Mindful

I don’t even know where to start writing. It’s been so long! I thought about writing an update on my life, and then I realized I don’t really have a lot to update you on. I could talk about my recent trip or my recent work, but I haven’t quite found a good enough purpose to write about either of those. I could talk about fitness or mental health, both topics I love writing about, but again, I have not a lot of motivation to do so.

So I have decided to write about something cool that happened the other day. Two of my best friends and I went out for brunch to a local restaurant. We sat, chatted, laughed and ate. We talked about outrageous things that probably shouldn’t be talked about in public and every once in a while our server would catch a glimpse about our absurd topics and giggle along with us. She was the cutest server, that was so personable and honest. She was one of those people that just by talking to her, you could tell how kind she was.

After brunch, we all went along with our ways. I ended up having to go straight to work because we chatted our way into the afternoon. I didn’t check my phone until later that night and saw that I had a direct message. It was from the server we had in the restaurant earlier that day. She reached out telling me she recognized me from school and wanted to thank me for speaking about self-harm.

I love getting messages like that because I often don’t think my writing reaches anyone. I also sometimes find it hard to be so vulnerable in such a small-knit city. It feels like I’m standing naked in front of everyone, allowing my flaws and imperfections to be seen.

She also made a comment in her direct message, that I really needed to hear. Usually, around this time of year, I would be heading into calendar shoot weekend for the professional cheerleading team I was previously on for five years. This means at this time last year I had dieted and exercised my way to the “ideal” body that society would approve of. I would have a fresh tan and freshly highlighted hair.  Not always being able to maintain this body and ‘perfect’ look is a hard reality to swallow sometimes and has definitely been an adjustment for me. Finding a balance has been hard and is something I am definitely continuing to work on.

At brunch, the server had offered to take a photo of the three of us at our table, I laughed and told her: “No thanks, I look ugly right now with no makeup on”. I never really thought much about this comment, I just laughed it off. In the girl’s message, she said this comment hurt her heart. She not only thanked me for speaking out and giving people someone to relate to but she made the great point of saying that: “we often want others to feel this way (beautiful) but forget to remind ourselves”.

I needed to hear this comment. I speak so often about loving ourselves and being positive, I need to step back and be mindful that I am also living this way. I have come a long way from the hate I used to have for the way I looked and the body I was given, but this comment made to realize that I need to continue to work on loving myself and speaking to myself positively like I speak to the people around me.

Sending someone a message is such a simple act but can be immensely impactful.

Remember to take the advice you give others and speak to yourself with as much love as you do to those around you!

-A

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Reflection.

I read an article the other night explaining how ‘love’ changes with every age. UGH, I KNOW GUYS. Here I go again on another rant about being broken-hearted and single and blah blah blah. BUT, that is not where I am going with this. As I read this article, unable to really connect much to it, I started to do a reflection of my year. I then rolled over and grabbed my phone, and started swiping through my pictures from this past year remembering the good and bad times.

How was my 2017?

Could I sum it up in one word?

I think the word I might choose is: chaos.

This year has been both amazing and heartbreaking for me. I won a lot of battles and had to fight quite a few as well. In 2017, I graduated and found a job I absolutely love. A job that is both fulfilling and exhausting, the way it should be in my eyes. I was surrounded by amazing people, but also got stabbed in the back by one too many of the people I thought respected me. I overcame a lot of personal battles, speaking out about my past with mental health, but I ignored the fact I still have a lot to face on that front. I stood up for myself when it came to the men I let into my life, but also found that I was still being walked all over.

Reading my last couple posts (after being made aware from a friend), I find that they do come off quite negative. The thing is, I am a very positive person if you ask the people that are around me frequently, but I do find I tend to concentrate and fixate on the negative things. I let the bad outweigh the good, no matter the severity of either side. With my job as a youth care worker, I spend the majority of my days, trying to convince the youth I work with to stay positive. To continue working on their goals and to continue pushing through their treatment and the trauma they’ve gone through in the past. After doing this consistently for 8-12 hours a day, I come home absolutely physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. These are the times I usually end up blogging. When I am all out of positive things and motivation. When I am at my lowest, and my mind is fixating on the negativity in my life, instead of the 10 smiles I put on the boys’ faces I worked with that day. This is when I take the frustration out on the people I care about, when I let my mind convince myself of negative ideologies and when instead of thinking about all the wonderful things I have going for me, I think about all the things I’m still lacking in my life.

