An Open Letter to My Future Self:

Hey there stranger,

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I’m writing you because I want you to remember that, once upon a time, you felt confused. I want you to look around your life right now and realize how truly blessed you are. Look in the eyes of those you love today and understand what it took for you to get to this moment. I want you to take in every single second of today and be thankful for it. Remember that not so long ago, you were this 23 year-old girl who diligently grasped at your dreams and decided to be fearless. This girl, the one that you see when you look in old photographs; she is the reason you are surrounded by love and joy.

I want you to remember every scary moment you’ve faced, even the ones that I don’t realize I’m talking about yet. Wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug; believe me, we both need it. You need to thank the girl that got you to where you are and I need that damn hug. I need to be told that even when frightening situations come my way, we’ll make it through. I need to know that all of these major life decisions that I’m making are not in vain. I know that you already know that; you may have known for quite some time, but on this side of time, I still feel a bit overwhelmed.

If you’re not writing or living life like you want to be, I’m sorry. I did the best I could, sometimes that wasn’t much. Realize that we’ve failed in certain respects, but excelled in others. Are you happy? Does he still have that cute nickname for you? When’s the last time you were kissed? Are you a wife or a mother? Do you own 50 cats? Are you still spunky and outgoing or have you traded in the attitude for something a bit more calm? Can you look back on the time between now and then and smile at the memories? I hope you can. I’m on my knees praying that I’ve given you the best life I can. Please know that. Know that I’m working hard and I won’t give up.  We deserve a life filled with joy and peace; I’ll work diligently until my future /your present is something we can be proud of.

I look forward to meeting you when you pass by a mirror today; the reflection may have changed, but know that I’m still there. This girl who is all elbows and worried thoughts was once the entirety of who you were. Put on some mismatched, colorful socks today and smile at your aged reflection; pretend that it’s me smiling at you from where I am, because it is.

Sincerely,

-LP

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Take a Load Off

You Deserve Peace.

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If you’re fighting through something or you are facing adversity, you are not alone. Know that and let that sink in. There are millions of us feeling the same way as you. I know how easy it is to feel alone when you feel like the bad guy, or if you feel like you deserve to feel like crap. You don’t. I promise you, you don’t.

I came across this poem by Najwa Zebian that is honestly just fitting my life right now and I think you folks will enjoy.

these mountains that you are

carrying,

you were only supposed to

climb.

How beautiful is that? I mean truly. We all have some sort of burden that we carry with us and sometimes it’s insanely hard to escape the reality that we need to let it go. Sometimes we feel as though it’s our job, it’s our cross to bear, but that’s not always true.

We are not Atlas. We don’t need to carry the world upon our shoulders. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed; if you’re feeling like you’ve got too much to handle, maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at the situation from another point of view. Maybe you were only meant to face these problems, not carry the burden of them with you. You deserve peace. You deserve joy. You deserve to feel happy and free. Regardless of where you are in life or of what you’ve done; you do not deserve to spend your life unhappy.

If you’ve made the hard decisions; you are brave. If you made the easy ones; you are human. If you’re facing hard times; you’ll become stronger. If you’re feeling alone, please know that you’re not. If there are consequences to deal with, deal with them. The repercussions may be great, but that doesn’t mean you cannot handle them. You can handle this. Have faith.

Take some time and forgive yourself, because if you don’t you won’t find peace. Sometimes it’s better to hurt someone than to keep living a lie. Sometimes it’s better to let go than it is to hold on. It might not seem like it at first, but give yourself some time and the truth will be revealed. Sometimes the hard decisions are the ones that need to be made. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but a necessary one nonetheless.

Darling, just love yourself. Love others. Love life. Just Love.

-LP

P.S. If you’re interested in reading more poems by Najwa Zebian and supporting a starving blogger, like myself, click the link below and check out The Nectar of Pain.

One Day, I’ll Forgive Myself.

Today was supposed to be my first wedding anniversary.

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Instead I’m alone and it hurts to say that it’s because I’m choosing to be. Life would be so much damn easier if I loved him. It really would be. I tried for so long. I put in so much work. I cut off pieces of myself so I could fit into the little spot he had for me. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, I wasn’t happy. I tried tricking myself and it backfired. I tried fixing an already broken relationship with marriage (don’t ever do that, take my word for it).

Today I’m hurting.

I’m hurting because I know I’m hurting someone else. I’m hurting because I know how much it sucks to lose someone that you love. I’m hurting because it sucks having to be the bad guy. It sucks when your reaction to someone crying is to hug them and tell them you take it back, but you know you can’t do that. Not again. It hurts knowing that I’m making the right decision even though it’s the hard one. It just fucking hurts.

