Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall

A sponge. I think that’s the best way to describe my personality. I absorb all of the negativity people spew in my direction. I internalize what they say and when I reach the maximum weight of negativity, I become very sad. Like a sponge, I cry and relieve the weight and then I carry on through life, still internalizing the things that are said to me.I’m not sure why I allow the negativity in, and repel the positivity from my mind.

This past weekend I visited some family members and some things were said to me that were very hurtful. While I know that what was said isn’t true, and I can’t control what others think of me, the pain from what was said is very real. I was told that I am judgmental and an insecure person. Keeping in mind that the longest conversation with this person has been for about 10 minutes, in the 3 years that I have been married, I think his opinion was baseless and unwarranted. Yet, like a broken record, I keep repeating what was said to me. I should have the strength to dust off what was said to me, but I can’t help but feel a lump creep up into my throat. Perhaps, I need to relieve the weight of my mind. 

I’m not sure why I rub people the wrong way. Perhaps it is my serious nature, or my inability to verbally express how I feel. The truth is, one of my favorite things in the world is to sit back and watch people be themselves. To me, I see people as moving pieces of art. Interacting with each other through their different hand gestures, facial expressions, styles in clothing – it’s inspiring. However, I can understand why people misunderstand me and think I am judging them. In unfamiliar territories, I am quiet, and I enjoy the comfort of my thoughts. I find people inspiring. Perhaps I am too analytical about life, but watching people around me helps me learn more about myself. It helps me understand myself at a deeper level. I think it’s unfortunate that my inability to express myself is becoming a hindrance and causing my surroundings to see me in a different light than how I see myself.  

You Are Unique Just Like Everyone Else

Deep in my heart I believe that each person has greatness in them. Call me naïve, many people do, but I think one of the most beautiful things in the world is to see people being themselves. Sadly, growing up in a judgmental society where you are taught to have a certain color hair, be of an ‘attractive weight’ or dress a certain way, people become enclosed and refrain from expressing themselves. This is very disheartening to see.

I think Facebook and other social media sites further reinforce a person’s need to conform to societal standards of what is acceptable and what isn’t. Many of us use Facebook to reconnect with old friends and family, which is great, but I think many of us subliminally start to use other people’s success stories as benchmarks for the types of lives we should lead. Somewhere along the line, instead of leading a life that makes us happy, we start to unintentionally train ourselves to think that our lives are inadequate and we start to shift our priorities. We feed into an individual’s online persona which probably represents 30% of a person’s life, however in our minds we genuinely start to believe that we are seeing an individual’s entire life. When in fact, this isn’t true. We all have our ups and downs. In our own way, we’re struggling to find our way through life. While we naturally share our peeks, we also refrain from sharing our low points.

Being the rebel that I have always been, I want to share the pitfalls of my life. I have been told that through my blog I am too transparent with my thoughts and opinions, and that I need to stop being so open. But, my thoughts aren’t any different from what another person is thinking or feeling. I’m human, and I prefer to connect with people on an emotional level. I think that our thoughts can sometimes be our worst enemy and if we don’t discuss or express them, we allow our internal voices to control us. When we visit social media sites, we need to understand that a person’s profile isn’t an accurate depiction of their lives. They are simply looking for an outlet to express the happy moments in their lives. However, deep down, we all have the same fears and insecurities. We’re all the same, on our own unique path through life.

Express Yourself Don’t Repress Me

Looking at our world today, I worry that pop culture is trying to homogenize our tastes, liked and dislikes. Walking through the mall, it’s as though each store is selling a variation of the same article of clothing. Crop tops, short shorts, belts, and huge heels; they’re the same thing everywhere we look. Even when we want to wear longer shorts or tank tops, they are almost impossible to find. I feel like we are invariably becoming a cult-like society.

Last week we had a birthday party for one of my relatives, and to my amazement, all of my cousins (including myself) showed up to the party wearing all black. Being the conspiracy theorist that I am, it led me to believe that our fashion sense is being influenced more than we realize. I was further surprised later in the evening while playing a family game called the ‘5 second rule’. I know I shouldn’t be, but I was shocked to see how much information we knew about the Kardashians. For those of you who haven’t played the ‘5 second rule’ it’s a game where you have 5 seconds to list 3 things from the subject on the card. So for example: Name 3 famous ex’s, our answer was, Reggie Bush, Kris Humphries, and Lamar Odom. Yup you guessed it, those are ex’s of the Kardashian sisters. Then we were asked to Name 3 famous babies. Can you guess which ones were listed? Penelope, Mason and North – Kardashian babies. It amazes me just how much we know about the Kardashians, yet when we were asked to ‘Name 3 fouls in basketball’, or to ‘Name 3 Hit Songs from the 70s’, many of us were stumped.  In recent months, the Kardashians have been wearing a lot of all black outfits and I can’t help but worry that they are too much influence on the clothes we select from our closets to wear.

