8/30: Goodbye 20s.

The schedule is shot to hell but here we are; the night before the whole reason for all of this to begin with. I am roughly two hours away from my third decade and I have to say I’m not feeling as overwhelmed as I thought I would have. Being bathed in the love of my fiancee, family, friends and coworkers makes sliding into my 30th trip around the sun not so bad after all.

In the spirit of prompts, I’ve decided to write a recap of my 20s. I want to sum it all up, be thankful for what I learned and take the lessons learned into the next 10 years and beyond.

Previously on this episode of my life… my 20s,

I survived, it’s hard to believe it. It felt impossible but I am looking into the 3rd decade of my life and it feels pretty goddamn good but it’s hard not to reflect. The last few years have been about trying to be thankful for every moment and this is no different. Despite, it all I came out with wisdom, lots of hindsight, and general life hacks that have kept me alive.

The early years of my 20s were a goddamn mess. I didn’t know much about financial stability, what made a good job, how to act in an office setting, or even in life as a whole. I was slowly falling in love all the while trying to navigate who the hell I was at the same time. It was like trying to tap my head and rub my stomach, it took awhile to teach my brain to multi task but somehow I did that.

By 25, I managed to start to entertain the idea of multitasking. I found a stable job that would carry me into the next phase of my life and I was in love. She was a wild tornado that sweeped me off of my feet; made my question my every thought, made me want to find answers that made sense to me and not just what was told me, and made me want to better. By 25 she became an anchor to me around the wild seas that would be not just my life but what would become ours together.

26 brought me the shock of my life. No matter how many times I was told it was going to happen, nothing would ever prepare me for my parent’s retirement. It would be my first time on my own. It felt like a second puberty and I was shook as hell. My helicopter parents meant well but never in my life had I wished for precursed indepdence. I was a fish out of water trying to navigate my life and what it would be like for me without the watchful eye of my parents. My parents left in September, I spent maybe eight months on my own before she moved in. My girlfriend decided to take the step to be with me every single day and every night. She wasn’t thrilled with the neighborhood, still isn’t but she took a chance. For that, I’ll always be thankful. I became we, which brought us to the biggest step yet.

27 years old, I was standing in front of a frosted Cinderella’s Castle with a small crowd looking on as she asked me to be her wife. Never in my life did I imagine we’d get to that point. Our beginnings were rocky but all of the drama and immaturity came with a pay off. She wanted me to be her wife and I wanted her to be mine. We came home from Disney World that Christmas week engaged. It was now our time.

28-29 years were all about preparation, building and rebuilding. I came into a world of crippling anxiety. Self-discovery, a not kind job position were the recipe to finally bring what had always been there front and center. I became physically and mentally exhausted. October 2019, I was fired again; right in the middle of wedding planning, maintaining a home, and trying to provide for my family. I was a spiraling mess but like always I somehow managed to pull myself together. January of 2019 gave me a job and a perspective. I finally found a place where I could make money and learn about the possibility of a career. The beginning of 2019 finished my 20s with a big high. I feel settled, I feel ready, and I feel excited.

I was terrified to turn 30. It feels so final to my life as a young person but 30 also feels like a new beginning to what’s to come. Dreams don’t feel so far away anymore, I’m getting married, we’re planning for kids, and we figuring it all out together. While aging sucks, it’s a privilege denied to many and I think I’m going to lean into the wisdom and the new outlook and run with it.

Thank you 2nd decade. For the laughs, for the tears, and for the lessons; I promise I’ll use it all wisely into the next 10 years to come.

7/30: Stay the course!

30 days feels completely unattainable but I will not be stopped. This whole process began in vain to celebrate my three decades and essentially feel better about getting older. However, it turned into an actual challenge for me. An exercise to teach, prepare and hopefully further my writing. For those who read these prompts, I thank you. I know random topics aren’t always the easiest to follow so if you do even read a paragraph of what’s written, I’m grateful.

I’ve decided to head back to the prompt website the NYT provided me. I think it’s very apropos to my current situation of trying to find the motivation and time to write on a consistent basis. But, I’ve decided to take a step further and speak on the subject of my life’s motivation. Everyone has a motivation even if it doesn’t feel very obvious, it’s there. It’s something that is very personal and vulnerable and I am happy to share mine.

“What motivates you?”

I am my father’s daughter. I watched my father make the decision to stay sober when I was 16 years old. Without going into detail because it’s not my story to tell, I know this was a hard feat for him. His time was running out when it came to his options and it was either be sober or lose his entire world. When I say world, I don’t mean money, home or anything monetary; my Dad never found himself in a debt where he couldn’t rebuild himself. Maybe that’s my skewed vision of it but I think the greater risk for him was the idea of losing his family. My mother was at her wits end and rightfully so, so it was go time. My father thankfully made the decision to choose his family and has stayed sober for 14+ years. For me, success becomes very empty without someone to share it with. My father could have advanced as far as he wanted in career, life, riches but he chose to center all of the above on his family. It was his example that set the pace for how I would live my life, how I would motive myself from that point on. Do I want to be successful? Of course, I do. I’d love to further my day job, I’d love to be published before I die but I don’t want any part of that without the people I love and using my success to further their world in some way.

As I age, the family dynamic changes. Everything I do is on a grander scale. I find myself looking at the bigger picture most days instead of the present in front of me. The present is beautiful but the future is bright. I do everything with love for myself and my present circle but there’s a bright light that guides my path. If I didn’t have this light, my world would be a much different picture. I actively choose this future, I pray for this future every single day. Above all else, much like my father before me, my children will motivate me. I will be the best version of myself for these future beings, I will make every day a learning experience, I will strive for greatness and do everything I can not only just to grow as a human but as a Mom someday.

Maybe, I’m gambling a lot on a currently futuristic situation. There are going to be a lot of roadblocks ahead. But, I can’t help but find myself wishing and praying and using even the slightest bit of hope that all this work will leave their worlds better for it when I’m gone. That I will be able to leave them with the same unconditional love my family has given me and provide for them even better than I was brought up.

What motivates you, futuristic or now? I would love to know.

6/30: Sometimes life can be just like the movies.

This consecutive day thing is next to impossible. It doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying, it just means I’m exhausted from the thought of constantly letting this scheduling slip through my fingers. However, I’m back! I’m still surfing through the 300 Writing Prompt book in awe of the thought provoking questions it presents. Today’s prompt reads:

“Write about a memorable experience you have had staying at a hotel.”

Hotels and I have a great relationship, especially during my relationship with my fiancée. We’ve had several spontaneous staycations in the last decade but one sticks out for me in particular; our night at the Waldorf Astoria. There are handful of places in New York City that I was first introduced to through the lens of a movie and never imagined being able to actually see in person. As I age, I’ve been able to cross a few of those places off my New York bucket list and I’m damn proud to say that I have. The Waldorf Astoria has been in so many movies. It was one of those places I passed and always thought I’d never go inside.