My heart is aching. I’ve never had to wound someone in such a terrible way and this was never my intention. I went into this marriage promising to stick it out no matter what, promising to love him no matter what, promising that I wouldn’t let go. I made so many damn promises that I just cannot keep and it kills me. It’s terrible to know that I lied to someone like that. I knew I couldn’t keep them. I knew it but I still let him offer me his heart and I gave them a tiny, barely there, sliver of mine.

It’s not fun knowing that you’ll always be the villain when they tell the story of their life. Knowing you’ll be the person their future children will wonder about is hard. The thought of the nights they’ll spend alone because of you is heartbreaking. I never meant for this to happen. I didn’t know that the pieces of myself that I had removed so damn carefully could grow back. But they did.

They grew back and I’m back to who I always was. I’m back to the person I had left behind because I was trying to play the part he had for me. I swear I memorized those damn lines. I did. I walked the walk and I talked the talk. I put in all the time and energy I could, but how can you pour out more from a cup that’s empty?

My cup is parched. It’s damn near bone dry. And I’m so sorry. It’s a hard reality to face knowing that you’re breaking up a family and sending them back to a place they thought they were done with. Back into the dating pool. Back to needing a date for weddings. Back to spending Christmases alone. I’m ruining a life he had planned for us and I know it.

But what can I do?

Am I supposed to pretend that it’s okay? Am I supposed to act like these changes he wants to make for me are good enough? That’s the worst part. He’s willing to change. He’d give it all up for me, but it’s still not enough. How terrible is that? He just isn’t it for me. My God, that’s a terrible realization.

I should have known.

He’s a good guy, he is. He’s nice and he cares about me. He loves me more than I love him and I thought I’d be okay with it, but I’m not. I signed my name on that damn dotted line and thought that guilt would never hit me in the chest like a freight train, but I was wrong. I was so wrong.

A year ago today, I was so damn terrified to walk down the aisle that I could have thrown up. I should have turned around, ripped that damn dress off of myself, and ran down the street. I wasn’t strong enough. I can admit that. I’m stronger today. I’m stronger because I told him I wanted a divorce and I let him cry alone and didn’t console him even when I wanted to. I wanted to take away the pain I had caused. I never meant to bring that into his life.

Yesterday I told him flat out that I want a divorce. Before I had just said I needed space. When I told him, I was greeted with yelling and pure rage. Which I suppose I deserve… I understand why his words came out like knives. Why I saw pure hatred in his eyes when he looked at me. Why his voice broke when he told me all he wants is a family with me; when I told him I need more than that.I knew I had it coming. I knew I deserved it. I feel terrible for making him deal with the pain I’ve caused.

What makes it worse is that I’m in love. As  much as it hurts me to hurt him, I’m in love. I am in love.

Does that make me a terrible person?

Probably.

But he makes every love song have meaning. He’s taught my heart something entirely new. He inspires me. I want to cry when I think about how full my heart is because of him. He doesn’t ask me to cut away parts of myself to fit into his plans. There’s no script to memorize with him. I wish I had known he was coming… Maybe then I really would have ran down those church stairs, hopped on a plane, and into his arms. Maybe then, today would have just been the day I almost got married.

If only.

-LP

Focus on the Motive not Motivation

What is your driving force?

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If you’re rooting your actions, thinking, etc. in something as weak as some feeble motivation, prepare to lose it. Have you tried starting a diet, making a lifestyle change, learning to recycle, etc.? Odds are, you lost motivation half way through. I get it. I’m the same way. The excitement that gives you initial inspiration quickly fades away and you’re left wondering why the hell you started this to begin with.

Find your Motive.

What is the reasoning behind your actions? Be honest with yourself. Personally, I’ve found that extraordinarily hard to do. I like to kid myself and say that I’m choosing to do whatever I’m doing based on something smart or sparking change or whatever, which isn’t always true. Half the time I’m doing something because of how it makes me feel. It may make me feel smarter; it may spark a change within myself, but that’s not the driving force behind my actions. I am. That might sound hella selfish and self-centered, but the biggest disservice you can give yourself is to pretend that you’re not a selfish creature.

We all are. And that’s okay.

Embrace the crap out of the fact that you should be driving yourself, but don’t simply find inspiration within. Let your world inspire you; let it give you motivation, but take that one step further. Once you have the motivation to begin, ask yourself “why?”

This will help you to determine if whatever task at hand is actually doable for you. Don’t waste your time on odd jobs, projects, or people that don’t inspire you. It’s a waste of your time and a waste of theirs. It’s easy to fall into the rut of sticking with things that you’re indifferent to. I know that from experience. I let the winds of the world sway me into things that I didn’t really love; things that I was just “okay” with. It took me a long time to finally realize that I had lost that creative flame that burned inside of me. I had snuffed it out by piling on things that the old, excitable, creative version of myself wouldn’t have given a second thought.

