Flashback

Hi, and happy belated mothers day to all you mommies out there. Today, I wanted to write more of an anecdote style post about memories that recently came into my mind (that I don’t want to forget). 

As you know from my previous post, my husband and I have been in the hunt for a home. There is 1 in particular that really caught our eyes. Well fast forward, we were discussing how beautiful the yard was and the endless gardening possibilities. He asked me if I’ve ever gardened before and I was instantly hit with a flash back, one that I forgot existed. Growing up, my mom was super handy around the house. Whether it was installing a ceiling fan (by herself mind you), or doing lawn work, she was all in. You know when you buy new items for house that you have to assemble yourself with tools and million pieces? I don’t remember her ever getting frustrated or handing it off to my dad to do. She did it, always. I admired it back then but even more so now. I can remember being a young girl, and her calling me and my sister outside to help her garden. She’d give us tasks fittingly – dig a hole here, press down the soil there, etc. As we’d dig, we would come across worms in the soil. “Eeeww I don’t want to do this”, we’d whine. But she’d have us fling them away and continue. Once the holes were a decent size, she’d put the flowers, seeds, whatever in, and have us put soil back on top patting it down. We’d water them and step into the distance to admire our work. In those moments, you have no idea how meaningful those memories will one day become. 

My mom loved to sing. Any time an indian song comes on while I’m driving, it takes me back to those years of sitting in the back seat, getting annoyed because we couldn’t listen to Britney Spears. Every time she’d cook (pretty much every day), she’d sing. Well either sing or yell at us for not helping. I never realized it at the time but I guess we come from a family of music lovers. My dad installed speakers throughout the house, so no matter what room you were in, you’d hear indian prayer songs blaring. It wasn’t an every day occurrence – he saved it for Sunday mornings while they did projects around the house. When all we wanted to do was to sleep, our parents had other plans (musically wake us up). This past Sunday, I caught myself doing the same thing and I realized how habitual it has become for me. On the weekends when I’m doing housework, I always blast indian music and sing along. I don’t know why it took me so long to connect that to my past, but I’m so glad I did.

One mother’s day, the last we shared with our mom, we gave her a simply made photo album. It was pink with quotes throughout. We scoured photos and taped them on the pages hoping it would be perfect for her. After she passed away, while we were going through her belongings, we found that album. Inside, she had written the date and a simple but touching note – ‘I’m so proud of my daughters’. To this day, I reread it, and the fact that it’s in her handwriting makes it that much more special.

It’s not about the gifts or how extravagant occasions are – if it comes from the heart, it’s enough; more than enough – it’s everything. And you have absolutely no idea what an impact you have on a person if you don’t open up and express yourself. Not every situation is ideal. Like every family, we have had our bad times, but those haven’t dimmed the light on the good times. Because once those good times are gone, you mostly forget about the bad times – either that or you use them as a tool to help you in other parts of your life. This is just my experience, so please know that I sympathize with those who do not feel the same or have not had the same experiences. I can only speak from my personal truth. My goal of this post besides sharing what is so dear to me, is to also give light to expression and how awareness and speaking from your heart can make a huge difference even if it’s just for a moment. 

Sincerely,

Love.

PinkHearts: Control

Do not, and I repeat, do not, allow someone else to have control over you. This is an incredibly broad statement but personally hits home with me. It is much easier said than done, I understand. Our outside circumstances should not dictate who we are – yes, they will mold us; they will challenge us, but they should not take away our sunshine. At work, I had someone tell me about how happy I always look – how no matter how much of a workload we have, I’m always smiling. Normally I just shrug my shoulders and smile, but recently I felt the need to explain (not like I need to defend my attitude but it was important to me to discuss it with this certain individual). To give you a brief background – she is a dear colleague whose had some very trying times as of late. In fact, the parts of her life she has shared with me had me in tears. She can’t hide her emotions and often numbs herself from dealing with them. She then sees me who, as difficult as it is sometimes, I’m smiling, often times laughing, and almost always sees the silver lining at least in the workplace. After the holidays, when we were catching up, she made a comment to me – She said “You are always so happy. I wish I had your life”. Now, normally this is a compliment but because I know her on a deeper level, it saddened me in a sense. Your life is what you make of it. So in response I said “Well, look, I was lucky enough woke up this morning. Because I know what bad days look like, I will smile as much as I can on days I’m feeling okay.” Because like everyone, I have my own personal struggles. I know the anxious thoughts that control my mind, and on days my anxiety is nearly nonexistent, I cherish even more. The following day, that same coworker came to me and expressed gratitude. Apparently, I had hit a nerve with her and it really moved her.