The evening began a regular evening in Manhattan for us. We ate Dallas BBQ and just spent the night walking around. Neither of us truly wanted to go home to our respective houses so she presented the idea of my picking a hotel out so we can spend a night together. We stood on the street and scrolled through a travel site on her phone. The Waldorf came up and I was drawn to the name. The price was a little steep so it turned me off but after some convincing, we stopped at a drug store for toiletries since we had nothing but the clothes on her backs and off we went. The cab ride to the other side of town felt different than the one I would have taken home. It felt thrilling to ride in a cab for once. I was going to an unknown destination and experiencing something in my own city for the very first time. The excitement was much different than a regular day in the neighborhood. It was the first place that I would get to cross off my New York bucket list and get sucked into the magic that is New York City.

I remember walking into the lobby and feeling like I was in another world. I had never seen anything that beautiful in New York. Of course, there are many beautiful places but when you pass through daily they tend to lose their wonder. This felt new and exciting and it was even better because it was an adventure with someone I truly love. We checked in and headed toward our room but wandered around the lobby a little bit. A grand piano, a polished bar, and nothing but dreams came forth. We both began to imagine our lives going to the bar together in expensive dresses and having a night out. The whole building was a dream world and most of the night was spent that way. We finally reached our room and spent the remainder of the evening dreaming. A romantic time loop of 24 hours where she and I did nothing but love in the biggest way.

The next morning was a little bit of a dose of reality as we woke up in our clothes from the night prior but the evening was far too worth it to care. It was incredible to be able to share in an experience on our city together and revel in the romantic world that was the Waldorf Astoria. Since then, the Waldorf was remodeled into expensive New York City condos taking away the hotel aspect of the building. It was heartbreaking to find out but I am incredibly grateful that we got to spend that night there and have that experience to remember forever.

5/30: Never give up, never surrender!

I know I missed yesterday, boo on me but I’m back! The consecutive days is something I’d love to shoot for but I also know it may not always happen. With Fridays being my least busy day at work I’m likely going to queue up a few posts to last me into the weekend.

Onto the prompt! Still sticking with the 300 Writing Prompts book. It’s got some great ones that have stirred up some brain cells into actual thoughts.

“What is the best compliment you have ever received?”

I’m not sure if it was the compliment that was the best or the setting and feeling of which the compliment was said to me in. I spent four years in a firm where I wasn’t the happiest. It was a lot of conflict and I spent a large majority of time my time frazzled and anxious. It was a particularly hard day for me at the office. People were demanding things and I couldn’t do it fast enough. That was always the words thrown around, “You’ve got to go faster.” Which ultimately made no sense because my department was four people in total maintaining a 400+ staff and 9 kitchens. I was hiding out in one of the kitchens I managed and the woman who trained me to stop to see what was wrong. I was clearly out of it. I wear my emotions on my face which is a very clear disadvantage in a professional setting. She sat with me for a bit to ask what was going on, I told her and she replied with something that has stuck with me ever since. “Don’t let your circumstance change who you are, you’re one of the most versatile, hardworking people I know.” Coming from her, this meant the world. She was the person who trained me and someone I looked up to professionally so it was a big deal for me to hear that.

On a personal level it opened my eyes to the fact that it wasn’t entirely my fault that everything work wise was going wrong. I was giving it 100% effort and despite the management team not noticing, there were others that were. It was a good lesson for me not to put so much of my value in my superiors because people see things different than others. The compliment not only made me feel proud and better in the moment but it’s stuck with me ever since. It took a long time to really navigate my worth but I credit my co-worker for giving it a jump start into exploration.

What was the best compliment you’ve ever received? How did it change your life?

4/30: I want to break free!

This seems to be a reoccurring topic of conversation for my fiancée and I. She’s mostly fearless and I’m fearful of a lot. We’re an odd pairing when it comes to how we live out our lives but we somehow make it work. While she genuinely means well, her blunt opinions of me always stir up a ton of feelings for me. “You never leave your comfort zone.” My instant reaction was to be defensive. How could she say that? I do a lot of things outside of my comfort zone, especially with her. But, after collecting myself out of “my feelings” I decided to really take a look my inner scope and workings. This happens a lot when she talks. I like to think, it’s a mix of her opinions mattering to me more than anyone and she’s someone I admire and trust. When she’s on, the girl lives and dies by logical thinking; a trait I wish I could capture.

Today’s prompt questions my preference on safety net or taking risks. See below for the full question asked in the 300 Writing Prompts book by Piccadilly.

“Do you prefer taking risks or having a safety net?”

My heart pounds when I’m about to do anything that I have a fear of. My body tightens up, my face drops and I’m ready to curl into a ball and shut down. My knee-jerk reaction is to always go to what’s safe or what feels safe in my eyes. However, a safety net hasn’t always been kind to me. While it protects me from these fears, it’s also robbed me of experiences. I skipped out on amusement park rides, going places with friends, going away to school and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been afraid of so many things. I don’t like the dark, I don’t like going out of control fast, or being at a height any bigger than myself. I don’t like to shy away from routine or what I know to be normal and safe. As a child and teenager, the world is your oyster for adventures of all kinds. However, I spent a lot of time terrified of what could happen; would I get hurt? Would I fall? Faint? Be alone? You name it and I’ve probably ran the scenario. This is paralyzing to feel and the more I age, the more I want to turn away from fear and into adventure and love. We’re given one life and I want to make it count.

I’m not totally denouncing my comfort zone. It’s a great place that isn’t just built on fear but my moral compass of right and wrong. It has kept me out of trouble and for the most part on a clean and safe path away from harm. It’s not all bad but for the most part, I want to break free like Freddie Mercury in front of a packed crowd. Life waits for no one and I’m ready to at least /try/ and step away from the same old thing and find some new places, new ways, and live with an open mind.

What do you prefer? Are you a risk taker or do you like to play it safe in your safety net? How do you carry out these lifestyles? Let me know!  

3/30: Always be grateful!

It has been a WEEK and it’s only Tuesday. Life is very busy, so my anxiety is a little bit peaked by that. I feel like I’m getting pulled all over the place and the balancing act isn’t my thing. However, I am still very lucky to have what have and be where I’m at. A couple of months ago, I was in a big fat limbo after losing my job of four years and now a few months before my wedding I finally got that on track. I have a fiancée and a family who loves me, my health is good. I couldn’t ask for more. One of the practices I do to keep me centered when in an anxious state is practicing gratitude. In my experience when my anxiety is at its peak, this practice can sometimes feel pointless or cheesy but when I actually put focus on the positive, the negative tends to fade away.

