New Chapter

Wow. The end of an age.
I like to think I have it all together. You know, like I have all my emotions in check…

Well this week proved me humbly wrong.

I know in my heart that every ending is a new beginning, but that doesn’t make this ending any easier.

In this life we cross paths with people who leave a lasting impression on us forever. Some, more than others, but every one of them special in their own rite.

And today, I said good-bye to just such people.

My heart breaks, not because it is truly good-bye, but rather because I am so thankful to have grown so close to them.

Over my time on this earth, I have worked many places and several times those I worked with grew to be family, but no place helped me grow in the way that SP did.

When I started, I was a little insecure and a bit unsure of the life ahead of me.

I seemed to be fighting against myself, hindering my own potential to reach for what I really wanted in life.

But a very special person saw me, not for who I was, but for who I could be. She planted a seed and continued to water it year after year until it became the person I am today.

She believed in me from the very beginning, even when I questioned myself. I am a completely different person now because of her and everyone who stood beside me over all these years.

Everything is changing now, for all of us.  And, as cheesy as it sounds, we will always have the memories of the time we shared.  I think all of our lives are richer now having met, I know mine is.

And it wasn’t just my co-workers, who helped me grow. It was our customers and partners. They have shown me what it truly feels like to be appreciated, valued, trusted and respected.

Things I now understand to be the foundation for the road ahead. A road I could not have seen 4 years ago or even 4 months ago for that matter.

Several years ago, my friend, Will, taught me something very important. When he moved to SC, he asked me to do one thing for him…

Learn to take a compliment.

As he pointed out (and he was right), every time he complimented me on anything, I always found a way to thankfully dismiss it.

That is when I realized that because I was always taught to be humble, I, for some reason took that to mean you should never acknowledge your positive attributes for fear that you will come across as bragging or being over confident.

So instead, I thankfully dismissed any reassurance I was given and as a result, I kept myself from looking any further than what was right in front of me.

My time at SP changed all that.

For once, I felt like I held a key role in a progressive company that valued it’s employees. It was an environment like none other I had ever experienced. Fun and energetic, yet laid back at the same time…if that makes sense.

I loved going to work every day and that is something I think everyone would agree is rare.

Over the course of several years I built relationships that I am beyond thankful for.

And I will never forget the conference, when one of our partners gave me a shout out that was then followed by applause and everyone looking in my direction. I remember being so embarrassed, but when I look back on it now, all I feel is joy.

No one has ever honored me like that. I mean, there I was in a room with the CEO & VP’s on stage and our partners in the audience, all clapping for me.

Talk about a humbling experience.

It was all I could do not to cry, so instead, I turned bright red! Of’course!

It was one of those moments that take your breath away.

Sure I wasn’t saving lives, but in some way I had made an impact on their lives and their businesses.

It really meant something to me. And ultimately, it changed me.

A room full of people saw in me what I could not see in myself.

And after, there was a line to see me, not because they needed something, but because they genuinely wanted to meet me.

Now the me of yesterday wouldn’t have told you that piece, for fear of seeming like I am talking myself up.

But I am damn proud of that moment. Not just for the ego sake of it all, but rather because it is the moment I found my confidence.

And had it not been for that moment, I may have remained lost and buried under the heaviness of my own self doubt.

It’s funny how something can be taken away from you, causing you to feel great agony from it’s loss. Only to bring you the very thing you lost ten fold.

My mother may have left me long ago, but I have gained more love than she could ever possibly give. All because of the choices she made.

So perhaps that is the reason  I know that this is truly the beginning of something more, the time to finally take the leap and do what I once thought was unreachable.

After all, I’ll never know if I don’t try.

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Changes

I know I’ve been MIA for a while, but it has been for good reason. It is amazing how much your life can change when you learn to let go and allow things to unfold naturally.

