Self-Care is NOT Optional

Once you’ve lost yourself, it’s incredibly difficult to be found.

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It’s too easy to let life take over and to let go of the progress you’ve made with yourself. While most people would not actively choose to forgo caring for themselves, shit happens. I’ve spent the entire year focusing on improvement and learning to love myself while making positive changes; that shit isn’t easy and it’s a long, difficult path to take, but a worthwhile one nonetheless.

Lately, I’ve been overburdened with two jobs, school, sick family members, stress, lack of a support system, and baby kittens; I’ve felt myself crumble under the impossible weight of these responsibilities and let go of one responsibility that should be my top priority:

Self-Care. 

If you’re struggling to care for yourself and you can feel yourself slipping into a downward spiral, take heart.

Things won’t get easier when you don’t care for yourself. You might feel as though you simply don’t have time to do things that make you feel better; I’ve been there, I get it. You cannot expect yourself to be able to handle everything that comes your way when you’re already feeling rather broken. It just won’t happen, or if by some miracle, you’re able to, you’ll end up in an even worse spot than where you started.

If you don’t make it a priority, no one else will. They won’t feel badly about adding more to your already full plate, because you’re not speaking out and telling them. Don’t expect the people in your life to be mind readers (even the best of them can’t know what you’re thinking), so tell them. Are you scared? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Are you nearing the point of no return? If that means an assignment goes in late or you have to call in; do it. You have to care for yourself. 

There’s no shame in taking a mental health day. So just take it. This is something I still struggle with; I feel as though I absolutely cannot call into work or take a day off from coursework, but I’m working on it. I choose to go to the gym to relieve stress before I feel like I’m losing myself instead of when I’m in the midst of it all.

The best kind of self-care is preventative care. Don’t wait until you’re already on the verge. Don’t wait until you’re so stressed out you feel like crying. Take an hour to yourself; whether you can only take a hot shower, paint your nails, sit in silence, whatever, just do it! You need it and your soul will thank you for it.

It’s not easy to find time to care for yourself, but it’s damn worth it. Write. Read. Take a long bath. Go for a walk. Find your inner peace in whatever way you can. Make time for it, even if that means you have to schedule “me time” for yourself each week. Do it and don’t feel guilty about it. You’re worth it.

-LP

 

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Letting Go of Who You Were: A Beginner’s Guide

Don’t let yourself slip between the cracks.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; life is hard. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day aspects of our lives and forget to allow ourselves time to reflect and grow. I’m guilty of it and I’m sure you are too, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change for the better, it just means that we’ve got to start that routine today.

  1. Be Kind to Yourself. It’s easy to look back at who we were and want to rip away the parts that don’t seem all that great. Just recently, I spent some time reminiscing on the teenage version of myself and I’m glad to say that I’m no longer that girl. It makes me cringe to think of who I used to be, but I know that 10 years from now I’ll be doing the same when I look at how I am today. It’s alright. We’re learning. Life is a process.
  2. Forgive Yourself. Don’t hold those awkward, embarrassing, painful, or even disappointing moments against your former self. Come to terms with the fact that you’ve made mistakes and realize that we all have. It’s natural and part of growing into a better version of ourselves.
  3. Forgive Others. The worst thing we could do is harbor resentment for those who have wronged us. It’s draining and quite frankly isn’t all that healthy either. Sure, your ex-boyfriend might have been a major mistake and he may have committed some terrible crimes against you; forgive him anyway. Let it go and hope that he’s moved on as well. Wish him well and say goodbye. It’s alright.
  4. Love Yourself Through the Crap. You’re going to keep messing up. You’re going to forget that you’re not meant to have it all together; that’s okay. You might get chubby. You could enter a marriage you were never supposed to be in. You could break a home and a heart, and move across the globe. It’s okay. Love yourself anyway. Love yourself through it all, even the bad parts.

Ultimately, our experiences shape us and without them we would never grow and change so accept the fact that you’re still learning and let go of the old versions of yourself, even the one from yesterday. You’re better than you were then and not as great as you’ll be tomorrow.

