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.