I went through a lot of heart break this year and if you would have told me 2 months ago that I would be where I am today, I would have never believed you. So much has happened, I am not sure exactly where to begin…

When I last wrote, I was in the middle of some turmoil with a few friendships and the prospect of losing my full time job as of the first of the year. I guess I’ll start there.

In regards to the hurt caused by some of my close friends, we have talked it through and in the end I feel like I have a better understanding of what our friendships look like moving forward. The truth is (as I have said before) that you will not always mean as much to others as they do to you and that’s okay. In fact, once you realize that, it allows you the freedom to move on to big and better things…or people, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

As far as the job goes, long story short, I have been working remotely for a company based in Denver that is changing their in office policy to require employees to be present 4/5 days per week. With the option to work remotely no longer being offered and the option to move back to Denver not in the cards, I am diving back into the job market as of Jan 1st.

It’s sad & scary, as many changes are. I have worked with these folks for years and many of them are like family to me. I feel extremely confident in my current position and that has always been a comfort to me. When everything around me was falling apart, I would immerse myself in my work, because it was the one thing I knew I could master.

That having been said, it can be very time consuming and stressful, especially during commissions week when I am working 10-14 hours a day. There hasn’t been much time for me to pursue my passion for more creative projects.

So perhaps this is the best thing that could have happened. Sure, it’s scary not knowing where the money will come from next or the uncertainty of where my path may lead, but in the end I have great faith that it will all work out. After all, I’ve been in much more difficult situations than this and I’ve always been able to find a way to stand on my own two feet.

Enough about that though. Let’s get to the exciting news!

After 8 years of being single…drum roll please…

I am officially off the market!

As you know, I had basically resigned myself to the fact that perhaps I was simply meant to be a loner. I figured my refusal to settle for almost or just enough, meant that I was destined to be alone. I grew so tired of the disappointment of dating that I made the decision to stop doing it all together. Anyone I gave my heart to or felt comfortable enough to open up to, either disregarded my feelings or me all together. I was done and I was okay with it.

And from out of nowhere, came this man, who changed everything.

He was a friend from years back that I had lost touch with for more than 10 years. When he reached out to me, I  had no idea reconnecting would be the beginning of something more.

He not only checks every box on the list, but more importantly, he fell in love with the real me. You know, the girl I keep hidden behind the mask, the one I always thought just might be unlovable. And for the first time in a very long time, I am not afraid to love him back.

And so, I am thankfully embracing these changes.

These sweet, scary, beautiful changes.

 

Conveniently Disregarded

In this life, we are forced to make decisions on an almost constant basis. Sometimes we operate on auto pilot and in others we ponder the choices before us, exploring every angle of their consequences.

I think the true character of a person can be found in neither. But rather in the instantaneous actions or reactions to a choice made quickly. In the fragile moment before action, the place one’s mind goes reveals a lot about their true intentions, even if they don’t realize it.

In the age of cell phones and Apple watches, an un-returned message can be taken much more harshly than someone not returning the message you left on their answering machine in the 90’s. People are expected to respond, if not immediately.

And why? Because when you think about my a fore mentioned point about those fragile moments before one makes a decision…No response = Non-priority, or at least that is how it is perceived.

I disagree however, I think that is a little dramatic.

I never expect an immediate response from anyone. Do you know how many times I simply turn my ringer off on a Saturday, spend the whole day in the yard, never looking at my phone once?!

I think it is important to detach sometimes and I know that I personally need that or I would lose my mind!

Now if you have had no response from several texts, than chances are you are being conveniently disregarded.

And let me tell you from experience, it’s most likely your own fault. I like to think I have always been the loyal friend everyone can count on. Even those who have wronged me end up forgiven and I fall back in line again for their torture.

Then one day I realized that maybe it was time to start setting higher expectations. Not just for my friends and family, but for myself. I always said I wanted someone who would fight for me, but maybe the reason no one ever does is because I never give them a reason to think I’d ever go away.

If I want to be treated like someone with value, than I had better start learning to value myself.

