Category Archives: Random Musings

One of the Neatest Things

Since last November, I’ve lost 19 pounds.

That’s something I never thought I’d write, let alone be my reality.

It is…one of the neatest things.

Part of me wants to apologize for even writing this post, because how braggy can someone get? Yet if you’ve ever stumbled upon this blog or have followed it for years, chances are, you’ve read a post about depression and self-hatred. You’ve read about the struggle I’ve had loving myself, most particularly the way I look. You’d know I’ve been fighting this battle for a long, long time.

You understand how monumental this feels for me.

So my apologies if I brag here for a moment.

 disney supernatural sherlock marvel dean winchester GIF

Like I have so many times before, last November, I told myself, “You need to lose weight. You need to become healthy. You need to create a body that you can look in the mirror and love.” For my height, the healthy weight range is 140-165. My goal has always been to get to 160 pounds and as the years have gone by, the amount of weight I’ve needed to lose to reach that point has only continued to increase. In high school, I was around 185 pounds, but by my senior year of college, I had finally hit that dreaded (to me) point and passed into the 200 range. I had reached the point where I had to lose 40 pounds to get to the higher end of my healthy weight range. I felt hopeless and discouraged in a lot of ways. That sort of weight loss was impossible to achieve.

Eight months later, I’m at 181 pounds. One more pound shed and I’ll be halfway to my goal. Two pounds and I’ll be in the 170s. If I lose a pound a week, I could reach my goal by Thanksgiving. Of this year.

Friends, I am floored at this progress. At this milestone. Of wanting the same thing for so long and finally actually doing something to achieve it. I’m floored to actually be able to feel and see the difference. I’m floored that, every once in the while, I look in the mirror and I smile at what I see. There is still plenty I want to change, but damn if I’m not stoked at where I’m at right now. The lowest weight I’ve been since I was in high school. Shaping the body that I want.

The journey itself has been a bit of a whirlwind. There were plenty of weeks where I gained weight or fluctuated between gaining and losing the same few pounds. There have been weeks where I’ve killed every fitness and eating goal I’ve put ahead of me and weeks where the only movement I got was reaching into the chip bag while sitting on my couch. It’s been a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. There’s been times when I’ve had to forgive myself and times I knew I needed to push harder. I know that this journey will continue to change and evolve, as it’s one I’ll have for the rest of my life, because it certainly doesn’t end once I hit 160. I know there will always be hiccups and struggles and roadblocks and setbacks. That’s okay.

But for the first time ever, I’m confident that I’ll also see progress.

That is…one of the neatest things.

So thank you for your support. For encouraging me and challenging me in this journey. For telling me I’m worthy no matter what my size is (because that’s a capital T Truth). And thanks in advance for the future support and the understanding when I decline that dessert you offer or don’t go back for seconds, even though that food was bomb. It’s a lifestyle change that I’m so excited I’ve finally taken control of and I think it’ll always be a work-in-progress, but your encouragement, support and understanding is phenomenal. And I couldn’t do it without you.

Oh, and just for fun (and because I am so frugal and never spend money on anything), I also wanted to share my rewards for the next 20 pounds to lose. I think having a little extra incentive never hurt anyone, especially as I have a feeling the second 20 pounds might be harder to lose than the first.

  • 20 Pounds: New Tattoo
    • Granted, I’d already planned to get this one in August, but I’m going to cheat and count it as my reward.
  • 30 Pounds: Mass Effect Sweatshirt
    • This one might seem silly, but I’ve been eyeing this Mass Effect sweatshirt for many, many months. And it’s $60, which might not be a lot to you, but that’s always been unjustifiable to me. And I think losing 30 pounds is more than enough justification to get a kickass hoodie that I’ll never take off once I own it.
  • 40 Pounds: Die Hair
    • Again, I hate spending money, but especially on “frivolous” things like doing my hair (even though I feel so fantastic after getting it done). It gets expensive and a lot of the time, I just can’t let myself do it when I should be saving my money. But I’ve always wanted to die my hair darker professionally, even though doing so and getting it cut, too, is a bit pricey. But reaching the weight I never thought I’d reach and having my hair look amazing? Yes, please.

