New Campaign & Book Updates!

As always, from my silence comes much inspiration. I’m up to 23K words written for the sequel of Insane Roots (so about 1/2 way there). I was hoping for a release date sometime this fall and I believe that should still be the case, it just may be late fall 🤗

The process of writing this time around has been like stepping back in time, standing like a wallflower in the shadows of my former life. My journal has been a helpful tool in recapping the events of my youth, although hard to read at times. If you wade through the sadness and teenage angst, there is a timeline of crucial information. As with the first book, reliving the bullying and heartbreak of those years has been a therapy session all in itself.

One that has inspired me to dedicate the month of August to #mentalhealthawareness

Highlighting specifically that it is okay not to be okay sometimes. Something I wish someone would have told me during those trying years of high school and beyond. I spent so much energy back then hiding the way I was feeling and the depression and anxiety I battled on a daily basis. I tried to be someone I wasn’t, to fit in, to be “normal”.

Looking back, all I was doing by hiding inside myself was hindering the person I was to become. The person I am proud to be today. The ability to experience a variety of emotions at any given time is the gift of being human although at times it may feel like a curse.

To all those who were cruel to me in the past, I hold no malice nor wish them any ill will. They may be the reason I found it so hard to trust anyone for so long, but now that I am grown, I realize their actions were merely a reflection of emotions they themselves were struggling to deal with. We were all doing the best with could with our level of understanding of the world at that time.

Forgiveness is freeing and it allows us the ability to understand our adversaries from a common ground; being an emotional being.

We are over halfway through 2020 and it has not been easy, but if we are able to find a way to connect on some level of existence, surely we will be moving in the right direction towards unity rather than division.

One thing in life that I believe rings true for everyone is the inevitable truth that there are times in our lives when we are not at the top of our game. For whatever reason, we are not okay.

This August, I would like to remind you that it’s okay, not to be okay.

In fact, it is a healthy and natural part of being human.

Here and across my social media accounts, I shall dedicate each day to some form of not being okay and why that in itself is okay.

The takeaway, I hope, will be the understanding that although division in thought is inevitable, there will always be unity in emotion.

May it be a stepping stone to peace.  

It’s Okay to Feel Anxious

Day Eleven: It’s okay to feel anxious.

Did you know that people who suffer from anxiety tend to also be highly intelligent? Mentally & emotionally.

I know reading that put a little hop in my step!

For a very long time, I thought of my anxiety as a sort of disability, but it is quite the contrary.

Folks with high anxiety, whether they realize it or not, are always on the alert for possibilities where things could go wrong, because of this, they make excellent critical thinkers and researchers.

I have an extremely active imagination. Which is a blessing and a curse sometimes. You wouldn’t believe some of the what if scenarios I’ve come up with in my mind. I have this tendency to worry over things that have not and may not even happen!

Through the process of learning more about myself and my anxiety, I have gained a much greater understanding of both.

My anxiety is rooted in self preservation and a bit of fear, as it is for most people. The difference I think for me is that much of it is the result of learned behavior from when I was a child.

For those of you following along, you know that my mother was on the run from the law most of my life…okay all of my life! So when I was little, my mother’s anxiety determined where and what we would be doing at any given time and thus, I was taught to always be looking over my shoulder, never to trust anyone, and to always have an exit strategy.

Writing my first memoir allowed me to see patterns in not only my behavior, but my mother’s as well and it has given me a much greater understanding of both.

Our entire life was built around what if and as a result, feeling anxious became common place for me. It wouldn’t be until much later that I would begin trying to let go of that way of thinking.

I no longer look at my anxiety as an impairment, but rather a clarifying tool for achieving balance in my life. When I’m feeling anxious, it is a cue for me to take a moment to reevaluate the situation and my reaction to it.

As a result, my anxiety (in most cases) turns to motivation rather than discomfort. To find what is out of balance and take the actions necessary to correct it. There is where that critical thinking comes in!

So the next time you are feeling anxious, don’t be afraid of it, dissect it. Search for the root of it and do your best to discover what it is trying to tell you. There is nothing wrong with you in that moment, you are just out of balance and that can always be corrected by going deeper into yourself.

You are an emotional being and that is a blessing. Let those emotions be your guidance, not your downfall.

Be well 🙂

It’s Okay to be Sad

Day Ten: It’s okay to be sad

Yes, sadness does fall in the category of negative emotions, but without negative emotions we would have no basis for the positive ones.

I am a very positive person, most of the time, but it is because I thrive to be that way. I certainly wasn’t born that way. Friends of mine have jokingly referred to me as Positiffany, and laugh at the nauseatingly positive spin I put on things sometimes!

Hey, there could be worse traits to have!

And what is truly amazing about it, is that although I may seem that way to those around me, many times I am fighting my way to that place on the inside.

I have battled with anxiety and depression since I was very young and thus have been blessed with the knowledge of the contrast between positive and negative emotions.

I treasure moments of joy and bliss, because I’ve experienced their extreme opposites. I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom and therefore I value even the mediocre days just a little bit more than I think I would without those experiences.

It is perfectly normal to drop a few tears in your cheerios from time to time. After all, not every day is going to be a good day, but wouldn’t it be better to have those bad days every now and then to ensure you are fully appreciating the days that truly sparkle?

It is perfectly normal to feel sad, it means you are human, but it doesn’t have to be who you are. It is just an emotion, meant to be experienced and let go. Don’t be so hard on yourself about feeling sad, work through it and reach for those better feeling days that are sure to come.