Ever since my mother left the first time, I have had this overwhelming feeling that I was unlovable, that there was no point in revealing my true self to anyone, because in the end they all just go away, so what was the point?…Dark I know.

It became the main story I told myself for years and years. There was always going to be something wrong with me, some deal breaker that would make anyone I tried to love end up leaving me in the end.

As time moved on, various relationships and friendships continued to validate this idea that in the end I was destined to walk among the strange. Fitting into the world, my armor, as I struggled to make it through the dim normalcy of the every day.

I think it’s time I put down the armor…or at least try a little harder to shed a few layers 🙂

I need to be done apologizing for being myself, for needing my space, or for taking the time I need to heal over whatever, whenever. It has been my experience that keeping up this charade, the appearance of togetherness is debilitating.

Sure my crazy antics may scare people away and my sense of humor my be a bit rooted in the gutter, but let’s be honest, I’m a rare breed and rare breeds seldom travel in herds.

Call it an acquired taste, I’m not for everyone!

So I guess what I am saying is, the next time you are conveniently disregarded, don’t think about it as a disappointment, but rather the universe giving you direction. If you think about it, it could be a real time saver to pay attention to signs like these.

If I were to spend more time noticing what was right in front of me (or not in front of me), I’d waste a lot less time focusing where I shouldn’t be.

I have been paying attention to the moments I have just before deciding to do something and it has been quite revealing.

And well, I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say at the root of it all…I want what I want and I want it yesterday.

It’s a little hard to admit, but it’s the truth and it has been eye opening.

I will literally find myself making a decision that I know will bring me pain later, simply because I want the instantly gratifying feeling of disillusionment, even if just for a moment.

Perhaps it is the flaw in my code. The deep rooted comfort I seem to find in pain.

What can I say the darkness is my muse. 🙂

 

 

Creative Insanity – A Blessing Not A Curse

Have you ever wondered why people do the sometimes seemingly stupid things they do? I am sure we all have.

Honestly, I think the majority of people are clueless as to the why themselves. I look at people sometimes and think to myself, “wow, you have no idea how much of a mess you really are”. And coming from me that is not a shallow observation. I am a mess in a lot of aspects, but then again, I think we all are in some ways.

What sets us apart from the herd is the awareness of it.

For a long time, I expended great effort hiding my imperfections from the world until one day I realized by doing so I was hindering myself from the creative insanity that I was blessed with.

I began opening up more and more about the wars going on in my head, until I began to feel comfortable going out into the world uncloaked.

I no longer needed the mask of sanity I had worn for so many years, because I have finally reached a point where I just didn’t care anymore about keeping up appearances.

Which I apparently did very well considering several of my closest friends had no idea I even battled with depression, let alone that I was bi-polar. I was diagnosed with mild cases of both, in addition to social anxiety when I was in college.

By my 3rd year, my anxiety had gotten so bad that I couldn’t even answer a question in class with out turning bright red & fumbling over my words until I was almost in tears.

My boyfriend at the time knew how I felt about therapy, so he never pushed it on me. Instead, he did his best to be supportive and ensure we had a steady supply of self-medication on hand. Mostly for me, but I am sure it helped him to keep his cool when dealing with Tiffany’s seemingly un-provoked moments of mania.

Smoking weed mellowed me out and alcohol numbed the pain, but eventually neither of those helped and I knew it was time to talk to someone. By that time, I had switched my major to Psychology and it didn’t take a genius to realize that there was something majorly wrong.

Obviously, the depression wasn’t a surprise to me as I had dealt with that for as far back as I can remember. The worst was in high school after my mom disappeared and shortly after I went through the common right of passage for any teenager, losing my first love.

All I remember from that time is feeling alone. No matter where I was or who I was with, it was always like I was more of an observer than an active participant in my own life. I hated myself, my life and at one point tried to make it all go away.

That is not something many people know and a weakness I was ashamed to admit I almost gave into.

As you all know, my grandfather and I were extremely close. You see, it was he who saved me.