If you have some goals or dreams that you’ve always wanted to achieve but never seem to reach that finish line, I really encourage you to take a scary look at what you’re actually doing to achieve them. Before last November, while the dream of loving my body was very real, the actions I was taking to make it a reality were non-existent and thus, the dream was out of reach. And trust me: you want to know what it feels like to work towards what you believe to be impossible dreams and see yourself make progress, with the knowledge that you yourself are the reason you’re achieving them.

It really is one of the neatest things.

Cheers.


The Versatile Blogger Award!

First and foremost, a shout out must go to Jess over at ellDimensional for the gracious tag and the lovely mention alongside it. I am not only a huge fan of her blog, but of her as a person. I am so lucky to have stumbled upon connecting with her within the wide and vast webs of the Internet and very thankful for her positivity, encouragement and friendship.

So why don’tcha go check out her fantastic blog and see what I’m talking about?

What is the Versatile Blogger Award?

Bloggers nominate other bloggers who they believe deserve recognition for their high quality standard of writing, uniqueness of content, passion and love displayed throughout the site and to top it off, amazing photos!

Rules of the Versatile Blogger Award:

Thank the blogger who nominated you and share their link.

Nominate up to 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs. Also, inform them about the nomination.

Reveal 7 facts about yourself that your readers may not know.

  1. I don’t like bacon.
  2. In the 7th grade, my Mom suggested that I start plucking my eyebrows, because they were starting to get out of control (and they most certainly were). But I thought that the plucking was too painful, so I tried to shave the areas that needed to be plucked with a razor while in the bathtub, looking at my reflecting in the faucet.

    Needless to say, I had to pencil in my eyebrows for a couple weeks, afterwards. And there are still a few spots where the hair will never grow back.

  3. I’ve written five books and I’m pretty dang proud of that fact, honestly.
  4. I’m pretty sure I love dogs more than I do humans.
  5. I wrote my undergraduate thesis over how we could read The Lord of the Rings, in comparison to Jackson’s cinematic adaptations, as a plea to protect our environment, before the numerous Shires we once had are all poisoned into the reflections of Mordor. My secondary reader said they never met anyone who knew Tolkien so in-depth so naturally. Probably the best compliment I’ve ever received.
  6. I have five tattoos and plan to get my sixth, which is centered around LOTR, this August.
  7. I’m the most shyly extroverted, socially-charged introvert you might know.
Image result for golden retriever puppies

Here’s a puppy. Because always.

So, confession time.

I love blogging. As aforementioned in numerous posts, I use this blog as an outlet, which is why my posts range from writing woes to self-love struggles to video game rants to random musings. And I’ve found a really great community of bloggers that I follow and read as regularly as my hectic life allows. Yet I haven’t done a very good job at finding more bloggers to follow, instead staying within my discovered and adored circle of favorites.

I’m reminded of this when I’m lucky enough to get nominated or tagged in fun awards, such as this one, which asks you to tag some of your favorite fellow bloggers, and I always end up tagging the same people; who, don’t get me wrong, are all fantastic and amazing and you should definitely follow. That never changes. But it does remind me that I need to go and find more amazing bloggers to be inspired by.

So if you’d like to do this, please, feel free. I apologize for not tagging anyone, but I feel like I need to expand from my original crew. Hopefully, if I get to do another award in the future, I’ll have some new faces to point you towards.

Until then, keep smiling and thanks for reading!

Cheers.


Frankly, I Have No Idea What to Title This Post

There’s a line from Twenty One Pilot’s “Migraine” that says, “Sometimes to stay alive you gotta kill your mind.”

I really love that line.

I also wish they gave advice on how to do just that.

I’m an over-thinker. A worrywart, as my companions and parents growing up dubbed me. I’ve always been this way. I know I’m not alone in this, but sometimes, that knowledge doesn’t help me deal with my incessant need to look at every angle of a situation–and often situations that haven’t happened yet, but are possible–and then fixate on the worst possible one, causing anxiety, stress and depression to set in as I then obsess over this outcome. Which, nine times out of ten, doesn’t even come true.

But let’s not keep this simple. Let’s include the heart into this, add another layer of complexity.

I’m a big believer of following your heart. It’s why mine is so scarred. I’m not afraid to chase what it wants without abandon. Some believe that’s foolish. Yet that’s not something I’m going to change. I’m sure it comes to no surprise that often, the heart and the mind conflict, even to the point where the mind overrules the heart and makes it confused on what it even wants, which makes it even harder to come to a decision about what to do in X situation.

