12 Bad Habits Not To Take With You Into 2018

Tree For All Seasons 2007 John Newcomb (b.20th C./American) Acrylic on canvas

As the time is winding down, we begin to reflect on this past year. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the sad. Tragedies, such as domestic terrorism, devasting natural disasters, and modern-day slavery has turned our world upside down. The great news is, in less than 24 hours, we’ll have the chance to start a new year with new hopes and dreams. It may be difficult at first since but change never happens overnight. Change will be something that we would have to work at everyday that we are blessed to wake up.

Below is a list of bad habits that you may have developed during this trying year that you may want to keep in 2017 and not carry with you into the new year.

  1. tumblr_llpiownyoe1qznniio1_250Taking things personally: You must know that not everything is about you. For instance, if someone is having a bad day and they become irritated with you, most likely, their attitude has nothing to do with you. We all go through things and process them differently. It may be a little upsetting, but now is the time for understanding each other more. Learn to just let it go.
  2. poster-die-vergangenheit-festhalten-1374533Holding on to the past: Personally, this is easier said than done. The best way to begin moving on from your past is to forgive the person or situation that is holding you back. Whoever wronged you, forgive them. You’re not forgiving them for their sake, but for your sake. When you forgive, you find peace. That person no longer has a hold on you or your thoughts.
  3. 18Spending most of your free time on Facebook: Facebook is a great social media outlet for people to connect all over the world. Unfortunately, Facebook has a way of making one feel spiritually and emotionally drained. Between online trolls (people who purposely make accounts to be mean and hateful) and “the world is ending” status updates, it’s easy to get caught up in the drama. You see so many posts on destruction and chaos all over the world and the human psyche wasn’t meant to be exposed to so much trauma at once. Personally, I no longer have a facebook account for this very reason. I was checking it constantly. When I would finally log off for the day, I would feel angry, anxious, nervous, worried, everything but entertained. I had to let it go. I haven’t checked Facebook in four months and I feel a difference. I believe it has honestly helped with my depression.
  4. stress3Over-stressing: Stress serves zero purposes to your life. Stressing is a complete waste of time. I used to think stress was apart of life, but it doesn’t have to be. What has helped with lowering my stress is believing that all of my problems are in the hands of God. Troubles will arise in my life, but I know that I have help. I know that when those bad things do happen, I will have the strength and integrity to get through them. When you believe in the power of a Higher Power, one’s life struggles becomes easier to deal with.
  5. sleepprimary_0Sleeping in late: Have you heard that expression “the early bird gets the worm”? Apart of being happy is being productive and keeping yourself busy. If you sleep most of the day away, you are giving yourself less time to be productive. Use that time to complete a task that is on your to-do or use that time to meditate. 
  6. Fueling drama: When you allow yourself to instigate drama, you are starting 61d4bfaab2ae94724ba3ddf7ffb273dfan endless cycle of negative energy. This negative energy will stay with you. Next thing you know, you’ll find yourself involved drama that has nothing to do with you. This will then turn you into a toxic person; someone who cannot live without drama. 
  7. healthy-dietHaving a poor diet: You are what you eat. Oh, how I miss the juicy taste of a beef burger or the incredible flavor of triple chocolate fudge cake covering my tastebuds. Over the past year, I’ve had to make major changes to my diet. My kids say I eat like our pet Guinea pig since my diet mostly consists of fruits and vegetables. Eating healthy promotes good physical and mental health. Take time out to learn about ways to improve your diet. You may not have to eat like a Guinea pig, but replacing fries with carrots would be in your best interest.
  8. f8c05617bba402dfddb8a3471cb39897Complaining all of the time: Do you know that your words have power. When I was younger, I remember my mom always saying that you can speak things into existence. I’ve found out the hard way that this is one hundred percent true. If you complain all of the time, then you are creating a mindset that will always see the bad in any situation your life. When you complain, you are reiterating to your brain that what you are saying is true. Instead of complaining about your situation, try finding what you can be grateful for. For instance, if you lost your car, you can say that at least your helping save the ozone layer until you are able to get another one. That may sound a little corny, but once you begin to train your thoughts to see the good, it’ll eventually become as easy as breathing.
  9. DruckOverthinking: Overthinking leads to negative thoughts. Negative thoughts can lead to stress. Stress can lead to severe depression and anxiety. I remember being so mad at my husband over a misunderstanding. I allowed my thoughts to overshadow the possibility that it was a misunderstanding. By the time he would ask me, whats wrong, I had already made up in mind everything that he had done before he was able to explain himself. This leads to a lot of confusion and dysfunction. Don’t allow yourself to overthink a situation. If you find yourself overthinking, replace it with reading a book or meditation. You can call a friend to get advice or simply let it go until it presents itself again.
  10. 11GossipingSimply, mind your business. Spreading gossip about someone is one of the worst things you can do. Everyone has problems. Everyone has stuff going on. How would you feel if you found out someone was spreading gossip about you? Oh, they have? Well, don’t stoop to their level. When someone gossips, they are telling more about themselves than they are the other person. It says they do not respect the privacy of others and what they may be going through. We should all pray for each and be supportive towards one another during our hard times. Life would be so much easier.
  11. great-live-in-the-moment-quotes-64-on-beautiful-quotes-with-live-in-the-moment-quotesNot living in the moment: Every day is a gift. It’s like one of my favorite quotes says “The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present” by Alice Morse Earle. If you are struggling with depression or any kind of illness, the 24 hours in your day may seem very long and dark. Even if you have to live hour to hour, minute to minute, appreciate each breath that you take. You are here for a reason. You woke up this morning for a reason. You may not know that reason yet, but have confidence that one day it will be revealed, but you must push forward. Everything counts, no matter how big or small.
  12. hug4Trying to please others: If you think that you can please everyone, you are mistaken. Humanity is not perfect. It is physically impossible to make everyone happy while trying to be happy yourself. Live your best life the best way you know how. If there is someone in your life that is displeased with your decisions, simply remind them that you are living for you and if you are unhappy then no one around you will be happy. Living your best life is the only way.