We are more than what we show. Unless you know me, really know me on a deeper level, you are unaware of my feelings and vise versa. Who are we to judge one another? It is often times not easy – rumors fuel people. It’s often a knee jerk reaction to spread gossip without having any facts to solidify them. I’m tired of allowing others control who I am on the inside.

Just recently, I had a couple instances of the rumor mill coming back to me. Here we are, living our lives, dealing with every day highs and lows, setting new goals for the year, fill in the blank, until bam. “Hey, so and so said this.. Is that true?” It’s not the source – I’m blessed to have caring people who bring the questions directly to me. I respect and love that in fact. But to know that people whether it be strangers or “family” are continually spreading false rumors hurts my heart. In this particular instance, I know the person directly. To think that people can be that inconsiderate and plain mean breaks me. Who are we but the words we speak and the actions we show? How about supporting one another instead of tearing others down? I was upset, enough where I wanted to call them and confront the situation. But wait, that is not who you are. Don’t do it. I was not going to let someone dictate my actions and change who I know I am. Instead, I shriveled in tears disheartened by it more than anything. How can people be so insensitive? And then I stopped. After self analysis and conversations, I realized something. I’m still me – I know who I am and I will continue living true to that.

This is not easy, but it’s necessary. I can already foresee that it will challenge me this year but maybe this new outlook can change it. Stay with me for a moment; Think of a quote you like to live by. Now, that quote is just words unless you utilize them. For example, “this too shall pass”- when going through a tough time, remind yourself of this and train yourself to snap out of it and not let it bog you down. We are not going to grow as people if we don’t make changes within ourselves. If I always stick to my natural reaction to situations, how am I going to see progress?

It’s challenging but required, and boy is it a long, enduring process; a winding road with hills and valleys which I’m randomly reminded of. We cannot control others but only ourselves. Stop giving others power and be confident that you are living your best. “Don’t let anyone steal your joy.”

PinkHearts: Inside Out

Hi there! Guess who’s back! Now let’s not waste any time and jump right into it. I’ve spoken about anxiety before, and I’ve even shared my all time favorite podcast that may help you manage your anxiety, but I’ve never really discussed different tactics you could use to calm your anxious thoughts down. So I thought, why not today. Note: I’m not licensed nor do I have any educational background on this topic. These tips have helped me which have in turn inspired me to share them with you.

  1.  Remove yourself from the anxiety causing environment.  This is so much easier said than done, and I understand that it’s not always possible. But if you can, do it. Say for example you work in a job where day in and day out, you are filled with anxiety, it might be time for a change. In recent times, I was working in an office with 2 other colleagues who belittled me, criticized often, and gossiped nearly every day. It was so toxic, and the mind games began eating away at my self confidence. One minute they were professional, the next minute they were mean girls from high school. Simply sitting at my desk doing work gave me heart palpitations, and I constantly worried about the petty issues. I would listen to the anxiety podcast (see previous post), during work just to take my mind off of the office drama. Enough was enough, and I had to make a change. Since then, it has been a 180 degree change. I feel so much better with little to no anxiety symptoms, and it’s incredible how much of a positive change leaving that job has been.
  2. Get up and get going. I, like many people, have days where I lack inspiration or motivation. It leaves me feeling lethargic and like a lump on a log, until I snap back to reality. Get up and get going. Do something, anything, that makes you feel like you conquered a goal. List making is a great way to feel like you’ve completed more. Ahh, the feeling of checking off a to-do on your list will make you feel like you are one step closer to success. Don’t let a bad day cycle into a bad week, month, or year. You have today, so make the most of it. In fact, stop right now and grab a paper and pen. Make a list; whether it’s a to-do list or a list of what you love about yourself, write it down. It’s a great visual tool to remind yourself of how awesome you really are regardless of
  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself. We all have flaws; some people are just better at hiding them than others. Our flaws make us unique. What you may dislike about yourself might be what someone else admires about you. View yourself through a lens that’s honest (so you can improve), but rosy. Every day is a new day to be better and do better. Often times, we are our biggest critics. That constant negative opinion about yourself will only sink you deeper into feeling like your worst self. You will make mistakes, and that’s okay. Shake it off and move on. Stop overthinking. What’s done is done, but you still have today to try harder and be better.