Hold on, though. Still not complicated enough. Then add in the need to please others and the reliance on your fellow’s good opinion and approval.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Welcome into the mind of Nicole.

‘Tis a confusing place.

Of course, I have a specific conundrum in mind: my love life. It’s complicated and confusing and conflicting, which I think is the most difficult thing to deal with. At any given moment, my mind will tell me to do one thing and my heart will agree. The next, my mind and heart splits. Another second passes and my heart has completely changed its tune, but now my head is questioning. And then you add in the opinions of everyone else I value–and don’t forgot the overthinking mind that doesn’t fail to look into every possible solution into every possible scenario, and frankly?

I’m just at a loss.

Here’s the situation (you might have gathered inklings about it from this postthis post or this post. Sorry my complicated love life has taken over this blog. But this blog is my outlet and I’ve never been confused like this before. Ergo, a lot of emotionally-charged posts).

Entered into a FWB relationship which actually felt and was treated like more of an actual relationship, just in secret. Not surprising that, on my end, feelings developed and complications arose. I “left” and then came back, twice, before finally deciding to leave the “benefits” side of a relationship and trade it for a “just friends” side, so I could move on emotionally and find someone who’d be capable and willing to meet both my needs and my wants. It’s been…hard, but I’m getting there. What’s been the hardest, however, is being plagued with one question:

What if? 

Because while I left because I needed more stability, more commitment and more certainty, I’ve been lost in this realm of uncertainty ever since. Because though the “relationship” is officially “over,” there are some small seeds of hope that it could still actually blossom into something real. So we could, potentially, still have a chance at having a relationship. Or I could say no, if that question was ever asked. Or it could never be asked and I could find someone else. Or I could find no one. There are so many different ways this could pan out and there are plenty of What Ifs to accompany each route.

What if we date and everything is as amazing as I always thought it would be? What if it’s everything I ever wanted? What if we completely fall on our faces and the relationship crumbles? What if everyone thinks I’m an idiot for giving him another chance? What if everyone hates him? What if I miss out on the guy “meant for me” because I gave him another chance? What if he is the one meant for me and I gave him up too early because it took a little work beforehand? What if I end up alone forever (but kill it as your ultimate dog lady)? 

Yeah, sometimes, my mind sucks.

There are just so many elements in play: my emotions, my feelings, logic, the opinions of others…all of which conflict and fight each other on a daily basis, which isn’t exactly comforting.

You got the feelings I have for the guy that everyone I care about tells me “didn’t treat me right” and constantly reminds me that I can “do better and deserve better,” yet part of me still wants to try because he does mean so much to me and I know he could treat me exactly the way I “deserve.” But then that raises logical questions, like, why hasn’t he already? What made him take so long to chose me; which, in turn, brings up some questions regarding trust. Yet he’s also made me happier than any man before him. Doesn’t that count for something?

Then I look at all the relationships I’ve ever known. All of them have had some sort of conflict, at one point or another. To varying degrees of complexity and difficulty. Some started great and got rough in the middle, only to become stronger. Some started out difficult and took work, but made it in the end. And very few have been really solid throughout it all, hardly a hiccup in sight. And sometimes, when people tell me that I can “do better,” I want to point out that every relationship is different and maybe this one is just experiencing the rough patches at the beginning. I want to ask not to be so quick to judge, even though I know everyone is just looking out for me and wants me to be happy. And I haven’t been happy, recently. So I understand that. It just adds another level of complexity.

And then you get all of those corny quotes telling you to never pick a guy who made you question or made you guess or made you walk away. Then there’s the small excitement of meeting someone new, wondering who is out there for me and the excitement of flirting and getting to know someone; battle that against the comfort of already knowing someone and admitting there are some challenges there, but there is also certain happiness, as well. Then there’s the fear of never finding anyone else juxtaposed with the fear that I already found them, but I’m just giving them up because it takes work and everyone else tells me I should and they are proud of me for finally letting go of something less than what I deserve. But is that really what want?

Yeah, I’d love to just kill my mind for an hour now, thanks.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to two things: choice and risk.

Everything is uncertain. I have no idea if said dude will ever want to try an actual relationship with me. I honestly have no idea if I’m willing to try, if he wants to–my heart and hope scream yes at the same time my mind, my doubts and my fears shout no. I have no idea how I’d meet anyone else or what I’d say if I did. I have no idea about any of this and all this worrying and thinking I’ve done in the past week isn’t really helping.