I did a search for prompts online for today. I wanted to give the book a break and also plug some sites that could potentially help out other bloggers like myself. Check out the Link for this prompt and others.  I’ve always done this exercise in a list, so check out the 10 reasons below:

  1. I am grateful for a family who loves me regardless of the distance or time we spend away from each other.
  2. I am grateful for technology. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to maintain relationships with the people most important to me. I always try and visit people and spend real-life time with them but when schedules don’t permit that, it’s nice to have the technology at your fingertips to see friends and family far and wide.
  3. I am grateful for the ability to learn on a constant basis. Age and maturity has given me a thirst for knowledge on a daily basis. There is always room for growth and betterment.
  4. I am grateful for a job that doesn’t make me feel like the other shoe is going to drop out from under me. I have always been fearful of the “firing boogeyman” on a constant basis but this new firm has not given me anything to fear.
  5. I am grateful for a steady paycheck and being able to afford to live in a big city. Not a lot of people have that luxury.
  6. As much as I complain, I am grateful for the gift of aging. It’s a privilege denied to many and I hope to God, I get to see even more years ahead.
  7. I am grateful for my fiancée for a multitude of reasons. The one that sticks out the most right now is her ability to soothe my overactive mind. I drown sometimes in a sea of scenarios and what ifs and oh my gods, and when she’s feeling 100% she’s an anchor of logic. I need that and I love that I have it in her.
  8. I am grateful for Twitter. I recently started one for this blog. Follow me @JMWeberWrites on there. Twitter has given me access to the #WritingCommunity where I can get to wander around so many talented people and dwell in the same space as them; learning, networking, and chatting away. It’s been such a help!
  9. I am grateful for my anxiety. It sounds weird but it is a measuring point for my stress levels and having it peak allows me to know when to slow down and re-evaluate.
  10. I am grateful for all of my streaming services because without it I’d be watching the same 10 seasons of Friends permanently on loop! I do that anyway, but at least not 24/7 much to the delight of my fiancée :p

What are some of the things you’re grateful for? I’d love to hear them!

Pause Button: Finding Balance

I think this weekend proved to me that I have a little bit of re-adjusting my schedule to do. I was hoping to promise a 30 prompts for 30 days series, but I fell short. However, this won’t stop me, even if I need to carry over into the month of June I am determined to see this through. Time management has never been my strongest point in life so I suppose writing is no exception to this personality flaw. My weekends I try to reserve for time with my fiancée, time to catch up on errands or clean my house, and sometimes work at a second job; leaving little room or much hope for any writing time.

Or so it feels.

This weekend left me feeling a little more than blue about the whole thing. The intention of this series was to celebrate my upcoming birthday but also beta test committing to a schedule. I have a few ideas for new books in the next year and one of them required a schedule so the whole thing just felt like a giant let down. I am a perfectionist at heart but after having a chat with my fiancée, I’ve decided to get back on the “horse” and dedicate myself to the task once again.

I’m speaking this plan into the universe of dedicating 30 minutes of my day or night to stop and remove myself for writing. After a long chat, she passed this suggestion along and reminded me that taking time for myself is more than okay for something I’m passionate about. Sometimes I get too far inside of my head so to have a partner who thrives on logic and reason is a blessing. She’s the reset button I needed to finish this series and see it through the entire 30 days. So, with one minor breakdown out of the way, I am keep on keeping on. Thank you all for being patient. I am very lucky to have any kind of traffic on this blog and I’m grateful for every view, like, and comment.

Day 3 resumes tomorrow with a fresh pair of eyes and an open heart. Wish me luck!

2/30 – I am woman, hear me ROAR!

Over the course of my relationship with my fiance, she has gotten me countless tools for the betterment of my writing. She’s given me journals, fancy pens, not so fancy pens, and most recently a book of 300 writing prompts.  Today’s selection comes from that book. Thank you, babe! The book comes with lines below each prompt to write on but I know that I would likely go beyond the lines so I’m using some of these wonderful prompts here for this series.

“In what way are you are strong?”

Most of the time I have trouble identifying my positive qualities. I am self-deprecating by nature and it’s a habit that I’m working hard on breaking. To be humble is one thing, to self-loathing is another. I have found that my thoughts of myself have been shaped by the people around me cementing sometimes incorrect things into my brain that just are not true! As I age, I’m starting to realize my strengths while accepting my weaknesses. Not everyone will excel in everything and people can only hurt my feelings if I let them; best advice my Father has ever given me. Strength comes in many forms. For me, I see strength in my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self. Each of these differs in journey for the winding road that’s my life.

Physical strength, I excel at in brute force and ability to shift weight in many ways that most women couldn’t. I really don’t know how that worked out. I am bigger in stature so I could only assume that it’s a result of being that body type. I am able to lift heavy boxes in my office, I am able to break a part the cardboard when its called for. It’s a minimal example but it’s a valid one. My family jokes that I have “Monica strength” like Monica Gellar from the TV show friends.

Mental strength has been a journey for me. I like to consider myself a work in progress because it has taken me quite some time to reach the mental space that I’m currently in. I have been seeking validation from all the wrong places. Whether it’s in education or dealing with life, I have always downplayed my abilities because I found my self-esteem in what others thought of me. It became a downward spiral to live through because anytime someone spoke ill of me, I found myself in a tail spin. The acceptance that not everyone will always approve of everything I do was hard to come by. I’ve always had a need to be liked so it was a mountain to climb inside of my brain. Knocking on the door of 30 years old, I find myself less enthused by the opinions and approval of others. I’ve learned that it’s my job to decide what I need and what I don’t.

Emotional strength is one of my strongest points. As a self-proclaimed empath, I feel for me, I feel for the room I’m in, the world around me. I am forever feeling in the biggest of ways and sometimes it’s absolutely exhausting. I’ve done a lot of trying to push away my feelings to fit the needs of others. Being the sap in the room isn’t the easy of tasks but it’s not an impossible task. I am forever going to be the one with the most emotions in any room and you know what? That’s okay. The acceptance of myself has been the final hurdle that has solidified my pride in my emotional strength.

Last but not least touches on my spiritual strength. This has been an arduous journey for me. I was born into a home that casually taught the teachings of Christianity. We went to Sunday school at the local Lutheran church and for some reason I took to the teachings. Religion has always been a foundation for me. It has been the space where I have my found my moral compass and values. I eventually became Catholic in the fifth grade and completed my sacraments making me an adult in the eyes of my church. However, all of that was tested when I came out at 17 years old as a bi-sexual female. Catholicism doesn’t recognize my relationship as natural. “It goes against God’s wishes and teachings”. With my pending marriage coming up, I find myself gutted. I would love to be able to complete the sacrament of marriage with my own, I would love to find a way to make my union “valid” in the eyes of my church but the closed minds of others doesn’t allow this. But, I can’t be stopped. My faith in God is unshakable, I live by my mother’s example and pray without a church, and believe with a whole heart that God’s got me and despite how much it hurts he’s there with me and will be the day I marry my fiancee.

I’m stronger than I give myself credit for most days. While I may not always feel it one hundred percent, I know that it’s there. What are your strengths? Are they inner or physical? Are they hard to attain or does it come naturally? I’d love to know more.


