Freewrite

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.

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.

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.