I’m sorry to the people who have read my blog and left with a negative image of me. I am sorry to the people who think I am trying to throw pity parties for myself. I am neither a negative person nor am I trying to get people aboard my personal party of pity.

Life is a constant uphill battle for each and every one of us, and the way we each cope and deal with our struggles look different. I am 100% a very emotional person. When I am sad, every inch of my body feels it. When I am happy, I feel that happiness all the way to my soul.

With this year quickly coming to an end, and I continue to reflect on the many triumphs and challenges of this year, instead of talking and revisiting the negativity of certain situations, I am going to try and think about the lessons I learnt from each situation. Maybe I will post about these in the week(s) to come, maybe I won’t. But for those of you who have hung on strong all the way to the end of this lengthy post, I want you to remember and leave with this thought.

No one is perfect in this world, regardless of how they portray themselves on social media or in their day to day lives. Everybody has their own things going on. Everybody has their own battles to fight on a daily basis. All you can do personally is continue to treat people how you want to be treated yourselves. Try to see the world in a more positive view, concentrating on the beautiful things in life that often get overseen because negativity blinds each of us. Work hard. Be nice. And find something in every day that makes you smile and makes you happy to be alive.

-Ash

letter to my past.

to my maybe soulmate,

I am beginning to believe that soul mates are never supposed to be together. Maybe they come into your life to teach you a lesson, or to give you hope, or to put a twist in one of your chapters of life. You my friend, my never lover, have taught me one thing. You’ve taught me to be grateful for who I am. I am thankful to be carefree, the lost soul you’ve judge me for.. the wildflower. I may not have morals to your standards or an equally clean slate, but that doesn’t mean I’m not worthy of love and success in life. That doesn’t make me any less wanted or pure or clean. It doesn’t make me worn, dirty or stained. It all makes me me. It binds together the mismatched fails, successes, and adventures, me. And even though you would change those things about me, you taught me that I wouldn’t. And I can thank you for that.

From your not so perfect dream girl

Get to know me!

A little about me:
I am a 25-year-old, energetic, adventure lover.  I have been in school for far longer than I would like to admit, but will finally be graduating in 2017 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. Sociology is quite fascinating and not just an easy elective like people like to think. Studying it has really opened my eyes to why the world works the way it does. I consider myself an introverted extrovert, which I think would surprise a lot of people because most people know me as the girl with the big white teeth and the obnoxious laugh. I am a dance teacher, a member of the Rider Cheer Team and the co-coach of the U of R Dance Team.

Few things people don’t know about me:
-I will be applying to do an after degree in education.  It took me way too long to figure out that teaching and children were what I am passionate about, but I’m happy I got here!
-I am in recovery from an eating disorder.  I say in recovery instead of recovered because it is something I will probably struggle with for the rest of my life.  Unlike other mental illnesses like alcoholism or a drug addiction where the substance that is causing the issue can be eliminated from the person’s life, food cannot be.  I don’t like to talk about this, because I like the positive view that people have of me, and I never want something like this to distort that, but at the same time, I think it is important for me too because I want to be a role model.  I want people to understand that mental illness doesn’t mean you are broken, or unloveable or imperfect, it makes you a survivor, it makes you stronger and it makes you perfectly imperfect.
-I hope to one day write a book about my struggles in hope you inspire and encourage people to push through their struggles, and to know that anything they’re going through will only make them stronger in the end.

Thoughts on society’s concept of beauty:
I think society has created this unreachable concept of beauty, but I think our generation is doing a good job of changing it.  There are so many amazing people out there now a day, standing up against this mould that has been created.  I think beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colours, ages, genders, races etc.  I think everyone is beautiful in their own way and it’s just sad that society can’t acknowledge this.  I think it’s so so so important to love yourself first, because if you love yourself, then there’s no way you’ll ever let society tell you you’re not good enough.

Most valuable lesson I’ve learnt so far:
I think the most important lesson I’ve learnt is to love yourself first. I spent way too many years trying to be someone I wasn’t, trying to be the person I thought I had to be to make people like me, but in reality if those people didn’t like me for who I truly was, then those people didn’t deserve to be part of my life anyway. I would love to get the years and the sleepless nights back of wishing I was someone else, and that I had a different life, because now that I’m finally happy with myself and with my life, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Advice for others:
Never ever ever ever ever let anyone tell you you’re not good enough or make you feel like you need to change. Each and every one of us is unique for a reason and each of us deserves to be surrounded by people who will accept and cherish this about us.

🙂

-Ash