I would like to wish each and every one of you the best success is 2018. You are wonderful. You are loved. You are beautifully made. Have a very Happy New Year from my family to yours.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” -Neil Gaiman

 

Turning Tragedy Into Triumph: How To Live Your Best Life Amid Turmoil

It’s 1pm and my house is completely quiet right now, which is unusual since the kids are on Christmas break. They are sound asleep because we allowed them to stay up until 5 o’clock this morning  (a luxury only given during prolonged school breaks). Even our pet Guinea pig, Sasha, is quietly nestled under her pink, plastic hut. Meanwhile, I’m comfortably sitting on my sofa enjoying the sweet smell of pomegranate oil and the soothing, soft glow from my candles. 

The reason for this rare, joyous occasion is our internet is down due to the extreme cold in my area. I am literally forced to become disconnected from the world. I am left to come up with other ways to entertain myself or keep myself busy. I now realize how dependent I’ve become on the internet. It makes me feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I’ve been able to get back to doing things I used to love, like handwriting this blog post or reading a paperback book. It forgot the wonderful scent of stale paper from a paperback book, especially a classic. Sad feeling because I am a little ashamed of how I’ve allowed the world to influence so much of my life. It would explain a lot actually.

This time of reflection has gifted me with the ability to share with you guys ways we can turn our tragedies into triumphs. I’ve discussed before ways that you can look at the bright side of any situation, but this is more specific. I used to ask myself, when will this all end? When will the suffering stop? I’ve come to the conclusion that it will never stop. There will always be pain. There will always be suffering. The only action that you can control is how you react to unfortunate circumstances that may occur in your life.

I figure the best way to live your best life during tragedies is to turn them into triumphs. Imagine dancing in the rain during the worst storm of your life. This is turning tragedy into triumph and here is how you can.