Regardless of whatever happens, the choice is mine. And though I do recognize that I really rely (a bit too much) on the approval of others, I have to trust that those closest to me will support whatever decision I make. And I need to let myself make that decision, without basing it off the opinions of others.

Even though I’ve been searching for the right answer, through talking and blogging and praying, I think I’ve come to the realization that there isn’t one. There is no right answer. That’s why it’s a risk.

I can’t know that my choices are going to be the best ones. I have no idea how they are going to affect my future or if they are going to hurt me or make me happy. There is no guarantee that whatever choice I make is going to be the right or the wrong one. Because that’s what risk is. It’s making a choice and sticking with it even though you don’t know the end. It’s trying to decipher the feelings in your gut and learning to follow them. It’s talking with those involved and learning to trust them. It’s finding a balance between hope and logic.

At the end of the day, it’s weighing everything I’ve been describing and more, and then finally making a choice, trusting yourself to make the right one. It’s accepting the aftermath and forgiving yourself when you make the wrong one. It’s having the courage to change your choice, if that happens. Or the courage to stay, depending. Or even trusting yourself enough to believe that you made the right choice and believing that everything is good, even when it feels too good to be true.

That realization doesn’t make figuring out my love life any easier. I know that I definitely don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I’m trying my best to follow my heart wherever it guides me (even if that journey is a bit confusing, at times). I’m doing the best I can and I’ll take a small comfort in that. Because all I can do is try and follow my heart, trusting it to guide me true. Even it it leads to failure and ruin, at least I gave it my all.

Hopefully, when I look back at all of my choices, no matter how many were “right” and “wrong,” I’ll be able to take comfort and avoid regret, knowing that I did the best I could navigating this quest called life; amidst every wrong turn, pleasant surprise, lucky break, difficult choice, second chance, mistake, celebration and achievement, I tried and followed my heart.

Can we really ask ourselves to do more than that?

Cheers.


Being Okay With Lazy

The past two days, I’ve been a bit…lazy. Instinctively, I felt like I needed to beat myself up about it. My To-Do List wasn’t getting any shorter and there was so much time that I was wasting, especially after having such a productive Monday. But I’m writing this post to remind myself that this is okay.

Here’s what an ideal day is like, for me, in the summer:

Wake up at 9am. Either run or go to the gym. Stretch. Lay out by the pool for an hour and hopefully read for a bit. Shower. Make lunch (and dinner, since I work through dinner time and need to prep it beforehand). If I have enough time before work, sneak in some PS4 time. Then, go to work, where I’m lucky enough to also have time to write, blog, do things for my internship and various other stuff from the To-Do List, on top of daily work stuff. Come home, maybe sneak in some more PS4 time or an episode on Netflix before going to sleep. Smile, rinse, repeat.

Here’s what the past two days have looked like:

Tuesday, I work up to my alarm at 9am. Snoozed it. Woke up at 9:30am, felt good, still had time to run and swim and eat and relax before work. But I really just wanted to stay curled up in bed. So I did, dozing on and off (with bloody weird dreams) until about noon. Then, I played Shadows of Mordor until it was time for work, frantically getting ready because I just wanted to kill a few more orcs before I left.

Today, I got up at 9:30am but instead of going to the gym or swimming like I planned, I went straight back into Mordor and slayed, once again pushing it to the brink, time wise, rushing to shower, dress and grab some stuff for dinner all in thirty minutes.

That’s two days where I didn’t work out at all but had plenty of time to. Didn’t swim or tan (and I’ll be honest and admit I’m really digging working on a tan), even though the weather was totally perfect for it. I didn’t use some of my free time to actually accomplish some things so that there wasn’t so much pressure crammed into my evenings. Instead, I just relaxed and got way too invested into Shadows of Mordor, which I’m replaying (and will hopefully actually beat this time) before Shadows of War comes out in the fall.

I keep telling myself I should feel guilty, that I wasted all this time. Except I shouldn’t. And I didn’t.

Sure, if every day could be as productive as my Monday was, I’d be pretty jazzed. I’m obviously very capable at being productive. I’d also get burnt out, really fast. Plus, is all that productivity suddenly ruined because I consciously decided to let myself just be lazy for a few days and enjoy one of my favorite passions? Especially knowing that, once I go full-time next week at work, that free time with the PS4 will be much more limited? Am I abandoning my goals because I chose to be lazy instead of pursuing them?