1/30: Fight Fear

26. Fear: What scares you a little? What do you feel when scared? How do you react?

Credit: https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

May starts Mental Health Awareness month. Approximately 1 in 5 people in the US suffer from some sort of mental illness. It’s a stigma that needs to be erased by talking about it and fighting out in the open to show those who suffer in silence that they are not alone. I figured I’d kick off this series with a dose of honesty. I deal with my own share of anxiety and fear. Every single day is a new vow for me to fight fear and do my best to not allow my anxiety to get the better of me. Some days I kick fear’s ass, others not so much.

The door opens and I step inside of the well lit tight space, it’s filled with other commuters getting around New York City. Sometimes they’re sleeping and weary from the early morning, others they’re wired with their to-do-lists trying to race home to their home lives with the small amounts of daylight that they have left in their days. I stand with music blaring in my ears and as far away as possible. Truthfully, riding the train back and forth to work scares me more than it should. I take the bus to get to the train and it rarely triggers any kind of anxiety but the train pushes it to happen. The crowds of people squeezing into a tight space just feels suffocating and life in the Big Apple of New York City could present tragedy at a moment’s notice so knowing I would have to combat those crowds who are usually self-serving 9 times out of 10 is unnerving. Add the below the ground factor away from any kind of resources but the scatter of subway rats and garbage and I’m in a tailspin of fear.

My best combatance of this fear is my phone and listening to music. While a lot of people discourage people to be glued to their devices (they’re probably right, but…), I find myself using mine as a life jacket of sorts. The music keeps me tuned into the rhythm and lyrics of the song versus allowing my mind to wander into the land of “what ifs” creating unneeded scenarios that may or may not ever happen. My phone has games or a book I’m reading to further tune out the mind wandering and keep me occupied instead of counting the train stops only.

Despite, my distraction of myself I do my best to stay tuned into my environment just on a less intense scale so that my brain doesn’t freak out my body. The physical symptoms of my anxiety can be very debilitating which feels a lot more dangerous than my multi-tasking with my phone. Extreme anxiety has been known to induce dizzy spells so I’d much rather find a happier, calmer mind set and have a safe commute versus working myself up and risking not getting to my destination in one piece.

What scares you? How does it affect you? Better yet, how do you handle this fear? Let me know!

Prompt Series: 30 prompts for 30 years

We are knocking on the door of the 5th month of 2019 and it happens to be my birthday month. I am a May baby; a proud Gemini, a spring lover (even if I think allergies are slowly creeping in), and so very into having a birthday. I know a lot of people don’t like to celebrate theirs but I have never been shy about the celebration of mine, but this year feels a little mixed. On May 23rd, I will have three decades of life under my belt. Three whole trips around the sun! The Big 3-0! It feels so daunting to me because it feels like the official beginning of my adulthood. My 20s were a cluster fuck of still being a teenager through the early parts and a second puberty/finding myself in the later parts. Turning 30 is terrifying because it feels like I’m forced to put my “money where my mouth is” and apply all of the things I’ve learned in the last 10 years.

Despite, the weight of the number I still find myself looking for ways to celebrate. Every day above ground is a gift, but every birthday is an even better one. Age is a privilege even if it feels scary and I will be so thankful to make it to my 30th year. While the little mid-life crisis is on the top of the radar of my mind, I will be experiencing so many positive things in turning 30 too. Getting married being the biggest accomplishment. A happy and healthy relationship to celebrate that I hope sustains me for the rest of my days. When I think about it like that, 30 doesn’t so scary.

My wish is to grow further as a wife (almost there!), daughter, friend, and writer. My passion for learning and growing will never end. With that being said, I am going to challenge myself to a series of 30 prompts to celebrate 30 years. Writing has been taking a front seat on my mind’s list of things to do so I am hoping that by putting myself to the test, it’ll give me a chance to learn and you all a chance to see my writing and see me a little better. Ideally, I would love to self-publish before 31 (speaking that into the universe) so every chance to explore myself I’m going to take head on.

I will be pulling prompts from the collection of books I’ve accumulated over the years and a few websites I’ve found. However, all prompts are welcomed and appreciated. Please feel free to reach out to via Twitter @JMWeberWrites or in the comments below.

Dear Fear,

I have spent the last 20 years consumed by you. You filled my every thought, my every nerve ending, and most importantly my heart. You have given me a sense of safety being the screaming alarm that sounded when I didn’t want to do something or when something felt even the slightest bit out of my general comfort zone. 

Well no more…

Fear, I can longer accept your false sense of security. It’s going to be a hard break up for us. I’ll definitely “text” you late at night in my insomniac states when I miss your safety, I’ll think about you when I feel out of my comfort zone wishing you were here to blanket me in your excuses. The fact of the matter is our relationship just isn’t healthy. It’s far too one sided for me to be a part of any longer. It’s truly you and not me and it’s time that we both accept this fate. I have to move on and now blanket myself in new feelings. Self-confidence, strength in mind and body and ultimately love come to mind as I embark on my new journey into the next chapter of my life. I’ve lived almost three decades on this earth and I will no longer allow myself to revel in the mediocrity of your faux security. Love above all else conquers the toxicity that you bring to me. I will lean into all the love around me. I will choose love for myself, love for my fiancée, and love for the family I was born into and the one I will create. There is no longer a future for us, fear we are done.

All in all, I can’t totally discredit you. You have provided a sense of protection to keep me out of the reality of harm’s way. You have given me a small sense of morals allowing me to establish bits of what I know to be right and wrong, but that’s all I can really thank you for. This is no longer enough to keep you around full time. This is enough to take with me into the next step ahead. I am excited for what’s to come, I am optimistic that I will get to live it to the fullest, and I am realistic in knowing that sometimes I will fail but resilient enough to know that I will never stop trying to be better.

Fear, it’s over. Love, it’s time for the next chapter. Let’s do this!

All of my love,
J.M.W

DARE: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks (Review)

“The only way out is through.” That’s one of the many positive affirmations given to the reader in this book and it’s the one that stuck with me the most. Last year was probably one of the worst of my life professionally. I was in constant conflict with my managers, always having to look over my shoulder in professional settings and my anxiety was at all-time high. I saw a therapist for a little over six months but my insurance was no longer accepted at the facility. I was out of options and too anxious to try and get to know another therapist. That’s when I found DARE by Barry McDonagh. Social Media keeps me in touch with people from all parts of my life and a friend from high school was posting excerpts of the chapters of this book and I knew I had to read it. Everything on his Instagram stories felt like it was talking directly to me. After doing more research, I found out that author and founder of the program DARE, Barry McDonagh also suffered from debilitating anxiety. Knowing this made me feel less alone and less suspicious about opening my mind to his new suggestions. He had applied his program to his own anxiety and it had worked so I took a chance and hoped it would work for my own.