There I was, laying in my bed, about to down the rest of a bottle of painkillers I stole from my grandmother and something told him to come upstairs and check on me. If he hadn’t, I may not be here today.

The other time I seriously considered leaving this world was in Seattle.

It was after I had been sexually assaulted in my apartment, something else very few people know about me.

At the time, it was the only way I could see to end the pain that had became my existence. If it had not been for the one person who was present that night, I again may not be here today.

When I opened the door to my bedroom, I had full intention of running a bath and making my exit, but something made me walk to the living room instead.

My friend, sleeping soundly on the couch awoke to an ever spiraling Tiffany sitting on the floor next to him. I had tapped on his shoulder, waited for him to awake and with tears rolling down my face I asked if he would hold me. Just for a moment, I wanted to feel like I wasn’t alone in this world.

Without question, he opened his arms and in a welcoming embrace, he held me through the night. I owe him my life. When everyone else brushed me aside, he was there to help me pick up the pieces and put my life back together.

I love that man in ways no one will understand.

Talk about a true friend and one that sadly I never truly appreciated back then. I think part of it was that I didn’t want to be reminded of that time in my life, the time I almost gave up, and so unknowingly I pushed him away as a way of burying the past.

Looking back, I think I was frightened by our friendship. For someone who tried to hide her true self from the world, the fact that someone knew me so deeply terrified me.

There was only one other person with whom I shared such a connection with and even he never knew the gravity of the emotional issues I struggled with, but I had been in love with him since I was 18 years old, so baring all could have meant losing him and that was simply not a chance I was willing to take. And therefore, there was always this % of myself I kept hidden, even from him.

I realize now that I was going about all of this in the completely wrong manner. The more you try to please the world by fitting in the box labeled normal, the more you lose yourself.

My depression wasn’t really something I talked about openly because I thought of it as a disability, but it’s not.

A friend of mine described it quiet well.  He explained, after the darkness, everything seems to shine brighter. It is where we draw our creativity and in many cases our strength to manage our way through the next manic episode.

Spiraling out  as we call it is like riding out a wave. If you fight it, you are working against the natural course of nature and may end up stuck beneath the undertow.

Where we are doomed to repeat the cycle over and over again until one day it breaks us.

Brave are the ones who are not afraid to admit that they have been weak. To be weak is to be human and it is what allows us to grow.

By masking ourselves from those around us, we are doing a great disservice to ourselves and halting the potential be extraordinary.

For we are the dangerously creative, our madness a gift and the world our canvas.

“Wear your tragedies as armor, not shackles.”  – Anonymous

A New Reason to Smile

Like I said the other day, I think we forget sometimes, just how much power we have in creating the life we desire. Sure, there are a million things we can’t control, but the one thing we can control is how we think and therefore how we feel. I know it doesn’t always seem like that. Especially for anyone who battles with depression, anxiety or any other mentally challenging disorders. And I’m not saying it’s easy either, it’s not, but if we ever want to truly be content in this life, we must find a way to change the way we think.

That is the only way to change the way we feel and the negative belief system that has been ruling our lives. After all, a belief is just something you keep thinking over and over again; that doesn’t make it true.

You might be thinking, “Sure, that’s easy for you to say, your life is great!”

And I would reply, “Then, I must be doing a pretty good job of convincing myself it is!”

Hicks always says, “Fake it until you make it!” and that is literally what you have to do, almost every day.

Do you think I wake up every day happy and excited?

Well, I can tell you that is very rare.

For me, depression is like an evil villain lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce on my good mood at any given moment. I never know when it will hit me or what the trigger will be. The only thing I do know for sure is that its visit is inevitable.

Every day before I open my eyes, I take the first thought that comes to mind and should it be a negative one, I take a deep breath and say to myself, “Not today” and then I reach for the closest positive thought I can find. And I continue to do that until I have moved my train of thought over to something or someone that makes me smile.