Not at all.

I’m choosing to believe that being lazy for a bit is okay.

Granted, if I started to give up all my goals for weeks on end, then we might have an actual problem to address. It’s a fine balance, staying productive and chasing dreams and goals, while also letting yourself unwind and relax. If I was choosing to not pursue my goals because I was in a massive depressed rut, that is also something else entirely. But I’ve been generally pretty okay the past couple days, emotionally, and instead of forcing myself to work out or swim or be hella productive, I’ve just let myself give into some orc-slaying pleasures and be lazy. I have a feeling I might even let that laziness continue into tomorrow, before I drive into a busy weekend. And next week, I can get back on track with routine and knocking my goals out of the park. Because a little indulgence, every once in a while, it’s okay.

It honestly is.

Plus, those orcs aren’t going to slay themselves. (Maybe each other, sure, but Talion and I have work to do.)

Cheers.


If It Means a Lot to You

I’m not really sure where this post is going to go. I just know that my heart hurts right now and I need to get something out before I go crazy.

I recently lost someone. Someone who means a damn lot to me. Worse, I chose to give them up, just as equally as they chose to let me go.  I’m talking about a case where A Day to Remember’s If It Means A Lot To You lyrics sort of speak to your soul and make you both want to bawl your eyes out and slam your fist into a wall, but instead, you just listen to the song on repeat and wonder how your life has come to emulate it so utterly.

My heart hurts. I miss them. A helluva lot. I miss having conversations with them and nerding out, getting headshots left and right (whaddup, co-oping Borderlands), staying up way too late watching YouTube and having Star Trek marathons. I miss having someone I talked to a daily basis. I miss looking forward to going over to their place and having that feeling of…well, home, frankly, when I was with them. I miss the way their nose would crinkle when they were trying to make me blush or the way their lips felt against mine. I miss being challenged by them, having my views expanded and my comfort zone stretched. I miss them being the sci-fi to my fantasy, the Darth Vader to my Sauron.

You know, ironically, writing that out isn’t helping me miss them less, like I was hoping this post might.

*tries again*

It was…amazing. And I was happy. He was everything that I wanted: someone who listened to me, supported me, challenged me, connected with me. Yet he wasn’t what I needed–no, that’s not right. I know he could have been what I needed and hell, still has the capabilities of doing so. But he’s not ready to be what I need. For what we had was amazing, but it wasn’t serious. It wasn’t exclusive. It wasn’t a relationship.

And I need that.

It makes me feel selfish, that rationale. That because we weren’t exclusive, because we weren’t in a committed relationship, I had to let a good thing go.  A good person go. That choice made me reevaluate my wants and needs and desires and hell, even get pissed at myself for being so traditional; for wanting that old-fashioned relationship.

I mean, what does that even really mean?

Because frankly, to me, I already had many aspects of what I imagine a relationship to be like, without the title. But it’s not the title I wanted. It was the promise that comes with commitment. It was being chosen by that other person. It was them saying, “You know what? I like you enough that I’d rather be with you than any other person. I want to try and create a future with you. And I want the world to know how much I care about you. How much I adore you. How proud I am to be with you.”

And after would come all the fun milestones and experiences I’ve never had, being eternally and utterly single. Going on dates. Changing your FB status to in a relationship and everyone gushing and asking you questions and begging to meet him. The meeting each other friends and integrating friend groups. The awkward meeting-the-family-for-the-first time dinner. The holiday parties with extended families. That first roadtrip together. The plethora of pictures, surprising each other with good luck notes in the morning, making dinner, the lazy weekends and the fun nights out.

And that’s just the start, I imagine. It gets even more exciting–and more serious–the longer you choose one another. Getting a pet. The moving-in-together convo. Watching each other’s personalities and desires evolve and change. Growing together. Life changes, like careers and finding a forever home. Marriage talk. Kid possibilities (or maybe not, who knows).

And then there are the little things throughout it all that are just as important as the big things. The being there for each other through every up and down. The taking care of one another when your sick or both skipping a day at work just because it’s been a busy week and you missed each other. The surprise notes, the kind gestures, the fancy dates just because. The little fights, the arguments, the compromises, the tough choices.