 

-LP

 

I’ll Pretend to Have All the Answers

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25 Things to Start Doing Today

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day and FLOSS. It’s important.
  2. Compliment a stranger. It can brighten their day.
  3. Hold the door open for the person behind you. 
  4. Take responsibility for your actions.
  5. Stop putting your career first. Your career is great, but so is having a life and appreciating time with your family and friends.
  6. Tell the one you love, you love them. Often.
  7. Express yourself with authority. If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, no one else will either.
  8. Declutter. You don’t need all of the possessions you’re holding onto. Getting rid of what doesn’t matter and keeping what does will change your life.
  9. Don’t be afraid to travel. Even if that means you’re going to do it broke.
  10. Care about something or someone more than yourself. Yes, cats count too.
  11. Spend time with your loved ones. They’re gone too soon.
  12. Cry when you’re sad and laugh when you’re happy. It’s okay to feel things. If you’re waiting for someone to tell you that, there ya go.
  13. Learn a new word each day and try to use it.
  14. Let go of the past. This includes old partners, bad habits, grudges, and even memories that hurt.
  15. Live in the moment, with a bit if caution. This is not a #YOLO type idea, what I mean is this: if you see a pretty sunrise, stop for a moment and enjoy it. If your family member is sick, call into work and spend the day with them, it’s worth it.
  16. There are a million reasons to not do something that’s a bit scary, focus on the reason you should. 
  17. Love yourself unconditionally, without being conceited.
  18. Love others unconditionally, without being foolish.
  19. Offer support to those around you. You never know how much they may need it and they may never ask for it.
  20. Ask for support when you need it. Life is hard and we can’t go through this alone.
  21. Don’t apologize if you don’t mean it. Unless you’re actually sorry, don’t say “I’m sorry.” Don’t apologize for being excited about something or for not knowing the answer, yet.
  22. Count your blessings. Use your fingers and toes.
  23. Say one nice thing about yourself each morning. It gets easier with practice.
  24. Never speak ill of your partner. Don’t let the last annoying thing they did, be your next topic of conversation with your friends.
  25. Don’t take yourself too seriously. We’re all still learning.

-LP

Life Update: LPA Got a Face Lift!

It’s been a while since I did an update on what’s going on in the life of Little Peb.

Let’s just say, things are getting crazy.

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Classes are in full-swing! And boy, am I swamped. I’ll be sharing some of the short stories that we’ve been reading throughout the course, so keep an eye out because there have been some amazing  authors I have had the pleasure of being introduced to and I just cannot keep their amazing pieces to myself. I have also encountered some absolutely mind blowing poetry in another course that will definitely be gracing the pages of LPA. It’s amazing how work that you wouldn’t have normally thought you’d find yourself interested in becomes so… life changing.

I’m going to Georgia! This gal, you know, the one who has never flown before, gets to head down south for 3 days of extensive training for work. I’m super excited to take my first flight and it’ll give me a bit of an idea in terms of what to expect when I take the long awaited flight to Finland. I’ll be down there to get some great insight on how to properly handle emergent cases and what truly qualifies as an emergency in the eyes of veterinary care. I’m super pumped for it.

Little Pebble’s Adventures got a facelift! I. AM. IN. LOVE. I cannot say enough good things about the amazing artist that was behind this work. If you guys are in need of any sort of branding, check out Krysten’s site by clicking here. Not only does Krysten create amazing, one of a kind, illustrative and design pieces, she is also an ethical taxidermist who creates adorable ensembles and truly gives these perished animals a new life of their own. All in all, she is an amazing artist and an absolute pleasure to work with; Krysten truly brings your ideas to life while adding her own, amazing, spin to it. So please, go check her out. You won’t be disappointed.

As I said, guys, life is getting crazy, but I’ll be trying to stay on top of it all while still posting weekly posts, so fret not. LP isn’t going anywhere!

-LP

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It’s Time to Grow Up

11 things I want to do before I turn 24

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  1. Get ONE piece published. Just one! I think that’s reasonable right?!
  2. Nurse some bottle babies. I cannot wait until Spring. Apparently, my office is notorious for getting litters of newborn kittens and we get to take a few home and nurse them throughout the night. The cat lady in me is about to die just thinking about some snuggly babes sleeping in their little kitty bed on my nightstand. *swoon*
  3. Get a massage. I’ve never gotten one and you know what, I’m freaking doing it. I’ve alway been hella nervous about being naked under nothing but a towel with some random person rubbing oil on my body… but I’m stressed to the max and I want something relaxing.
  4. Buy some “adult” clothing. I probably shouldn’t spend every day off in leggings or jeans and sweaters. I need something snazzy and something that I can be both comfortable and sassy in. I’m thinking dresses. Lots and lots of dresses.
  5. Get rid of all of my CRAP. I have an entire storage unit that I share with my dear old, soon-to-be ex-husband. I literally need none of it, but somehow it’s still there. I don’t need the baggage, I mean that both literally and figuratively. Looks like there’s gonna be a garage sale this summer! Come on by to purchase some old scratched and dented dreams.
  6. Learn enough Finnish to get by in Finland. Just a smidge! I need to know how to say “where’s the bathroom? Where’s the train? Can you take me here?” You know.. the basics.
  7. Get my passport. This is a necessary task in order to head on over to Finland. So this is a definite must.
  8. Buy myself a pretty necklace or ring. It’s been a while since I bought myself something beautiful. And I’m a fan of delicate, beautiful things. Unfortunately most of my jewelry box is filled with things I don’t want to keep and things I don’t wear. I need something new.
  9. Buy a sturdy piece of luggage. The few pieces I have are super heavy and bulky, all black, and one is actually broken! I need something new and snazzy if I’m going to be traveling back and forth between the mitten and Finland. Let’s be real here… I don’t need to lose all of my belongings on the trip over.
  10. Take a mini road trip on my own. I want to have fun and explore a new spot of Michigan on my own. I think it would be great to be able to spend a couple days on Mackinac Island or somewhere in the U.P. on my own. I’d get to experience different things that you can’t do when you go with another person.
  11. Have faith in myself. I want to stop questioning my every decision. I need to start feeling more solidified in my decisions and in my future.