The book introduces something called the Dare Response, which is a new way to view your relationship with your anxiety. The key points of the response are defuse, allow, run toward, and engage. Defuse shows the mind that you are not in any real danger when you take on a blasé approach to anxiety, “Who cares”, “So what” are phrases that the author uses to allow anxiety to take on a smaller form rather than feel unstoppable. By using the act of diffusion, it replaces worry with power of the situation when anxiety makes you feel powerless. Allow is the means of letting the anxiety come as it wants to. Resistance can make anxiety seem bigger than it is. By allowing anxiety to just come and flow naturally through you, it takes away the fear of what could happen or what is happening to you. You have the control of the outcome. A funny line from this step’s section for me was when McDonagh says to sit down your anxiety and invite it in for tea. The visual created in my brain was exactly what I needed to see that I was in control of my anxiety and my anxiety didn’t control me. I was the one calling the shots and deciding what, when and where anxiety can appear. Run towards is the next step. McDonagh suggests that by running toward your anxiety you can change the perspective of it. He explains that fear and excitement are often the same and when the mind readjusts the feeling toward anxiety, it can reduce its power and change the way the brain views anxiety. A negative can quickly become a positive and instead of looking for the “boogeyman” over your shoulder, you can embrace the present world around you. The final step is to engage. Engage in something that takes up your full attention so the anxious feelings can no longer reel you back in. This felt like the most important step because it encouraged me to focus on my life and stay in the present versus stay in my head with the fearful anxiety. Furthermore, the book details ways to apply the response to several different aspects of anxiety such as panic attacks, health anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and fear of being abnormal. Each section details how to apply the response to the situation but also provides thoughtful insight on his experience with the situation or the experiences of others that he helped. I found several different scenarios relatable and have returned back to these chapters for guidance and help.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Self-help books aren’t for everyone but this method got me through a time in my life where I feared there would be no way out. Applying the DARE response to my life allowed me the confidence I needed to take back control of my anxious mind. While I still have issues with health anxiety from time to time, I have since gotten a new job and thanks to the DARE response I am able to contribute my experience with an open mind and heart to my position and have had a very successful three months at my firm because of that. I think any kind of positive outlet can help mental health issues and I would suggest this book to anyone who wants to reach with themselves and learn to navigate ways to better themselves.

Setback happen

Last week disappointed me greatly. I have been trying to stick to a weekly schedule for posting but my mind just went blank. My mood has been all over the place and my muse had nothing to give. However, I’m back this week to explain where my head is and hopefully give a little insight to anyone who has experienced a setback. My current mind state isn’t a total setback but I have definitely felt an unpleasant shift from where I was before. I will get better though.

Just like exercise and healthy habits for the body, the same applies to the mind. Since January, I have been over-the-moon happy professionally. I am learning every day, I am in a positive environment and in turn I am flourishing in my new position. My work life was a main point in my anxiety and mood levels so since that’s been good, I have been slacking on the maintenance that I worked so hard in the months before I was settled into this job. Well, that has to change.

The past two weeks have been up and down for me. One day, I feel okay and the next I find myself plummeting. The anxiety isn’t as prominent as it used to be when I’d hit these speed bumps but the negative mindset is roaring up like an engine at NASCAR race. Knowing my mind, if I leave that alone too long it’s going to trigger every other dark emotion that comes with it; anxiety, self-hatred and just overall terrible behavior. I am a very empathic person and I find myself easily affected by the emotions of others. If the environment that I’m in is blah, it’s very contagious for someone like me. Admittedly, it makes me feel highly vulnerable being such an emotional being because no matter how much logic I’ve tried to apply to situations, it doesn’t always prevent this embarrassing snowball effect.

In situations prior to my therapy sessions and DARE Response application, my symptoms would manifest physically with a vengeance. I would get dizzy, tired faster, and feel lethargic. When I feel any physical symptoms I turn to breathing exercises, lots of water consumption, ice on each of my cheeks, and DARE audio if it’s truly inconsolable. Each of these combined with the DARE Response of taking anxiety head on has allowed me to be in power of my reaction versus my reaction having power over me. I am no longer a prisoner to anxiety but rather have accepted that anxiety is like an old friend that needs a piggy back ride along the way. I am bigger, faster and stronger and am merely allowing it to tag along. “The only way out is through,” A positive affirmation that I picked up from Dare and have turned to a lot for hard times. I’ve learned when you run from something it gets bigger than you but when you face it head on it minimizes like a bully on the playground. For anyone further interested in the DARE response books, I’ll link the amazon page here but I am also going to be reviewing the book and my experience with it further tomorrow.

All in all, it has been a shitty few weeks in my brain but I am doubling down on all the things that keep me focused. I am attempting to sleep earlier, eat a little better, drink as much water as my body will allow and be more consistent on my 5 minute daily journal. Nothing is going to stop me from maintaining a healthy brain, not even myself.


Annual Nostalgia.

St. Patrick’s Day was one of the many holidays that took the face of what tradition means to me. Every year, my mother’s family and ours would share the Americanized meal of corn beef and cabbage with soda bread, and our green “beer”. As a child, all of this felt so regular. It was just something that was supposed to happen. It wasn’t until the tradition was gone that I realized just how special the time was. Since the loss of my Grandparents in 2009 and 2015, every holiday feels a little emptier without them. The further I age, the more I appreciate each memory because it has shaped me into the woman I am today but it also given me guidance for the future family I’ll have someday.

While I’m sad to not have my Grandparents around, I am so very thankful for the foundation they helped build in me as a person. I miss them every day but this year I find that gratitude is overriding the sadness. Without them I wouldn’t have the personal standard set to reignite the tradition into the next generation. With my pending marriage so close, I am looking ahead towards a lot of things in my life. I hope that I am able to have the same traditions and many new ones with my future wife and our children. I want to create a family based on the same amount of unconditional love I had growing up and leave my children with the same gratitude for the fond memories that we’ve made together.

Thank you Gram and Pop, I miss you every day but it’s your example that has given me the hope I need for my future. I hope to make both of you proud in the next chapter of my life. Both my wife-to-be and I have felt your impact and are much better people for it. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all who celebrate. May all family traditions carry on for you and yours through every holiday that passes each year and may your family get to relish in all of their special times together.

What’s Normal?

By definition normal is conforming to a standard; the usual, typical or expected. Normal could also be defined to gage a state of condition. Normal by definition is pretty clear cut when it’s applied in the right way. However, normal in society starts to get these patchy gray areas of falsified perfection which can be problematic for people’s self-esteem and mental health. Society places a lot of pressure on what’s normal and what isn’t. There’s a certain size you’re supposed to be, a certain way you’re supposed to act, a certain standard you’re meant to uphold. In the age of social media, we are setting ourselves up for disaster finding any kind of measuring stick in what we see online. It’s a horrible feeling to scroll past these things and feel like you’re the outcast in the room. Normal is a relative term. Other than the actual written definition, the term normal is what you make it.

In my journey through mental health and life overall, I have found that it’s important to find a normal that works for me and accept it fully. I first discovered the term radical acceptance in therapy and applying this term to self-love has been truly beneficial. Leaning into the positive aspects of my life has been helpful to my process. In my radical acceptance of myself it’s given me a place to feel grounded and no longer distracted by social media, corporate environments or women/men around me. I am now the decision maker for my normal. My normal is curvy, my normal is comfortably dressed, my normal wears little to no makeup, my normal curses like a sailor, and that’s okay because I have finally come to terms that I am enough. Three words have been the gatekeeper to my process of acceptance and fully loving myself. Like everyone else, I have bad days but I hold onto tight to those words and repeat them as many times as I need to, to remember my mission.