It’s not only our clothing that is becoming homogeneous, it’s also the music that we listen to. Switching through the local radio stations, we hear the same songs on repeat. How many times can you listen to Drake’s Started From the Bottom or Rihanna’s Umbrella without wanting to scream. I get it Rihanna, I can stand under your umbrella, thanks for the offer but I’m not interested. I miss the days where I could switch through various radio stations and listen to a variety of music. Music is so important for the soul.  We listen to it while driving, cooking or cleaning – it wouldn’t hurt to get some variety. The majority of the local radio stations are constantly playing the same genre of music, rap. Don’t get me wrong, rap is my favorite genre of music, and listening to this music has caused a drastic increase in the number of local rappers. But it makes me wonder how many people would choose to pick up a musical instrument to express themselves instead of rapping if they heard the likes of Nirvana or Tool on the radio. In my opinion, music is the greatest form of self-expression and it is a shame that great music isn’t being played on the radio.

Life is too short for people to conform to a homogeneous culture. I wish there was more variety available for us. I would like to go to a store and find shorts that reach my knees and to listen to a of mash up country, alternative and rap – I’m sure that there is an artist or group out there that already does this that I haven’t heard of. The world is meant to be a smaller place, and we should be able to listen to a larger variety of music, yet we live in a world where the music charts around the world have the same artists listed as the top 3.

Selfish People Live Longer?

Sometimes I wish I could unlearn a lot of what I learned growing up. Okay if I am being completely honest, there may be some falsity in that statement, but I do wish I could change my environment, and the only way I know to do that is to ignore some of the teachings of my parents.

Growing up, my parents taught me to always help others and keep my ego in check. These teachings were reiterated to me while I completed my degree with a minor in religion studies. I spent many of my adolescent and adult years trying to implement these teachings, but the truth is, it’s exhausting! I often find myself being time poor and struggling to keep my own life balanced. I wish I could say “no” to people and take some time for myself, but I feel that would contradict what my parents and religion have taught me, selfless service.

I recently watched a movie, and in it, one of the secondary characters said that “Selfish People Live Longer” and I couldn’t help but think that she might be on to something. Sometimes, I wish I possessed the ability to express how I felt and thought without offending those around me. I find that I try to help people so much that I end up neglecting myself, and that it is my downfall. People have come to expect that I will help them, and if I don’t, I am perceived in a negative light.

Perhaps I have taken the teachings of my parents too literally and need to learn to be a bit more selfish. But, I don’t know how to do that without offending those that are close to me. I guess this is something that I will learn overtime, I’m not too sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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.

 

Stones Along The Way

Opinions. They don’t mean anything until we assign value to them. Yet, we allow them to control us.  They shape our perception of ourselves, and we let them.  One of the greatest things about being human is that we’re not meant to be homogeneous in nature. We’re meant to be individuals, who grow gradually with our life experiences.  Yet we allow people’s opinions of us to create an infinite cycle of thoughts that cause us to become stagnant. We can tend to become so fixated on the opinions of others, that our priority in life can shift from being the people we want to be, to being the people others want us to be.

In recent months, a friend of mine had something posted about her on a social media site. Out of respect for my friend’s privacy, I’ve decided not to elaborate on the situation. However, it left her extremely upset. Constant thoughts looped around her mind: What will my friends think of me? What will my family think? This irked me. Taking a step back from the situation, her concerns should have been, how does this make me feel? Am I okay? What do I need to do to accept that this issue has taken place?

Why do we give other people’s opinions so much weight in our lives? I believe a situation or a problem is placed in front of you to help you grow as a person, not hinder you. We only become weak when value others opinions over our own. One of the greatest gifts of life is that we have the cognitive ability to learn and grow, yet we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons by becoming tangled in this vortex of judgments .

If I’m being completely transparent, I think people’s opinions are irrelevant. Opinions are often based on the internal struggles people have with themselves, and most of the time they don’t have anything to do with the person they are being opinionated about. Yet, we place so much emphasis on them that we allow them to define us, and somewhere throughout this process we lose ourselves.

We need to stay true to what we think and know about ourselves. If we allow other people’s opinions to define us, we sacrifice the ability to grow into our  full potential and lose the opportunity to be the people we could be.

Ray of Light

Every once in a while I find myself overcome with sadness. I’m not sure what causes me to feel such negative feelings, but there they are – trying to make me feel defeated. Perhaps it’s my overly analytical mind causing me to overthink situations and see things that aren’t there. Or, maybe it’s my mind playing tricks on me; reinforcing the fear that I won’t be able to accomplish the goals that i’ve set  forth for myself? Whatever the reason, here are these feelings, pushing their way into my positive aura.