I want it all. I want every aspect of a relationship. Because I’m sorta definitely a hopeless romantic. I believe that love conquers everything (hell, the saying is tattooed on me). I’ve believed in love for so long and never had the chance to experience it, that I now have a very big, eager heart that I don’t want anymore. I want to trust it to someone else. And I want to take care of theirs instead and show them just how much a person can be loved. That’s what I need.

Unfortunately, my needs didn’t align with his wants. And so I made a really hard choice and I gave him up. And it hurts. It hurts knowing that if I had made a different choice, if I had swallowed those desires and instead stayed content with what I had, I’d still have those conversations, that connection, that feeling of home in another person. But that would be unfair to both of us. And no matter how much I miss him (it’s almost embarrassing, how much I miss him), we both deserve to have our needs and our wants met.

So it’s going to be hard, for a while. Not only getting used to being alone again, but getting used to not having such an important presence in my life. My only solution is to pour myself into a lot of things (distract myself, honestly). Working out, most definitely (main benefit of having a broken heart is that I usually run a shit-ton afterwards, so at least I’m looking more and more like a BAMF in the process of healing). And writing. I’ll definitely be focusing on writing a lot and transitioning into pursuing that as a career, not a hobby.

As far as love goes, I have no idea what will happen next. Whether the man I let go will one day want to pursue a relationship with me (and maybe I’m still be available and one day, we’ll laugh about what we went through to get there). Maybe I find someone new or date ten different people before I find the person stuck with me. Or maybe I become the most badass dog lady you’ve ever damn known… whose to say and whose to know? For now, I know one thing, one person, who I’ve neglected loving for too long and who, honestly, deserves my love the most.

Myself.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Work on myself, work on loving myself, until I’m a person that I both love and understand.

Cheers.


The Little Things

When you’re trying to change the way you’re body looks, it’s so easy to get caught up on the numbers on the scale; so easy to get frustrated when you fluctuate between losing and gaining, when you can’t get past that one number or, worse, when you trip up and gain everything back you lost in the weeks prior. It’s easy, when you’re still so far away from your goal, to still look in the mirror and notice all the ways you still need to change and improve; how much work is still ahead of you. It’s easy to maintain old habits and continue to avoid mirrors all together, to get discouraged when your weight goes up instead of down, to feel queasy when you weigh yourself to begin with or to wonder if you’re ever going to reach your goal.

It’s easy to focus and nitpick the little things.

The way your legs still look like cottage cheese. Those love handles that stick out over your pants. The stretch marks. The way your triceps are still flabby. How your calves only look slim at certain angles. Your thighs rub together. Your back fat. How no part of you looks good good in pictures.

You nitpick so much that those little things become something bigger, to the point where you get discouraged, you lose hope or you give up all together.

It’s not as easy to focus on the little things that matter.

Like how the scale went down .2 pounds since last time. How you cut off 10 seconds off your mile time or ran for five more minutes. Adding weight when you’re lifting. How you don’t breathe as hard walking up the stairs. The way you sometimes pause to look at how your jeans fit in the mirror. The slight definition you feel in your muscles, even if you can’t actually see it yet. The moment when you buy a pair of shorts instead of capris to wear over the summer or you wear that two piece despite how your love handles stick out. How you can wear a skirt and your thighs don’t chafe, even though they’re touching.

There are two paths of thought being described, here: the path looking at how far you need to go and the path looking at how far you’ve already come. The former can be dangerous, even detrimental, towards achieving your goals. It’s dark, and once you step onto it, it’s very easy to continue on until you don’t remember the light anymore. The latter is well lit and promising, encouraging you to push forward, no matter how long it takes or how small the proof of progress is. It’s also the harder of the two to choose, especially consistently.

But you must.

In my fitness journey, I get so caught up looking at all the ways I still want to improve that I forget to appreciate how far I’ve already come, only six months in. Sure, the progress is small and the journey is still long, but the progress is present. And if I quit now, I’ll have no second, hopeful path to strive towards. Instead, I’ll slip into a third path of regrets, laden with What ifs, as all I can notice is how I went backwards, instead of forward–even if going forward includes fluctuating numbers on the scale, cheat days with sweets, still avoiding the mirror and feeling like you’re never going to make it. Because if you push forward, if you continue to choose hope and work and effort, you’ll make it. You will.

I want to be excited for a year from now, two years from now, five years from now, to be able to see and feel exactly what traveling down the path of little things that mattered helped me achieve; to reach the goals I’ve had for most of my life yet never reached.