I’ve got goalz, they may be far-fetched, but they’re mine.

-LP

Being Strong is for the Weak: How to Handle the Bad Days

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life is just so damn hard.

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I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve felt like life is getting the best of me; let’s just say, it happens enough for me to be pretty damn sick of it. But, I must admit, life has been pretty damn near perfection lately. That being said, I totally understand how it feels to be overcome with the feelings of despair and hopelessness. I’ve been there and I know how hard it can be to look on the bright side. Hell, sometimes there just isn’t a bright side!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, or just plain depressed, here are some tips for when the wind just won’t blow away the storm clouds that hover above:

Change it up. I know, I know. Change is basically the last thing you want to do when life is kicking you right in the (lady) balls, but if what you’re doing is not generative, does not make you feel happy, and gives you no sense of joy whatsoever, STOP DOING IT. Plain and simple.

Leave toxic people, thoughts, and situations in the dust. I mean it. If you’re around people who make you feel like crap or are just super negative, it’s not going to help you to feel any better about your situation. You might think that their negativity won’t rub off on you, or that you’re already so damn depressed that nothing can make it worse; you’re wrong. Even if you don’t realize it, their attitudes affect you. People and our surroundings truly affect us in unimaginable ways, so why not surround ourselves with positivity and a support system that is both generative and affects us in a positive way?!

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.

– Robert Tew

Give yourself the “OK” to be sad. You don’t have to be strong every moment of every day. You’re not a robot! And if you are then, hey there, you snazzy robot you, how the bleep bleep bloop is it goin’? Anyway, you’re human (I think) so allow yourself to be vulnerable and accept the fact that being broken is part of life.

As always, if you’re feeling blue or you need someone to talk to, do not hesitate to reach out.

You’ve got this!

-LP

You’re Babetastic

I’m the kind of gal who knows what she wants.

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I can write all about it. I’ll tell you how to touch me and where my soft spots are. I’ve got a heart and boy, I know how to let you grab ahold of it. It’s never been something that I kept secret, however it’s always been a bit too out of reach for most. I don’t want someone who merely plays the part of the perfect companion. I’m truly not interested in it; what I am interested in is having a person who loves me in a way that I didn’t know I wanted.

I’ve got that now.

I’ve got a guy who loves me in his perfect way. He sasses me back. He makes me smile. His heart is the heart I’m after and the one I want linked to mine. He is just wonderful and I’m feeling hella mushy today so… please excuse the mush overload that is known as this post.

When I met him, I realized I was wrong; having a creative partner is such an amazing and necessary experience. I never thought much of the fact that any person I had shared my time with wasn’t the “creative type.” It wasn’t ever an issue it was just fact. The one downside was that, if I shared anything with them, it always amazed them; now don’t get me wrong, I’m a gal who likes to woo with words, BUT it’s so wonderful to be able to discuss works in progress with my guy. I love that I can go to him with my thoughts or my struggles and he just gets it. He understands what it means to just want to be immediately amazing at your skill because he’s been there. He can vent his frustrations over his mix to me and I can truly sympathize with him. I can’t speak for my guy, but I’m so damn grateful for this creative and wonderful partner of mine.

He has shown me a different side of myself. I can accept that maybe all metal music isn’t half bad. “B” movies are pretty damn amazing to watch. I’m a morning person, at least when it comes to talking to him, I’ll happily wake up an hour earlier than necessary just to have my morning/his afternoon chats. I can push through hard times with a bit of encouragement, and by-golly, he gives it to me. He makes me feel like I can achieve my dreams and that they’re not too far fetched.