Thankfully, I know that these feelings won’t be present for much longer. I can feel positive energy rising inside me, and I know it’s only a matter of time until these unwelcome visitors called fear and insecurity are silenced. I remember a time in my life when I would succumb to the negative feelings inside me and allow them to consume me. Ultimately causing me to feel deep level of sadness that forced me to lose grip with reality. I learned a valuable lesson during these times. I learned to fight for myself. Something in me told me that I needed to understand my value and fight for myself. To understand that the feelings I allow my body to indulge in are a choice, and that I can control how I react and perceive the world.

This has caused me to develop an internal strength I never knew existed, and in times of sadness, I am reminded that my strength and positive energy aren’t something that can easily be defeated.  I understand my worth and fight for my happiness. Being defeated isn’t an option – and this moment of sadness will pass.

Rain Drops

raindrop

I love waking up the sound of rain on my window pane. Hearing the patter, reminds  me to wash myself of the worries and stresses of the previous day, and to start today  by looking through a fresh set of binoculars.

Two days ago, I went to the Demi Lovato concert (side note she’s AMAZING live –  phenomenal vocals!), and had a great eye/mind opening experience that changed my  life for the better. Before the concert started, I could hear the people around me  talking. Surrounded by conversations that were filled with profanity and negative  tones, I was extremely frustrated. Personally, I have a problem with negativity. I  don’t like it, I don’t want to hear it, and I appreciate it when it is kept as far away from me as possible. To be honest, I had to fight the urge to turn around and tell people to be respectful to their surroundings, especially when their surroundings included a group of young girls.

However, my perception of them changed when Demi Lovato started talking about eating disorders, self-harming, and the importance of fighting for yourself and getting help.  As she discussed this taboo subject, I noticed that I was surrounded by girls who couldn’t fight back their tears. I came to the realization that they may be facing similar body issue hurdles.

Almost ten years ago, I was in the hospital for an ovarian cyst that had ruptured. While in the hospital, I overheard the conversations of the girl in the bed beside me. She had an eating disorder. I remember hearing her as she pleaded with her dad to take her home. I remember his firm yet emotional say, “We tried it your way, you’re not eating, we need to stay here for you to get better, and the doctors will take care of you.”

More recently, I heard a teenage cousin of mine state that she wanted to lose weight, even though she is already very slender. She specifically said that she wanted to lose 6 pounds. Startled by her omission, (and mentally reverting back to the girl in the hospital bed beside me), I thought, I needed to squash this thought as quickly as it came out of her mouth.  Luckily, we were at a restaurant when she made this comment and another one of my cousins was eating a pound of wings. I pointed out the pound of wings and said “you want to lose 6 of those? Do you realize how sick and unhealthy you would look? It wouldn’t be attractive, you would just feel weak and miserable”. At that point she took back her statement, but I always worry that my actions weren’t enough.

Fast forward to this morning, something about the sound of the rain and the feeling of new beginnings inspired to me to want to make a difference in the community that I live in. I want to help raise awareness for eating disorder support programs in my community. I am not sure how to do it, or which charity to work with, but I know that this is an important issue to raise awareness about.

Mind Set: Motivated

Lesson Learned: We are all exposed to situations or scenarios in our lives that will impact us in some way in the future. I never fully understood why the memory of the girl with the eating disorder was so prominent in my memory. That memory combined with what I witnessed and heard at the Demi Lovato concert, will hopefully help me make a difference in my local community.

 

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Workaholic, its not worth it!

Last week I sprained my neck. To say it was painful is an understatement. I was immobile for an entire week, and for someone like me who is constantly on the go it was really tough.

At work, we are approaching the end of Q3, and that means that I don’t have time to be sick.  My medication wasn’t helping me with the challenge of working with a sprained neck. The medication I was prescribed kept making me drowsy and I had to force myself to fight the sleep. At that point I decided I needed to be strategic about when I took my medication. That way I could still work, and recover from my injury. I would wake up around 5am, take my medication and go back to sleep. That way my neck wouldn’t hurt as much (it still hurt, but not as much) until 11am. Then at 12:00pm, or whenever I was up to date on my work I would take another dose of my medication, sleep for an hour (my lunch break), and then wake up and keep working. I was a trooper, determined to not let my injury affect my work.

Looking back at my actions last week, I learned something. I placed more importance on my work than I did my health last week. Why did I do that?  Deep down I know that if something happens to me that the company I work for could find a replacement candidate to fill my position, but my health, that is irreplaceable. So why did I make the choice to jeopardize my health? It was extremely painful for me to sit in an upright position and support my head, but I made the choice to push myself to the limit. I love my job, and the stress that comes with it, but was it worth me compromising my health? Probably not. Correction, definitely not.

 

Lesson learned: I need to place more value on my health. Even if I love my job, I need to love myself more. I need to remind myself that I need to take care of my health first. If I am healthy, I can do and achieve anything. If my health is poor, I need to focus on improving it, and let everything else in my life take a back seat.

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