  • Embrace Your Journey: Sometimes, the things we want to hurt the most. When going through a traumatic moment in life, we tend to feel sorry for ourselves. It’s normal. Our brains are just trying to make sense of it all, but you have to know that your journey is NOT your destination. Example: Let’s say you have a goal of climbing Mount Everest. There is so much training and preparation that one would have to achieve in order to make it to the top; condition training, physical and mental training, planning the route, knowing the terrain and weather condition, etc. It is a lot of hard work. A mountain climber wouldn’t complain about the journey he/she has to take to make it. They just do it. They know that once they make it to the top and look down at the world, the journey was well worth it.
  • Acknowledge that what you are going through will not last forever: Everyday that we wake up, we have a choice to fight depression, anxiety, heartache, loss, illness, etc. Making that choice will lead you to your desired destination. I’m sure we’ve all heard that saying, “The best part about hitting rock bottom is the only destination from there is up.”
  • Look forward to the future: Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING last forever (well maybe McDonald’s french fries and roaches). What you are going through will not last forever. Imagine how it’s going to feel when you finally reach the top of your mountain. I’ve learned to always look up at my destination and NEVER look down at my past. Looking up only gives you the motivation to continue the climb to the top.
  • It is ok to NOT understand: There are things you may not understand about your journey until you have endured it, suffered through it, cried through it, made mistakes in it, had setbacks in it, almost collapse in it, almost ran from it, etc. Experience has a way of making us stronger and more resilient. So, if ever you were to experience tragedy again, you are better equipped to deal with it. If you are reading this, you are stronger than you were yesterday. You chose to get up and do something. I’m proud of you!
  • Tribulation will teach you patience: The worse part of my journey is being patient. I know great things are ahead. I know that my circumstances will get better, but I am the kind of person that has always lacked patience. This journey is teaching me that all great things come to those who are patient enough to push through. I like to read inspirational stories about people who never gave up because if they can be strong, then I know I can as well.
  • Embrace your experiences: Experiences are important because the experience will give you hope and if you have hope, you have access to the universe. There will be times when you feel like you will never move past your circumstances, but if you continue on your journey and don’t give up, it will get better. Your circumstances will change. When you have experience, you will no longer endure being drug into moments of hopelessness and despair. You’ll know through experience that God has your back and will bring you out of it, as He has done so many times before.
  • Acknowledge the darkness only to conquer it: There is a darkness lingering around humanity. Negative energy is so powerful because it is easy to give into our dark desires; drugs, alcohol, hate, fear, anxiety. If we acknowledge the presence of negative energy, then we are able to fight it, not sit in it. Example: If you are aware that you have diabetes and still choose to eat sweets, then you are giving in to the desire of the disease, hence becoming sick. If you are aware that you have diabetes and you choose to eat right and take the proper medications, then you will feel better.
  • Stand strong in the fire: The fighting process gives you the drive and commitment to stand the pressure. The most dangerous thing is achieving a goal that you didn’t deserve because the process prepares us for the power that you need to stand your ground and never let it go. When you fight for what you want, you won’t let anyone take it from you.
  • Believe in Gods promise for you: Your enemies want you to be stuck in a situation that is beneath the promise God has in store for you. Your enemies do not want you to succeed, but God’s greatest presence is when all hell is breaking loose. I am living breathing walking proof of this fact. Click the link to read how God appeared to me while I was having thoughts of suicide and self-loathing here, Letting Go, Letting God. God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. He also promises that we will live eternally through Jesus’ name. That all of our worries will be accounted for and dismissed. Believe that your life is not meant to stay in turmoil, but yet it’s meant for all things great and wonderful. “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” -Psalm 62:8

Tragedies are hard to get through, especially when the “light at the end of the tunnel” seems so far away. No matter what anyone says, you can turn your tragedies into spectacular wonders and blunders to tell future generations. Allow your journey to be a life lesson for yourself and for other people. Remember, great warriors always have the best stories to tell.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”-Albert Camus

 

5 Pros to Hair Loss

91809d4bac33b427373e720b8b1ffcea-treatment-for-thinning-hair-hair-loss-treatment.jpgSince my battle with Lupus began, one of the symptoms that I have been experiencing is  “unexplained hair loss”, according to my rheumatologist. I’ve shaved my head completely bald twice in 12 months because my hair follicles just weren’t holding onto my scalp any longer.