He keeps me grounded when times are hard. Just this past weekend I was stressing out over this little blog of mine; wondering if I could do it or not. I’ve been worried about what kind of writer I’m becoming, of what kind of person I’m trying to be… He asked the questions that forced me to reflect on what’s important to me, listened to me, and wrote down what I said to show me that I do know what I want and where I want to be. He does these little things without being asked, somehow he knows what I need.

His voice perks me right up. The sassy ghetto voice he does when he’s feeling silly. His fruity voice he does when he’s feeling a bit saucy. His super deep manly voice when he’s working real hard on asserting that masculinity of his. And his regular, wonderful sounding voice when I first hear it each morning. That initial “Hey, babe” melts my heart and instantly paints a smile upon my face; it makes me want to run out and buy up all the mistletoe I an find just to pull out a sprig anytime he walks by and plant a kiss on his cheek.

Also, he’s pretty damn babetastic. I mean… that doesn’t need any explanation.

Grow old with me, babe.

-LP

Find Your Voice

How cliché is that title?

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Pretty damn cliché, I know, but I’ve been spending the last month or so trying to write in a way that is marketable and not in a way that is genuine to myself. I’ve been editing myself down into this lackluster form instead of allowing this snazzy personality to shine. I’ve been wondering why I haven’t felt motivated to write, so I went to Youtube. I mean, who doesn’t like Youtube? (My mom, but that’s beside the point) I spent the last few hours watching people talk about their successes and failures, plus what you have to have in order to make it as a blogger. Every single one mentioned passion; so I found myself sitting here wondering why I feel like I have absolutely no passion to write, right now?

I know why.

I’ve been trying to sound more professional than like myself. Can’t I be sassy and fun while being a writer worth reading? I think so and if you don’t well… I guess that’s cool, too. You should still stick around and read what I have to say though!

In the last 1.5 months of writing on this little blog of mine, several hours of watching videos on blogging, and lots and lots of inspiration hunting, I’ve learned a few things:

  1. If you’re bored with what you’re writing about, don’t write about it. Pretty damn obvious, right? You’d think so, but when you’re trying to find content, you’ll write about anything! Or, you’ll end up not writing because you don’t know what to say or how to say it. I’ve been using the short story I’ve been working on as an excuse, but in all reality, I just haven’t had much to say lately. It’s been difficult because I have this innate desire to write, to share my thoughts, but trying to change into this strange form of myself has made me feel like an alien at the keyboard. I don’t know how to say what I want to discuss anymore because it feels so… unnatural. No more! I’m going to say what I want when I want and, by golly, you folks are just gonna have to like it. (Please don’t hate me! I’ve just got some sassy attitude brewing beneath the surface today.)
  2. Writing is hard work, even on the days you’re feeling super gung-ho and those fingers are itching to write; it’s still hard! It’s okay for it to feel difficult. It’s okay to feel have doubts and wonder if anyone is actually interested in what you have to say. If you’re not wondering then either you’re a super snazzy, hella popular blogger who just doesn’t give an eff, or you must not really be all that interested in what kind of affect you’re having (and if that’s the case, why are you writing at all?). It’s scary putting your thoughts out there for all of the inter webs to peruse through, believe me, I get it. But buck up, buddy, you can do it and you can do it well!
  3. Believe in yo’ self, foo! Don’t doubt that you can do it. Don’t think that just because you’re currently struggling, that you will struggle forever. You won’t! I promise. Stick with it; see it through. You’ll end up surprising yourself. If you’re willing to put in the hours of hard work, if you can push through this wall that you’re standing in front of; you will be rewarded! You’ll feel pretty damn great about yourself at the end of a hard day of writing. Genius takes time. We weren’t born able to walk let alone run, so why do we just expect to be amazing at any given skill the moment we put our mind to it? Because we’re impatient, imperfect creatures. It’s true, but writing takes practice and revision, then rewriting and some more revision. It’s part of that “romantic” process we all grew up thinking that writing was, but really… actually it isn’t all that romantic, after all.

All in all, be yourself. Use your voice; no one has the exact same view as you or lives the same life as you. You are so damn unique so embrace it and let that shine through in everything you do.

Keep fighting, we’ll make it!

-LP

P.S. Don’t worry, this might be a post about things I’ve learned, but you’re still getting the weekly blog post of “Things I Learned This Week” tomorrow!

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I Crave the Breeze

I’ve noticed as we grow, we try to tame the wild parts of ourselves.

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I realized this fact, yet again, as I was looking at myself in the mirror this morning, running my fingers through the halo of messy brown hair framing my bare face. At 15, I let the curls do their thing, but now I wake up early to smooth them into a more respectable form; I spend 10 minutes applying makeup to this face in order to “accentuate my features.” I spend a majority of my morning trying to transform into a version of myself that I’ve somehow grown into.