I challenge all of you to figure out your normal. What’s it look like? What’s it sound like? What’s it feel like? There is no right or wrong answer to the question, there is just is the radical acceptance that no matter what you come up with, you are enough.

“You are dust and to dust you shall return.” (Ash Wednesday Reflection)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. … For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. “
– John 3:16

Ash Wednesday celebrates the beginning of the Lent season, the season in which Catholics use to as a spiritual clean-up for themselves where they give up vices and spend more time and money in charitable ways. Every year around this time in the Catholic calendar, I am catapulted into deep reflection. I try to get ashes every year and spend at least this day in church but somehow I always find myself incredibly uncomfortable in the surroundings that used to feel like home to me.

I was raised Roman Catholic. I made all of my sacraments with dutiful dedication and love, allowing my moral values to be defined in this faith. I was taught right from wrong with the Ten Commandments and still find the little voice in the back of my mind referencing the ancient scroll in our religious history. So, what do you do when the very foundation of everything you believe in doesn’t believe in you? The Catholic Church has publicly denounced the LGBTQ community saying that the way these people choose to lead their lives is sinful and against God and the idea of two people of the same-sex marrying each other will never happen. While I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who have never projected such hate in my or my relationship’s direction, it still doesn’t make the idea any less unsettling.

For the last decade, the spiritual struggle has been really real. Where do I fit in? Where do I belong? Does my moral values still stand in spite of who I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my time on earth with? I have a lot of painful questions left unanswered. I believe in the kingdom of heaven but the small fear that says I won’t make it is always hovering over my heart. It’s a tough subject for me to speak about but it’s one I struggle with, especially on days like Ash Wednesday. God gave up his only son to free us from sins yet here I am totally defying the rule book set forth. It’s a really huge eternal struggle and something I think I will continue to work through and endure especially with my wedding at the end of the year and ultimately having kids. Ideally, I would love to continue my sacraments into a blessed marriage and eventually pass along my faith to my children. However, with the current ideology it’s going to prove to be a difficult religious journey.

I want to continue to follow this faith blind, I want to continue to feel blessed by God in the ways I was taught he does this. But, I also want to find a comfortable and safe place in religion where my potential family and I can grow as a unit and individuals without scrutiny for the elements that make us a family. I know this isn’t truly mental health based but I also wanted to share my feelings on this topic in hopes that there are some other LGBTQ Catholics or anyone who feels ostracized from their religion that feels the same as I do. Identity is ever changing and sometimes pieces of the puzzle that make you can be really confusing and heartbreaking. Just know that no matter what, you’re not alone.

Therapy on my own terms

Mental Health is a slippery slope to navigate in general. But, when it comes to treatment it gets even trickier. No one case is the same so what works for somebody else may not necessarily work for you and guess what? That’s okay! There are many different positive ways to deal with mental health and no one way is right or wrong.

As a child and teenager, I was always the awkward kid; the bullied, quiet, keep to herself kind of girl. My mother for many years thought therapy was the answer for me to help me deal with issues but each experience ended up crazier than the next. I had guidance counselors who deemed me crazy, I had multiple therapists blame my parents, and I had some dude who could easily be mistaken for the janitor of the building. Each interaction did more harm than good and every time she further suggested it, I found myself more in a reclusive state. I wasn’t ready to talk to a stranger about my problems. I wanted to handle things by keeping myself close to family, friends, and people I trusted. For years, I denounced therapy because each time felt like more of a burden than the issues I was dealing with. Talking to people I trusted was hard enough, talking to a stranger felt impossible.

However as an adult that changed for me. I was working for a job that kept me stressed every day. I was learning but I wasn’t happy. The work culture was toxic and nonproductive and it started to take a drastic toll on my mental health. I could feel the weight of my anxiety for the first time since getting let go from college and I knew if I didn’t do something about it, I was going to be in bigger trouble than just the stress was causing me. I found myself a therapist close to my job and that luckily took my insurance. The fear for the first appointment was intense. What would I talk about? What would she think? Would she tell me I’m crazy? Worse, would she blame my parents like everyone else did? I had a ton of anxiety about the appointment but I pushed myself to try. I was tired of exhausting my venting sessions with my inner circle. I needed an unbiased opinion so therapy was the best option.

The first appointment completed shattered my fears. The woman I saw reassured me that I wasn’t crazy, that everything I was going through was a lot more common than I believed and I would be okay. For a few months, it felt as if I was talking to a friend or an oracle who had a lot more advice to offer and a much bigger ear to lend than most people. I spent six months in therapy before they no longer accepted my insurance. Despite, its untimely end I know I’m better for it. Having the time to talk to a trained professional and obtain tools I didn’t know how to use prior was a great help to me. With the combination of the tools given to me in therapy and the self-help outlets I’ve found, I manage my anxiety a lot better than I ever have.

At the end of the day, I was going to get anywhere without the will to do it. The first step to getting a hold on any situation is actually wanting to. I came to a point in my life where I could no longer be stubborn and blame past bad experiences on why I couldn’t help myself in the now. I took the bull by the horns and did therapy on my own terms and I am much better for it today. You control your recovery entirely. It’s very important to do the positive things you want to do in an effort for a calmer and peaceful life. 

Positive Affirmations (Validating myself)

A large root to the self-esteem issues that I have, I’ve found is looking for validation in others instead of myself. I would seek it at home in my fiancée, in my mother, and in my employment. The need to be validated became almost an obsession for me. I have been a people pleaser since I was a young girl. I have put a large amount of my self-worth into the opinions of others and it’s been the biggest hurdle for me to climb over. The journey to find worth in me hasn’t been consistent but the effort has grown a lot in recent months.

Positive affirmations on paper seem like a bunch of optimistic thought. Initially, it felt as if I was just looking at something and reading it and reflecting on words. Positive quotes while helpful were getting lost on me. It was a brief moment of “Yeah, I get that” or “Yeah, I feel that”, and it was gone. While I still turn to the quotes on Instagram and the positive meme posts, I have found that the best result lived in the positive affirmations I wrote or thought for myself. Society says that it takes 21 days to make a habit. I have been writing and in turn, thinking of positive affirmations about myself for over 31 days. Even when things feel redundant in thought or word, I have pushed myself to write it down. Sometimes the thought and especially the physical manifestation make the difference. The source was not some empty internet post or from a person who’s feelings can change in an instant, the source was me. I became the validator and in turn, no longer have to search for something that can’t always be found in others. The realization and practice of this idea have been life-changing for me.