Give it a go and see if the above tips help you. It may take days or months, but one thing’s for sure, you have today to be who you want to be. Be your own inspiration.

beautiful

 

Sincerely, Love.

Listen to this.

Welcome back!

A few months ago, a colleague of mine had an unexpected death in her family. After talking to her and discovering that her feelings of grief were truly affecting her every day, we realized that both of us deal with our own levels of anxiety. Well after weeks of discussing these issues with her, she introduced me to an amazing, uh-maze-ing, resource to help you cope.

The Anxiety Coaches Podcast – You can google it and go straight to their website, or download the podcast for free through itunes. It has truly been a life changer. The hosts of the podcast are 2 former ‘anxiety sufferers’ who have overcome it through therapy, etc. They really shine light on many issues that most people face, but never really talk about. Every time I listen to their podcast, I’m left with so much more knowledge and different perspectives that really hit home.

Trust me when I tell you this, it doesn’t hurt to give this podcast a try. It’s totally free, easy to access, and informative. Even if you don’t feel anxiety, it’s filled with so much information that can uplift you. The hosts are honest and passionate about this issue, and they are constantly talking openly about their own specific hardships.

It would be unfair of me to not share such an incredible podcast. This is the first, and only podcast I’ve ever listened to, and I’ve been hooked since day 1. Give it a go. I would love to hear your feedback.

Sincerely,

Love.

 

Anxiety Speaks.

Hello there!

I don’t know if I’ve ever openly ‘announced’ this but I suffer from anxiety. I hate labels, or judgments, or being boxed into a category. And I never want to undermine the issues that others deal with. Since there are different levels of anxiety, it’s hard to assimilate with all of the symptoms of anxiety. All I know is my own personal journey and feelings of self doubt. It’s so often unspoken about because of the illusion that it’s a sign of weakness. It’s not, and I’m sure many of you deal with your own level of anxiety as well.

This past week was a bit rough, and for no particular reason. All I know is that the feeling of uneasiness and worry kept popping up in my inner thoughts. Our thoughts essentially dictate the way we feel and how we react to situations. When our mind is clouded with unnecessary worry, it’s absolutely pointless and debilitating, yet powerful. DON’T GIVE IT THAT POWER.

I’m a deep thinker. I can’t help it. So often, I wish I could be more laid back and have more of a ‘go with the flow’ mind set, and stop being to tightly wound. In some aspects, I am like that i.e. social situations. But when I’m alone with my thoughts, I begin to worry and over-analyze. I think about the past, and worry about the future. But for what? The past is already gone, and the future is in God’s hands so what there’s to worry about? Lucky for me, I have an incredibly supportive husband who listens to my issues and reminds me of these things.

Regardless, this past week reminded me that anxiety isn’t a one stop shop. There isn’t a necessary cause and effect that occurs, or some traumatic event that brings it to life. It is a mysterious, invisible enemy that gives you unneeded stress. Recognizing it and coping with those feelings is what makes you the boss of your own thoughts. With so many resources available, it’s important to do your research and find what works for you. I will be recommending an incredible resources in another blog post soon.

Until then, remember to breathe, take it slow, and enjoy the present. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

 

Sincerely,

Love.

Is it really over or is it just beginning?

Hi and welcome! I know, I haven’t posted in so long – I can think of a million excuses but let’s skip that part and get right to it!