This was something that I was extremely ashamed and embarrassed about. I began to feel like my husband wasn’t going to be attracted to me anymore, but that wasn’t the case. He has been so supportive by reassuring me every day that he would never find me unattractive.

My hair has since grown back but has recently begun falling out again. I’ve begun researching natural remedies to stimulate hair growth and I’m quickly finding out how tedious this process is becoming. There are so many products, it’s hard to know which ones would really work, but I’m on a mission so I can’t give up. While I’m figuring all of that out, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t allow my mind to slip back into a dark place filled with self-pity and turmoil. I decided to think about how losing your hair can be awesome.

5 Pros to Hair Loss

  1. I use less shampoo and conditioner. I love that I use less shampoo and conditioner because my family won’t go through it so quickly. It saves money and time spent in the store. I’m all for saving both.
  2. Shaving your head bald actually feels awesome. I loved it when the cool breeze would kiss the top of my head and the deep scalp massages my husband gave. It was so relaxing. It helped calm me during severe anxiety attacks.
  3. Now, I have a legitimate reason to buy wigs and not feel guilty about it. Before when I had healthy hair, the idea of buying a wig was frivolous. I would always think of what else I could have bought with the money, but I was also envious of women who were brave enough to wear stylish wigs without worrying about the judgment of others. Now I feel like I’m going bald and I want to look cute, so I need a wig.
  4. Wigs are awesome. They even have stylish wigs for men AND you can’t even tell it’s a wig! I mean, men have been wearing wigs for centuries, but modern day wigs can blend into your scalp. It’s a perfect illusion. You can get short, long, straight, curly, updo, down-do, course, thin, thick….it’s endless.
  5. I know that I am more than my hair. I am more than my skin color. I am more than society’s projection of perfection. I am loved. I am wonderful. I am beautifully made. Hair or No Hair. I am Ashley.

If you’re experiencing hair loss or any physical issues, YOU ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL. The world’s perception of you is not God’s perception of you. He thinks you’re wonderful. You were made in His image and He makes NO mistakes.

“Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that’s when you’re most beautiful.” -Zoe Kravitz

Who’s Ashley?

smiley-face-question-mark_556117Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve read a lot of post about personal growth. I mean, it’s the end of the year, so I’m sure it is only appropriate for people to share how awesome this past year has been for them. I was trying to think of what I could write for a “2017 End of the Year Wrap-Up” blog, but honestly, I’m having a hard time coming up with a post. It’s not that I do not have anything great to say about this past year. It’s probably because it would force me to think about situations that I would prefer to not think about right now. My emotional and spiritual healing just isn’t in the place that I can share the ups and downs of 2017 and not cry uncontrollably while logging off. It feels a little pathetic admitting that, but it is what it is.

So, instead of letting you guys know about how my year has been (since I kind of do that on every blog post), I would like to share with top secret information about yours truly, only told to a selected few. Let’s go!

5 Not-So-Known-Facts About Me (Ashley)

I am an extremely private person

drkwgThis may sound crazy because I have shared so many intimate details of my life for you guys to read. Honestly, every time I’ve posted a story about what I’ve been through, I’ve gotten extremely anxious and fearful. Then, I think about how many people are going through the same circumstances. For such a long time, I felt alone. I thought that I was the only one going through a hard time; the black sheep. This past year, I’ve quickly learned that I’m not alone and the number of people going through turmoil is astronomical. The fear of judgment and anxiety is not as strong as my desire to help broken people, like me. So, I choose to push forward. Luckily, you guys have been awesome and supportive.

I Iove playing tricks on my husband and kids

pointinglaughingemojiI don’t play mean tricks, just “payback” tricks. For example, I love LifeSavers mints. Not just any mint, specifically, Wint-O-Green flavored. Shamefully, this addiction has caused a couple of cavities. Anyway, I love putting the mint wrappers in my husbands’ clothes and shoes. So later, when he puts on his favorite sweatpants, all he’ll hear is the soft crumble of the wrapper. And there are so many of them. I’ll put at least ten mint wrappers in his pockets. It’s awesome! He’s always so annoyed by it. Afterwards, you’ll find me snickering in the corner like, “Oh yeah, that’s what you get for not putting away the dishes, hahahaha” *evil scientist chuckle*.