I control my consciousness of thought about myself and my choices in life. I have a lot to be proud of and grateful for. While I am still happy to hear the approval from key sources it is no longer the sole source that drives me. I’m not going to stand on some soap box and pretend to be healed. I have bad days just like everybody else. However, it is a hell of a lot easier now to get back onto the saddle and try again knowing and feeling better about myself from my perspective instead of someone else’s. I am now the validator and the source of good thoughts for my being. I am now the driving force to my own feelings. Positive affirmations may not work for everybody but I’m really glad that they worked for me.

Opposites Attract (Not without a challenge): A Journey into Love Languages

In almost every way my fiancée and I were different when it came to how we’re mentally and emotionally built. I was upfront with emotions especially in regards to her, family and friends and she was reserved. I was eager to communicate to solve problems and find compromise and she tended to bottle her feelings or ignored them until she exploded. In the early years of our relationship, we often fought about how our relationship should work. Admittedly, I came into my relationship with immature ideas. I was still stuck on the puppy dog phase of love where I wanted to spend every waking second with her in person or over the phone and she relished in her alone time.

Years ago when I was ranting to my friend at work about a fight my fiancée and I had and she told me about the idea of love languages. Being young and foolish, I didn’t put much thought into it. The hard way isn’t always the best way but it was the road I was on. But, with time came wisdom and desire to grow. What really put us to the test was my being unemployed. It was one of the bigger tests in our relationship. We were living together, sharing finances and terrified that things wouldn’t get back on track. Tense situations like unemployment can either make or break a person and I chose to benefit from it. Money makes every couple edgy and we were no different. However, instead of pointing fingers and worsening the situation I chose to really think about what we both needed in terms of the foundation of our relationship: our love for ourselves and each other. I revisited the love languages model and started to apply some of what I was reading to my everyday behavior.

Further research on the basic understanding of the love languages was needed and I came across The Five Love Languages by Larry Chapman. With a very generic internet understanding of the book, I was able to get further detail on each language. Chapman’s explains the five languages in great detail. His version of the Love Languages presents five languages: Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Affirmations and Receiving Gifts. Instead of having just one love language Chapman explains that each of us has a primary and a second love language to fulfill our figurative love tanks of emotion needed to thrive. Makes sense that you need to feel love and love yourself to fuel your relationship. He also details experiences of uses of these languages with his name protected patients and how they applied them to their own relationships.

After reading the book, I was able to pick out her love languages rather easy after applying my knowledge of her past and my knowledge of what made her happiest in the present day. Without going into too much detail about her past or our present together, I concluded that she fell under the languages of Acts of Service and Quality Time. Once the conclusion was reached I started to apply them accordingly. I began to do things without her asking, I began to put my phone away (more often, because I’m not going to pretend to be perfect) when we were spending together. I began to thoroughly pay attention to our interactions and saw a noticeable difference in how we operated. Fights were far and few and communication was at an all-time high, an accomplishment indeed! With a lot of trial and error, I’d like to think that we’ve found some sort of clarity on how we need to be loved and how we need to love each other.

I’m not saying by any means this is a cure-all to anything. Sometimes love just isn’t enough. Also, you don’t necessarily have to be in trouble to enjoy a little light reading on the betterment of your relationship. To me, it’s interesting to find the little blanks you might miss in your relationship because ego and self-interest get in the way. I definitely recommend it.

Truth be told (Self-care Post)

I’m pooped. This week has successfully kicked the living shit out of me and I’ve reached my usual posting days and I’ve drawn a huge blank. Working, living, and planning a wedding I knew would from time to time would not be conducive for a muse for writing but I don’t want to give up. This page is centered on the different aspects of my life, my mental health journey and how I choose to handle it so I decided to go with the truth. Truth be told, I am pooped. This week has been long and busy and self-care is needed.

My self-care began Wednesday when I got home to my fiancée and I was able to vent, eat a big thing of my favorite soup and watch our Wednesday shows. Self-care isn’t just one routine for me. It’s a process that is situational. Sometimes I want to be alone and watch wrestling, sometimes I want to call my best friend in Boston and just check in. No relief to a stressful time looks the same.

I invite you to let me know what your self-care routine looks like. I also encourage you to make sure that something resembling self-care is being done. Too often we got wrapped in our daily lives and put ourselves on the back burners. We cannot be useful in any situation unless we have a ‘full tank of gas’ mentally and physically to do so. People forget to sleep, eat or just rest in general. Life is full on going rhythms sometimes the need to stop is more paramount than the need to continue.

I hope to return to full swing next week because I am enjoying this two-day posting schedule. Despite, not making an official commitment to anything I am making an unofficial commitment to myself. I’ve attached an article from Psych Central in regards to this topic. I realize I’m not a licensed anything to be preaching so in efforts to fact check myself and ensure credibility stays pertinent, have a look!
https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-clinicians-practice-self-care-9-tips-for-readers/



Just a regular girl livin’ in a corporate world

I began my full-time work life in August 2010. College didn’t work out for me so I took a job as a receptionist in an allergist’s office in Midtown, Manhattan. Younger me was excited for her first taste of real money, independence, and a new venture. After 15 years in school and living to impress my parents and teachers, I was finally able to get a taste of what it would be like to impress myself. I had zero ideas that I was about to embark on one of the most character building journeys of my life.

I have never fit into the standard description of what society paints a female. I am not dainty, I am not delicate, and I definitely have no clue about fashion. I have self-proclaimed “resting bitch face” so working as a receptionist felt impossible. I quickly realized that the standards for the working woman were higher than I could have ever anticipated. I came to the table with a solid education, an ability to pay attention and quickly learn, and a small amount of people skills. This felt like enough of a starting point but it wasn’t. As a woman in the workplace, you are required to smile, required to dress the part, required to act the part. The world has a laundry list of standards it expects you to abide by and I was in over my head. I began looking for validation once again only this time in my bosses and colleagues. I started drowning in the sea of standards once again.

My anxiety grew in a professional setting. I started to develop deeply rooted insecurities. An array of questions flashed through my mind every day. Am I pretty enough? Do I smile enough? Am I smart enough? Despite, how inappropriate the scenario, I’ve had a boss flat out tell me that she does not like me as a reason to let me go. I began to live in a cloud of second guessing myself which made working in general hard. It’s been an uphill battle of wondering if I’m enough. After six jobs, I finally started to realize that I wasn’t going to find it in the position or the authority over me, but rather in me and the set of standards I would set for myself.

While I don’t fully agree with the set of standards women in working environments need to uphold, I do understand them and try to abide by them. However all standards aside I’ve learned that you cannot find the value in anyone’s opinion of your depiction of said standards, you have to set them yourself. I’ve had a messy journey navigating what’s right and what’s not right for me in a professional setting. I have seen, heard, and felt anxiety and nerves in the last 10 years but I am happy to say I’m better for it now. Every critique, constructive or not has shaped me. I am forever a work in progress but the lessons learned have allowed me to shape my own standards and not live for anyone else’s. You spend a large portion of your day at work so it should be an environment where you can flourish and learn.