I became a person who just existed. A person who had motivation to do these lame tasks, but always ended up giving up because I didn’t have any meaning behind it, any reasoning; I was lacking motive. Passing time isn’t a good enough reason to do something. If you need to earn money to pursue your passion; Work that shitty job. Live in that tiny apartment. Eat those damn potatoes for every meal. Just do it and remember why you are. You’re dealing with the crap now so you can bask in the glow of your dreams. Follow them. Find the meaning behind them. Find your purpose. Just do it.

It won’t be easy. Quite frankly, if you’ve lost your drive for life, it’s going to be a massive pain in the ass to find it again. Just do it. Seriously. It’s so damn worth it. As cheesy as it sounds, follow that damn heart of yours. It’s truthful and worth the risk.

Always keep searching.

-LP

Enjoying the Day-to-Day

When I was working at Dairy Queen I felt constantly stressed and unhappy. The job itself was great, I mean who doesn’t like making ice cream? I had worked at multiple Dairy Queen stores and I really really enjoyed it. I had a great boss and coworkers; even though I didn’t have a relationship with them outside of work, work was fun and stress free. I mean, we basically sell happiness in a cup. Unfortunately, when I moved back home from Eastern Michigan University, my new store wasn’t as welcoming. I definitely learned to get over it and I even made some fantastic friends that I love more than anything, but all in all, I hated it there. There were a few people that made my job miserable and having a new boss that doesn’t do anything about problems, does not help. After exhausting my resources available to me for conflict resolution, I decided to leave, at least for the time being, namely because I just could not deal with the stress of nursing school and catty coworkers. It just made life easier.

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It’s been almost exactly 1 month since I left DQ and I already feel so much better. The constant unhappiness and stress has faded away as a distant memory and I can talk about Dairy Queen without feeling like I’m going to crawl out of my skin. I have come to realize that life will never be stress-free, but if you are in a situation that makes you constantly unhappy, you need to get yourself out of there! I became a completely different person while working at DQ, and it wasn’t someone that I liked being.

Here are some tips and tricks I use (and I’m still trying to perfect) to help you enjoy the day-to-day:

1. Leave the stress at the door. Work is stressful. School is stressful. Traffic is stressful. Everything is stressful. If you weren’t stressed out, you wouldn’t be alive. When you come home after having a horrible day at work, or you fail an exam, it’s okay to be upset. You can cry and you should. Let the stress out and deal with it, but do not bring it home. Do not lash out at those that love you and want to be there for you. They want to help, so let them.
2. Focus on the good. Look at the stress in your life, the failures you’ve encountered, the promotions you didn’t get as opportunities to learn more and do better. Don’t beat yourself up! To err is human. And we are so far from perfect, even if we pretend we aren’t. Even if we try to be, we fail.
3. Let go & pray. Don’t knock it ’til you try it, my friend. Honestly though, take some quiet time to yourself and look inward. Look at who you are and what’s happening around you. Focus on the good in life (as difficult as that may be) and take some long deep breaths. Meditate, breathe deeply, just focus on what you’re feeling and allow yourself to feel it, guilt free. It’s okay to be upset, unhappy, overwhelmed; it’s okay to need to look to something or someone else for a bit of reassurance. The quiet time will help and guide you back to the happiness you seek. Take a few moments and try. You just might be surprised at how much it truly helps to calm you down and help you through it.

For those of you dealing with a stressed out partner, realize that as much as you might want to help, or as much as you want to get to the bottom of why your significant other feels the way they do, give them space. (At least for a little while) Then go to them, express how you are feeling about the stress they are dealing with and listen to them with open ears. Avoid asking “why?” as it can make a person feel as though they have to defend their feelings and justify them and they might not even really know the reason behind their emotions. That is for them to wrestle with and figure out; you can still be there though, just go to them with open and understanding, nonjudgmental arms. Odds are, they want a hug and someone to talk to.  🙂

As crappy as the day may seem, you will have better days! You will probably have some more not so great ones too, but try to look on the bright side of life and find things that make you feel better. I am a HUGE fan of long showers, listening to music, going for a nice drive, or focusing on things like homework to get my mind off of what’s bothering me until I feel like I am ready to deal with it with a level head. It isn’t easy. I lose my cool, but it’s something I’m working on and something that I encourage you to work on as well! Choose joy. Choose peace. Choose happiness. Choose to be optimistic even when you do not feel like it.

There are some circumstances in which a person is genuinely depressed and those people should seek help. Remember, if someone is coming to you with their sorrow, it’s probably hard for them to do so, so allow them to express how they are feeling and offer some support even if its awkward or uncomfortable for you.

If you, or anyone you know feels as if they are in the midst of a crisis, please take the appropriate measures. Call the completely free hot-line: 1 (800) 273-8255 if you are located in the United States, because you matter. These people who man the phones at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will talk with you, listen to you, and help. You are not alone.

-LP