. If I am truly putting myself first in my life, I have to forgive my friend. It doesn’t mean that we will become the best of friends. It just means that I allowed myself to forgive the sadness that was caused and let go of any negative feelings.

 

Shaking Things Up

Sometimes I feel that the only person that truly understands me is me, and I am grateful for my self awareness. For the first time in my life, I’m starting to see through the fog. I understand the person I am and the person I want to be. Yet, while I am grateful for my new found self-awareness, I question my surroundings and whether they positively foster my growth.

If I am being completely transparent, I do have points of sadness that are seeping into areas of my life, where they don’t belong. I’m fighting a never-ending battle to stop them, and as of right now, I’m losing this battle. My weakest personality trait is that I don’t forgive people. If I feel that trust has been broken, I have a hard time looking past it. I’ve tried for years to combat this problem, but I find that instead of forgiving people, I mask the pain. I pretend that everything is okay when its not, and it eats me up inside. I know that this isn’t healthy for me, and I think it’s time that I start putting myself first.

I think its time that I start re-evaluating the relationships in my life and putting myself first. I need to see who truly makes me happy and who just needs me around to leach off of. I need to start making my feelings a priority and to start treating myself with the respect I should be giving myself. I waste too many of my thoughts on things that make me sad and devalue my life. It’s my responsibility to make sure that I am taken care of. While it has always being my life goal to help as many people as I possibly can, I can’t do this successfully if I devalue myself in the process. I need to surround myself with people who uplift me and help me become the person I want to be. I only have one life, and I don’t want to waste it on things that don’t add value to my life.