“Boredom, anger, sadness, or fear are not ‘yours,’ not personal. They are conditions of the human mind. They come and go. Nothing that comes and goes is you.” – Eckhart Tolle

It’s Okay to Change Your Mind

Day Nine: It’s okay to change your mind.

I’ll keep it short and simple today. As you grow, change is inevitable.

The things you like to do, the people you like to be around, they all change over time and there is no guilt in that.

As long as you are staying true to yourself, there is no shame in changing your mind.

It’s Okay to be Lonely

Day Eight: It’s okay to be lonely

There seems to be this stigma attached to admitting we are lonely, as if it means we are needy or have trouble making friends. When in all actuality, it is perfectly healthy to feel that way.

Loneliness is not a personality flaw and it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. As with all of our emotions, it’s our body’s way of telling us something. In this case, it is rooted in the deep human need for connection.

When you think of it that way, it is no longer a weakness, but a warning sign. So take a moment to feel it, cry even if you need to and then reach for social interaction.

A lot of times, grief will take the form of loneliness. If you have experienced great loss, it is only natural to feel as though something is missing from your life, as though a piece of you is gone. Again, don’t be afraid to feel it, just don’t set up shop in a tent of your own misery.

In situations such as these, you have two choices: Use it as a crutch by keeping it as a chip on your shoulder; evidence of the bad hand you’ve been dealt – OR – heal your wounds, wear your scars proudly and keep going.

I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will make you stronger and more resilient. And you don’t have to do it alone. In these moments of loneliness, maybe your need for interaction is your body telling you to reach out for some assistance in moving on.

You don’t have to do it alone.

National Helpline

It’s Okay to do Nothing

Day Seven: It’s okay to do nothing.

I mean this in two ways. The first is obvious, meaning that it is okay if you just need a day or a moment to do nothing, to be present. There is great power in the now.

For me, many times those moments have led to life-changing reflections that rightfully changed my path. That is one of the many benefits of meditation. I don’t know about you, but there are a million thoughts racing around my mind at any given time. Quieting the mind allows me to filter through the noise and just be content with what is.

Whether you are living the life you want or not, the first step in changing it is accepting it for what it is.

By doing so, we become better able to see the patterns in our behavior that we may have been oblivious to. Patterns of behavior that may have contributed to what we are currently experiencing.

I remember when I was young, I always felt like people were out to get me in some way or that I just always seemed to get the bum deal somehow and there was no way to change it. Oh poor pitiful me…

That wasn’t the case at all. The reality was that I was responsible for a great deal of it. I was so convinced that what I thought was happening was, that I ended up creating drama that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

After all, “a belief is just a thought you keep thinking” (Hicks).

It wasn’t that people were always going away. It was because I was pushing them away.

It wasn’t that everyone was lying to me. It was because I wasn’t able to trust.

And I could go on, but I won’t.

The point is that it ties into #2.

If we are unable to identify the patterns of our own behavior that may be causing situations like what I described above to happen, then it is very likely that we are reacting to things rather than responding. One of those is rooted in rational thought and the other is weighed down by our own expectations and insecurities.

The truth is that the story we tell ourselves determines our behavior. When we are struggling, it may be our reaction to lash out at those closest to us, whether it is warranted or not. We are clouded by our own suffering and therefore feel justified in some way when we are not.

And in many cases, if we ourselves are stuck in an unhealthy mindset, we will make assumptions that are not only not true, but just end up making our situation worse. Feeling unable to feel better on our own, we put the responsibility on to someone else. This is not only unfair, but it leaves little room for personal growth. There comes a time in our lives when the only way to move forward to a better feeling place is to take responsibility for the life we are living now.

We all have lows in life and it’s okay to lean on our friends for support, but when they become more of a punching bag than someone to talk to, you are taking advantage of that friendship.

The first few times we attack them for reasons we feel are justified, they may excuse it out of an understanding that we are going through a bad time and that our anger simply found the easiest target. They love us and so they take it and move on.

But at some point, it becomes frustrating, exhausting even, for them to never know what will set us off. That is when allowing the behavior becomes contributing to it and there is no benefit in that for anyone involved.

I am a very loyal person, almost to a fault. I allow people a lot more leeway in how they treat me than I should. I have no problem admitting when I am wrong and if I have rightfully done something undesirable to another, I will absolutely own it. After all, we all make mistakes, it’s part of being human.

But there is also another part of me, one that has grown a great deal over the last few years, one that has begun to even the mental playing ground if you will.

I’ve always been that person who will take your sh!t, for lack of a better word. I’ll even let you rub my face in it a time or two (as Mama Della would say!), but there will come a day when I reach my breaking point. It might be something little that lands at the tippy top of all the bull sh!t from the past, but that will be all it takes. From that point forward, things will never be the same.

And you will know I’ve reached that point by the way I respond, I won’t. Something in me will have changed. It is no longer acceptable for them to treat me that way (even though it never really was).

The overreactions and unkind words no longer carry validity or warrant a response. What would have once roused me, will simply be dismissed.

I may not walk away, but I am surely no longer going to participate. The desire to fight has fled. Once you’ve been there, done that a million times before and you realize that it will surely happen again, the understanding comes that it is just better to do nothing.

Time has proven that any response would simply be feeding the beast they are carrying inside and if you truly do care for them, you will let it starve.

Sometimes the path to healing is not getting what you want. It’s pushing the limits of close relationships and losing your way. It’s hitting rock bottom and accepting that you are the one who put yourself there.

And sometimes the best help you can offer to someone is doing nothing at all.