If that doesn’t work (and sometimes it doesn’t), I may surrender to the moment, but as soon as I have a chance to release those emotions, I take it.

Whether that be writing, painting or simply taking a moment to blubber about it, we all need an outlet. I have a friend who whenever they get upset, they go running and I have another friend who whenever they get upset, they go for a drive.

The point is, we are all human and part of being human means that we are emotional beings. There is nothing we can do to change that.

And emotions are meant to be expressed. It is when they are not that we find ourselves spinning out of control.

Which is why having a support system or at least one person who knows you as well as (if not more than) you know yourself, is detrimental in winning the fight.

We all need that one person who is understanding and supportive, but also not afraid to call us out on our shit!

Something I think we all need every once in a while 🙂

The minute you turn from the ones who care for you, you surrender completely to whatever it is that is causing you to feel that way.

Whether it is a person, a problem or an illness, when you turn away from the world and crawl inside yourself, you are giving up your power to change your circumstance.

You become, the title of one of my favorite Perfect Circle songs – Weak and Powerless.

Maybe this will only last a few months, but there is always a chance of permanence.

Darkness in a world full of color.

The longer you spend in the dark, the harder it becomes to find the light.

Why?

Because every thought you think, results in an emotion and every emotion another thought that leads to another emotion…you get the point.

“when you are feeling insecure you start to think the way you are feeling. Then, you begin to feel the way you think and feeling becomes the means of thinking. When this occurs, the mind becomes immersed in the body and you begin thinking as a body and not as a mind; it becomes your state of being.” – Dr. Joe Dispenza

So when we wallow and believe me, I can be the queen of wallowing sometimes, we begin to validate the negativity we are experiencing.

The story we tell ourselves is incredibly important. It forms the way we see the world and ourselves. As well as determines what we attract into our current reality.

This was a huge revelation I had back in 2016 and it has been my savior over the past few years when it comes to pulling myself back from the downward spiral of emotions that can pull me away from my path.  I wrote a post about it that you can find here, What is Your Story?

Obviously, I have not yet mastered the art and perhaps I never will, but at least I’m trying.

And some part of it must be working, because I am seeing evidence of it more and more as time goes on.

Take for instance that last few months or even all of last year for that matter. It has been an emotional roller coaster for me.

My heart has been broken, friends have let me down and in many cases, I have let myself down, but despite the disappointments of the past, I am still going strong!

I have learned that although it is natural to feel defeated at times or get caught up in someone or some event in our lives, if we dwell in this place for too long, we may let something amazing walk right on by.

Life has a funny way of working itself out and it is way too short to hold on to the people who do not value you or cling to the mistakes of the past. This life is about moving forward, not backward.

Sometimes what we want and what we need are completely opposed to one another and that is just all there is to it.

How do we know the difference?

That is a tough question to answer, but I’ll give it a shot based on my own experiences.

First of all, you should never have to beg for love and/or attention from someone who truly cares for you, because to those who truly care it is something you will never have to question. Words are merely words and leave the lips of the deceitful just the same as they do from those with good intentions.

The difference is that those with good intentions validate those words with actions. We all make mistakes and behave in ways we are not proud of, so I am not saying you should dismiss anyone who doesn’t put you on a pedestal – that’s a bit extreme!

It is okay to give someone a chance to make amends, but be careful about letting them off too easy. The word sorry is over used and over appreciated in my opinion and it is again just a word. True amends are made by going the extra mile, not just apologizing for what you did wrong.

The day you embrace this knowledge you will find that you hold not only yourself, but everyone-else in your life to a higher standard.

And I assure you, when you least expect it, you will cross paths with someone you may have never seen coming, had you been too busy chasing after someone else.

And the same advice is relevant with circumstances too.

Just like people, opportunities will come and go in your life, you just have to try your best to ensure you are going after the right ones and not spending too much time trying to make the wrong ones into something they are not.

We are all in this together… some of us just weren’t meant to walk next to one another.

Image courtesy of suwatpo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net