I love all things Sci-Fi and Fantasy Entertainment

batman-312342_960_720I love reading comic books, sci-fi/fantasy novels, and watching DC and Marvel movies. Actually, my favorite superhero is Batman. I know, I know, it sounds cliche, but there is something about having a dark past and being able to turn heartache into saving the world, so appealing. If you are a Batman fan, you know that he loves his city unconditionally; good, bad, poor, rich, he saved everyone…without killing them! He feels all life is precious, no matter who you are or what you’ve done. I guess Batman was similar to a father figure since my own dad was absent. Batman was a huge part of my childhood. Like J. Cole said in his song No Role Modelz

First things first rest in peace Uncle Phil/For real, you the only father that I ever knew/I get my b***h pregnant I’ma be a better you

In this verse, he is referring to Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, who was a great father figure for a lot of fatherless, black children in our community. For me, it was Batman.

I love learning about History

4294118869_b34713c1a1_bThe majority of television shows I watch are about history; Vikings, The Tudors, Game of Thrones, Shaka Zulu, just to name a few. I love watching documentaries and reading about history. Anyone’s history. I love learning about other cultures by being aware of their past. When I was younger, I was very judgmental of cultures I didn’t understand. Now, I’ve controlled my judgment by learning about why people or cultures are the way that they are. It helps me “look through the eye of the beholder”. Well, not exactly, but it is a close as I’m going to get right now since traveling around the world has been put on hold. 🙂

I’m secretly a conspiracy theorist

cartoon-coloring-page-line-art-of-a-paranoid-guy-peeking-through-blinds-by-toonaday-505.jpgThink about it, if God can change my life…if He can create trillions of stars, hundreds of planets, walking-talking organisms such as humans, then why couldn’t he create extraterrestrial beings? Or Big-Foot? Or government conspiracy? I’m just saying, I think there is information that only the universe knows. As much as we (humans) like to think that we are the most advanced, superior beings ever created, in my opinion, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Again, this is just my opinion.

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn a little about me. Thank you to all of my followers, old and new. Each like and each follow inspires me to write reading material worthy of your time.

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

How Fear Became My Guide

10 Steps for Overcoming the Fear of Making a Change

Fear can be scary. The uncertainty, the regret, the guilt…all of which can be partnered with fear. Those feelings are heavy or overbearing. They can make you feel numb and overwhelmed at the same time. This is probably why people give into the fear because it can be too much to bear. Have ever wanted to do something, but then thought, “No I can’t.”, “What will people think?”, “What if I fail?”

I’m here to tell you that fear can be your best friend. Sounds crazy, right? It’s not. Fear can be your guide to greatness.

Today was my husband’s Christmas party at his school. A few weeks ago, he told me that I should try to sell my awesome 100% all natural soy wax candles. At first, I agreed, until last night. Fear was hitting me hard. I began coming up with excuses as to why I shouldn’t take my candles to his party. I thought to myself that no one was going to be interested in buying my candles. I became so afraid that I almost had a panic attack. My thoughts were becoming louder than the truth.

That’s when it hit me. If I’m having this much fear from an idea that could improve my life and my family’s lives, then maybe this is something that I SHOULD be accomplishing. I mean, the worst thing that could happen is no one would purchase any of my candles and that is ok! I know my candles are awesome and honestly, they provide therapy when I’m making them. I love the smell of the soy wax melting into its silky substance and how the essential oils swirl in the wax before settling. So I made myself get up. It resulted in 4 glorious, relaxing hours making soy wax candles; prepping them to look awesome and appealing. Making sure that each scent was strong, yet soothing. Each candle that I crafted slowly took away my fear and replaced it with pride.

So, this morning we headed off to his party. I was cute (really cute *snaps*) but sweaty from my nerves being on ten. I was so nervous. At first, the other party-goers weren’t showing interest, but then my wonderful husband asked, “Hey, does anyone want to buy a candle?”