Here’s to the little things, both the ones that push me and the ones that try–and fail–to stop me.

Cheers.


Happiness: To Me, From Me

This post might make me sound a little pathetic…and maybe I am, a little bit. If you read my super personal post the other day, you’ll know that I rely on the opinion of others a bit too heavily. I also rely on other people as my main source of happiness a bit too much. Not saying that I can’t be happy on my own, but there are definitely times and situations where I feel like I can only be happy if X does Y. Whether it’s a friend inviting me to hang out or texting me back, a family member surprising me for dinner or a crush flirting with me, I’ve gotten into the bad habit of letting my happiness come from someone else, instead of creating it from within myself and letting any other source of happiness be a bonus, a complement, to what I create.

This might not make a lot of sense or it might make me seem like a really weird (which is accurate) and slightly sad (hopefully not true) individual. But considering my heart is a bit confused and not exactly whole at the moment, by being really sad over that, I’ve realized how much happiness came from that person…and I’m struggling a little bit to create my own happiness without them.

I realize this is something I need to work on. No matter what type of relationship you’re in, you should never rely on someone that much; to be the main source of your happiness. It puts too much pressure on them, it hurts you when you lose them and suddenly struggle to be happy and, honestly, it isn’t exactly healthy. Happiness should come from within you. Same goes for self-worth, which I also put in the hands of others too often. A friend told me that my affirmations of worth need to come from within me, not from other people. By doing that, it makes it easier for others to see how much value I truly have, instead of me struggling to find any value at all when relationships and friendships become complicated or confusing. I loved that advice. It was really eye-opening.

Obviously, I won’t be making any big mental changes in a day. I’ve had a lot of eye-opening moments recently and I still have a long way to go in becoming the person I want to be. But I wanted to try and remind myself that I can be happy no matter what life throws at me; no matter how lonely I feel sometimes, wishing I was in a committed relationship or missing my friends and family. So below, I wrote out a list of things that I can do to make me happy. As a reminder that I can, indeed, be happy alone. Might be cheesy, might be weird, that I’m posting this, but if I didn’t write this post, this list would never get written. And I think I need it.

So, without further ado:

Happiness To Me, From Me

  1. Trying out a new recipe.
  2. Cooking in general–and that full feeling you get after eating a good meal.
  3. Reading outside.
  4. Feeling the sweat drip down my face as I run.
  5. Getting my first dog someday.
  6. Buying a house! (I’m oddly really excited to do this.)
  7. Writing.
  8. Creating characters and worlds and challenges.
  9. Leveling up in a video game.
  10. Crossing things off of my To-Do List.
  11. Writing letters.
  12. Listening to a song that perfectly encapsulates your mood.
  13. That perfect fall weather.
  14. Wearing outfits that make me feel like a BAMF.
  15. Getting tattoos.
  16. A really hot bath.
  17. Finally working through that plot hole.
  18. Cliffhanger endings.
  19. Leaving the windows open during a thunderstorm.
  20. A clean house.
  21. Really good smelling candles.
  22. Eating popcorn and ice cream during a good movie.
  23. Buying a new outfit or book.
  24. Sleeping in on the weekend–or waking up feeling totally rested.
  25. Painting my nails.
  26. Nailing the side braid with my hair.
  27. Spending the entire day outside.
  28. Reading by the pool.
  29. Going on a walk without headphones and listening to nature.
  30. Having a really productive day.
  31. Clocking out before the weekend.
  32. Nerding out about Tolkien.
  33. Writing in coffee shops.
  34. Finally beating that boss (in video games) you’ve been stuck on for weeks.
  35. Decorating the home.
  36. Eventually planting my own garden!

I had no idea how long the list would turn out to be–and that’s just a list of things that I can do alone to create happiness for myself. It’s not complete. I’m sure there are other things I’ll think of. And that doesn’t even include things I can do with other people.  Don’t get me wrong: I really, really love hanging out with other people. And I love how much joy I get from spending time with those that mean the most to me. There’s no plan to stop doing that (though, as I’ve gotten a little bit older, I have found that those moments are harder to come by, so I’m alone more often than anything else). But I just wanted to write down something, to remind myself that while loving others and finding happiness with them is fantastic, that can’t be my only source. Instead, my main source has to come from me, so that no matter what I go through in life, I still know how to be happy–even if it’s hard sometimes.

Cheers.