Ultimately, you have to make your own decisions in every aspect of your life. You have to decide what works and what doesn’t and make the necessary changes for success. Jobs are not permanent. They can be changed, careers can be rerouted but self-love is forever. 

The Five Minute Journal

Journaling has been an activity that has come and gone for me. Either I judge myself too hard with what I’m writing or I lose track of time and never actually dedicate myself. However, the act itself is a huge “mind-dump” for me allowing to vent in a constructive and private way. I attempted to stay consistent with the Morning Pages method while I was unemployed but once a job came to light it was hard to sit and dedicate time to three pages a day. While it was therapeutic and helpful during those hard times, I found it hard to stay committed. I was really disappointed because I started to see such a huge difference in my thought process after giving myself the opportunity to decompress.

After I was unable to go to my therapist when she no longer accepted my coverage this summer, I searched every inch of the internet, books, and any other creative outlet for any kind of self-help. YouTube has become a staple in our house so instead of watching mind-numbing videos, I chose to look toward something more helpful. I found a YouTube called the BigNoKnow. Noah who is the creator of the channel spoke very candidly about his own mental health journey which was a great comfort. A productive binge watch at last! Noah spoke about this app he uses daily called the Five Minute Journal. He uses it daily to write down things he’s grateful for and daily affirmations. I was intrigued by the concept because I love to journal and I also noticed a lot of my journaling was mostly the “mind-dump” and less positivity whereas the app was all about positivity.

While I am not consistently daily, I am a hell of a lot more consistent then I would be with the daunting three pages. It’s a thoughtful yet thoughtless process every morning and every night. It takes a small amount of time per day to take a deep breath and reflect. Sometimes it can turn a bad morning where I’m groggy and sluggish into a hopeful one or a bad day into a calm night. For me, it has all been about resetting my perspective. It’s so easy to get lost in the negativity of daily life adding the extra weight to my already heavy mind. This app has allowed me the freedom to release the heavy feeling in simple, short constructive ways. I highly recommend it for the busy professional who wants to help maintain their mental health. 

The 2018 Annual Attitude of Gratitude: Bloggers Flood The Internet with Positivity!

I almost missed this! Thank you to Dawn from Tales from the Motherland for the January 31st extension. The end of the year brought a ton of chaos for me. I was let go from my job of 4 years. It was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing for fresh perspective but a curse for the financial worry that came with the loss. 4 years was gone in an instant, igniting every job related insecurity I’ve had bottled up. October to December brought two months of soul searching, bad temp jobs, and finally a new job to settle into. January has been the light at the end of the tunnel so I am happy to be able to share positivity with the blogosphere. Please visit Tales from the Motherland to have a look at Dawn’s entry in this beautiful movement and use the instructions in her entry to write your own. Without further ado, please enjoy my list.

  1. Family – they are the foundation for everything.
  2. Routine.
  3. My dog.
  4. A clean house. Marie Kondo isn’t lying, clutter makes you crazy but maybe you don’t have to thank your things.
  5. Clean water to drink, shower, and cook with.
  6. A warm bed filled with love and comfort.
  7. FaceTime/Snapchat/FB to keep in touch with my parents and family out of state.
  8. My fiancée.
  9. My education – for success and for expression.
  10. A job that appreciates and wants to invest in me.
  11. My cell phone.
  12. Coffee.
  13. Take-out.
  14. A good sale at Old Navy.
  15. Professional Wrestling.
  16. Nerd culture.
  17. Comic-Cons and soon to be Wrestle-Cons.
  18. Friends, both digital and lifelong.
  19. My imagination.
  20. My DVR.
  21. A steady TV program line up that I love.
  22. Autobiographies.
  23. Time well spent in good company or alone.
  24. Public transportation.
  25. My anxiety – It’s a weird perspective but it’s brought a lot of positivity to light and forced me to highlight the /good/ in everything.
  26. Being able to legally marry the love of my life.
  27. Cheap rent.
  28. All the self-help outlets I found this year.
  29. Being able to explore downtown Manhattan.
  30. Video games with good stories.
  31. My Fitbit versa forcing me to walk more.
  32. Having my parents’ home in Pennsylvania to escape to.
  33. My growing knowledge of technology.
  34. Good people to learn from.
  35. A roof over my head to shield me from the elements and keep me out of danger.
  36. My childhood on 61st.
  37. Working in retail this year and remembering the perks of making friends.
  38. Twitter.
  39. Instagram.
  40. Freedom of speech and expression – it’s a gift, believe it or not.
  41. The ability to freely think and the encouragement to do so.
  42. The news.
  43. The DARE book.
  44. The places I’ve traveled to.
  45. The places I will travel to.
  46. Boston Gay Pride every year.
  47. A good relationship with my mother.
  48. Sweet and savory foods, can’t choose one.
  49. My struggles.
  50. Being able to make this within the deadline and join a very talented group of bloggers.

This is the first year I’ve made 50 within the 15 minute timer so I’m very proud of that. Shutting myself up and keeping it simple has always been a struggle but I’m glad I did!

Starting over (Again)

My writing has been a never ending journey of stops and starts. Some months, I’m full of muse and ready to share my vision and myself with the world. Whereas other months, I am drowned in the voices of opinions, the crushing stress of navigating adult life, and general life happenings that make it feel impossible to carry out this passion I love on such a precise schedule. I have started over many times, so I am not going to sit and promise consistency any longer. However, I will promise quality over quantity in my posts and hope that my vision is put forth honestly and sincerely. Just like anything else in life, my writing is ever changing. Topics, style, and most of all purpose have evolved since 2014 when I embarked on this blogging journey.

Tales from the Anxiety Ridden began as a coping mechanism. My parents retiring and leaving New York City was a hard transition. I was scared, angry and confused about not seeing them daily and being on my own for the first time. I have always thrived on routine so being thrusted into this new world was hard. Change is hard for anybody but with somebody with anxiety like mine, it felt impossible.  Anxiety has always been something I struggled with but this felt like a hurdle I couldn’t jump over. Writing has always been my easiest form of expression so I created this blog space in hopes that sharing my feelings with like minds and reading others struggles would help me feel not so alone.

Fast forward to 2019, I am a few months shy of my wedding, I was fired from a job that I hated but found a job I could really see myself in long term. Anxiety is bearable (thanks to a lot of soul searching and research) and I feel like a person who could manage day-to-day life. While I feel “healed”, I am not naïve to the fact that it could all change on the flip of a dime. However, I am going to spend every second given to me celebrating any small victories that come my way. The intention of this forum is no longer singular to the betterment of myself. For me, it is important to “pay-it-forward” in a society that can be so self-driven. I hope to share my story as it continues growing and thriving and be able to help others along the way.

I’m here starting over again, but I’m optimistic that setting a purpose and a goal will provide the quality of content I’ve always wanted to produce rather than the quantity of content that feels appropriate. Welcome to Tales from the Anxiety Ridden, almost 30 years of experience in navigating my own mind, swimming in my own gene pool of mental health short comings but I am more than that. This is my story and I cannot wait to hear yours.