I sold out immediately. I repeat…I SOLD OUT! It was amazing. I look back and wonder, what was I so afraid of? If I would have listened to fear, I still would have been wondering how to pay my car insurance bill. Now, I have the money that we need.

I didn’t listen to fear, but I allowed it to guide me. Whatever it is that you want to do…Whatever it is that will make you dance naked on the rooftop if you accomplished it…DO NOT listen to fear, but use it as a guide to do better and become better.

Sometimes, God wants us to feel fear and sadness. He wants us to use fear, sadness, disappointment, and every other negative feeling, to become stronger than you thought you could be. Allow your negative feelings to turn into positive actions.

You are awesome. You are loved. You are wonderfully made.

“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” -2 Corinthians 7:10

Guess Who Was Nominated for The 2017 Liebster Award? ME!!!!

8948E1F7-669A-4A17-B756-BFF58463E0D4Dee Kay from The Immortal Arts Blog was kind enough to nominate me (yes, me!) for the 2017 Liebster Award. I am truly honored and thankful to Dee Kay for considering me and a few others blogs for this wonderful award. It is always encouraging when others recognize the hard work that goes into writing and managing a blog. Thank you!!

I would encourage you to check out his blog by clicking here. He blogs about all forms of art, including written and oral short stories, poems, singing, etc. Trust me, you’ll love it.

There are rules and regulations to become nominated. You can check those out by clicking this link Liebster Award Official Rules.

If you choose to accept your nomination, you must:

  • Create a new post thanking the person who nominated you, provide a link to their blog.
  • Include award graphic.
  • Answer the questions provided.
  • Make a new set of 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate 5-11 upcoming or recently followed bloggers and share your post with them so they see it.

Below are my answers the questions that Dee Kay asked for his nominees:

1. What is YOUR story? Write it in less than 250 words.

My story is a long one, but 250 words or less should be doable. I come from a long history of mental and physical abuse that, for the most part, stems from mental illness going back as far as my grandparents. I suffer from a mental illness that makes it harder for me to get through life, but it is no different from any challenges that others may face on a day to day basis. For a long time, I was confused about what I should do with my life. It hasn’t been until recently that I have realized that my struggles throughout my childhood and adulthood are supposed to be a testimony to someone going through the same or similar challenges. I want to use what I go through to benefit others. Suffering never presents itself without a reward behind it. I’ve found that people like to give up when the suffering begins, but if you have enough patience to work through it and “get to the end of the rainbow” or “see the light at the end of thet tunnel”, then the suffering becomes a blessing in itself. My reward for my suffering is letting everyone know that things will get better with prayer, persistence, purpose.

2. What according to you has been the turning point in your life? Why ?

I honestly say that there has been a number of “turning points” in my life. I giggle to myself when thinking about it, because God has shown his grace so many times and so many times I chose to ignore it.  I would say, this moment, right now, has been the biggest turning point. I have made it up in my mind that I will longer allow depression, anxiety, lupus, and fibromyalgia to control my life and how I live it. I choose to live life helping others (I love helping people). Honestly, without this diagnosis, I wouldn’t have found my calling

3. If you are granted a wish to build a dream neighborhood, which 5 famous people (Past and present) would you choose and why ?

  • Ghandi-He would help me build and organize a spirtitual temple so people can have a safe place to worship, no matter what religion they are apart of.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr – He would help inspire the people in my neighborhood to come together to help maintain it for years to come.
  • Beyonce- She has the money and the fashion sense
  • 2pac- He would provide great music and vibe-age to any situation and/or celebration.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – For us women to have a little eye candy walking around.

4. What one message would you like to give to a teenager who is suffering from depression?

NEVER GIVE UP! Never allow anyone to convince you to give up. You will be so proud of yourself when you look back to say, “ I did it”, “I pushed through”. You are not alone. You are worthy of greatness. You are beautiful. You are wonderfully made.