Why is it that as we age we feel the need to be tame? Is that just me? Surely, I cannot be the only one who feels like I’ve let go the colorful and crazy pieces of themselves. I was so eager to grow up; I wanted to have the freedom that came along with adulthood, but I didn’t realize how much would change and how quickly. I can’t stay up on the phone until 6 am and roll out of bed at 7 for work without looking and feeling like a zombie. It’s no longer “appropriate” to wear bright blue nail polish and 5 friendship bracelets on one wrist. I can’t even remember the last time I spent an entire day dancing around and eating chips by the handful without a care in the world. When did I last run for fun and not exercise? When’s the last time I spent the entire day in bed with a book and didn’t feel guilty about it? I still remember illegally piercing my cartilage at 15 and hiding it from my mother; over a year ago, I removed that little token of defiance. I think it’s time to put it back in.

But, now I actually separate my wash into lights and darks. I know how to properly iron a pair of trousers and tie the perfect Windsor knot (thanks dad!). I have to file taxes and pay bills. I realize how expensive gas is and why people complain about utilities; I can hold my own in debates about politics, religion, and culture, but truth is, I still know more about Harry Potter than I’d like to admit. I still toy with the idea of painting my toenails blue and when I’m feeling extra saucy I wear an anklet in the summer. Crazy, I know. I just wish I had realized how quickly life goes by; my dad always said that once you leave high school, time flies by. I always laughed at the thought, but as I walked across the stage at my high school commencements, I realized that I was closing another chapter and moving to the next.

On thanksgiving morning, I looked at myself in the mirror before walking out the door. I turned my head from left to right, pushed a strand of perfectly straightened, short, brown hair behind my ear, and looked into my spectacle framed eyes. I sighed when I realized that I’m no longer seventeen. Now let me explain; I don’t feel old, but I just caught a glimpse at myself and I look so different. I have faint wrinkles around my eyes when I smile and I wear diamond studs, glasses, and I do my hair and makeup each day. I don’t recognize myself. When I think about what I look like, I still imagine myself at seventeen. I still imagine the long wavy brown hair and the young, innocent chocolate eyes I once had. I don’t know when life morphed into this entirely new chapter, but the page turned so quickly, I must not have had the chance to notice this time.

-LP

Welcome Home

I dream of the simple life.

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When you ask someone about their dream home, generally they’ll tell you how many bedrooms and bathrooms they want. They’ll tell you how they want their bathroom to be dripping with marble; they want walk in closets and cathedral ceilings. Now this isn’t true of everyone, but so many focus on the structure of the home instead of what you feel upon entering. Ask my mother, she could go on for hours about the number of bedrooms and every little design aspect.

Don’t get me wrong, I have some aesthetics in mind; I want a fireplace to curl up in front of in the living room and a window over the kitchen sink to peek out of while the children play outside. I have plenty of little desires when it comes to our home. I’ve always dreamed of a lush peony bush on the side of our cozy home and a front porch to sit on after the sun has gone down. I’ve got those plans, you know, the ones that you’ve secretly been storing away for “someday.” Plans that make your heart smile and you hope are more than wishes; maybe, just maybe, they are premonitions. At least I hope so.

It’s essential to create a home and not simply live in a house. Create a safe haven. Make your home somewhere you want to spend your days in. If you love paintings, hang them. If you can’t spend a single day without listening to music, play it loudly and dance around to it. Do what makes you happy and make your house into a home for yourself. Believe me, we will have Motown playing on Sundays; we’ll have pictures on the wall and fluffy rugs on the floor. You’ll be able to look around and see that the place you just entered is more than someone’s house; it’s a home.

I want that little home; I want it to be filled with love and happiness. I want to decorate the walls with pictures of the happy family that resides within and cover the fridge with drawings that flowed from precious little hands and notes from the one I love. There will undeniably be stacks of books on the coffee table and piles of blankets in little wooden baskets by the sofa we snuggle on. I long to have the kind of home that shows a family lives there. I wish for it to be filled with smiles that broke into laughter, hugs, and bedtime stories. I want soft moments to be a daily experience and for disagreements to be things that bring us together instead of tear us apart. Sure, maybe it’s childish to have these dreams, but I promise you, I’m not walking through life with my eyes closed.

I know life will be hard and days won’t always be as sunny and cheerful as I’d like. I can accept that, but I’ve always had a bit of a childlike side to myself, so I’m going to walk into the future with these dreams and pray they become reality. I’ll get that peony bush one day, I swear.

-LP