I wanted to share a quick realization life taught me recently. In the building my husband and I live in, we had an elderly man living in the unit above us. He’s been in this building for about 15 years. We no nothing about his personal life – our only encounter with him was in the common areas. Our exchanges were always friendly; when the Chicago snow created havoc with driving, my husband even gave him a ride once since his car was stuck. Anywoo, as I mentioned, it’s always been pleasant. We would hear him almost every night moving furniture? or making noise in the middle of the night. Because we very understanding, it was never an issue.

Our landlord recently asked us if we had seen him lately. Hmm, I thought. No it was atleast 2 weeks since we saw him last. Then we got to thinking – his car had been parked in the same spot for days now, there hasn’t been any noise coming from upstairs. Strange. The landlord also mentioned that she was getting worried because he had diabetes and had a health scare a few years ago.

We thought about it for hours. What should we do? Should we call the authorities and they can handle it? What if he’s simply away on a trip or visiting family? We don’t want to create any problems for him. Since we know nothing about him, we didn’t know what to do.

This morning, we were awoken from noise from upstairs. Oh good, we thought. He’s back. Since our bedroom window faces the street, we peeked outside, and saw police and a forensics team. Upon leaving our unit, there was a powerful scent throughout the whole building. All of his windows were open for ventilation. That was it.

He’s gone now. And even though we were simply neighbors, it saddens me. Life really is that short. It makes me sick to think that he had nobody that checked on him. Now, I’m no one to jump to conclusions. Perhaps he didn’t have children or a wife. Who knows. But to think, boom. Life is over. It’s sad but beautiful at the same time. I wonder what his story was – his life, his dreams, and goals. What was his biggest accomplishment? What made him happy? What saddened him?

EMBRACE EVERYONE. Love and learn about others. Our own thoughts and feelings will be even more powerful when they grow from those around us.

Sincerely, Love.

PinkHearts: Age ain’t nothin’ but a number!

Hello beautiful!

With my birthday just around the corner, I thought it’d be the perfect time to reflect on my (almost) 28 years on earth. Turning 28 feels so much different than turning 21 for example. Most people cringe at the realization that they are getting older but for me it’s quite the opposite.

I’m a long way from being the person I would ideally love to be, but I definitely feel a sense of self. In my early twenties, I questioned myself ALOT – spiritually, emotionally, etc. I second guessed so many decisions no matter how big or small. I rarely felt good enough and my flaws overtook my accomplishments. I kept a smile on my face and made it a point to be positive, but internally, I didn’t quite know who I was. Now don’t get me wrong – I still have my moments of uneasiness or self doubt, but I’m becoming more in tune with what I believe. I’m learning to accept my flaws because I know acknowledging them is the first step in ‘fixing’ them.

I’m learning that the beauty of life is that we are constantly changing and it’s okay to not have all the answers all the time. You are going to make mistakes – without them, growth is nearly impossible. I’m learning that everyone has their good and bad traits, and that’s the beauty of humans. We strive for perfection but ultimately accept that it’s just not possible. To be perfect essentially means there are no flaws, but what will we work towards then?

I’m slowly becoming more proud at the person I am today. And it’s not that I was never content before or that I disliked myself- it’s just that I didn’t have a definite answer to who I was. The fear of the unknown took away the joys of the present. I analyzed situations too much, and beat myself up over mistakes I made. The opinions of others and/or gossip made me question myself more than I’m proud to admit. I am who I am, flaws included. Embrace yourself because there is NO ONE else in the world like you. The older I get, the more I realize that letting go is an important piece to happiness. What’s done is done. Stop beating yourself up over small hiccups along the way. Look at the big picture and recognize how petty small trials can really be. Is it worth your happiness today?

I’m a work in progress, but with every new white hair that appears on my head as I get older, my sense of self is heightened. I still struggle internally just like most people but I’m learning and growing along the way. Instead of focusing on burdens, I’m trying my best to acknowledge and appreciate blessings. 

I’m not perfect, and I’m beginning to love it.

fly

Sincerely, Love.