5. If you have the power to change one thing/situation from your past, then what would it be and why ?

I wouldn’t change a thing. If what I’m going through or have been through, is preparing me for what’s ahead, I wouldn’t change a thing.

6. Name 5 movies that had a real impact on you?

Oohhh, yes. My favorite question because I love movies.

  • The Color Purple
  • The Pursuit of Happiness
  • The Lion King
  • Beaches “Did you ever know that you’re my heroooooo”
  • Loose Change: 9/11 Documentary

7. What is your take on WARS? Do you think wars are important to shape the world?

Honestly, I think if everyone smoked a little cannibus and had a meeting about their issues, wars wouldn’t be necessary. But maybe that’s the wishful thinking hippie inside of me.

8. What would be your final words to your loved ones on your deathbed?

Take care and protect each other with every fiber of your being.

9. Share an incident with us that was so overwhelming and touching that it still fill your heart with emotions?

Yesterday, I blogged about Jesus presenting himself to me. It was amazing because I was ready to give up and take my life, but His voice and appearance was so present, it brought happy, humbled tears. I’ve never felt anything like it. Please read Letting Go, Letting God

10. Write a letter to any of the following (500 words)

I know that things are confusing right now and I know that you are scared. Your mom is going through changes that you may not understand right now. Just know, that this will not last forever. Everything will get better. One day, she will no longer be able to say those awful things to you or make you feel worthless. Everything that she is saying to you is not true.

You are beautiful. You are worthy of love. You are going to grow up to be such a wonderful person. All of the pain that you are feeling, you will be able to use to help other people and make real changes in your life.

You are so smart. You are destined to become a great woman. If anyone says otherwise, ignore them because they are wrong. It may seem like they are right because so many people are telling you that you will never succeed. Don’t believe them. You are capable of becoming the writer and counselor that you want to be.

Believe in yourself, Ashley. It may seem like no one believes in you, but you have people that are helping you get through what you are going through. You may not see it or realize now, but there are people making sacrifices to help you. Stay patient, stay sturdy, and stay being you. You are loved!!!

P.S. Sex does not equal love. God will bless you with someone who’s going to love you beyond your wildest imaginations. Just so you know I’m serious, his name starts with a K 🙂

10 Questions for My Nominees

  1. How did you get into blogging?
  2. Was there anyone close to you that discouraged you from blogging? If so, how did you handle it?
  3. What inspires you to blog?
  4. Where do you see your blog in 5 years?
  5. What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a blogger?
  6. What would you say are your best personality traits?
  7. What are your (5) favorite songs? Why?
  8. If you had one wish to better this better our world, what would it be and why? (Describe in 250 words or less)
  9. What are your favorite (3) quotes that inspires you to get through hard times?
  10. What would you like to accomplish through your blog?

The nominate the following bloggers:

  1. Timeless Classics
  2. IvesTrendyTopic
  3. Understand546
  4. A Brave Mess
  5. The Bipolar Writer
  6. Rotimi Elijah
  7. The Anxiety Junkie
  8. Simofutet
  9. How to Beat Depression
  10. Lexx Speaks
  11. Speaking Soulish

I love all of my followers and your blogs. If I didn’t nominate you, please do not be offended. Nominate a blog that you love and spread the positivity.

Thank you again for nominating me, Dee Kay. Best wishes to everyone else who was nominated. I wish everyone could win.

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” -Oscar Wilde

Letting Go, Letting God

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To my readers,

I didn’t plan on blogging today. I was actually having anxiety about what I should post next, but I had an experience this morning that I had to share with you all.

This morning started out like any other morning. Now that I look back, I see that I was very anxious. I remember saying to my husband how today “just didn’t feel right”. I had a million thoughts going through my mind; things I had to get done, the people that I need to call, the 4-year old that needs me constantly. I started one of my many chores to help push through the anxiety. Ultimately, it became too overwhelming, so I shut it down.

I left my 4-year-old on the sofa with his iPad. I headed to my bathroom to brush my teeth and to get a little peace from my son’s increasingly curious questions. I started listening to a video by Joyce Meyer on How to Beat Depression. She began speaking about how God uses us to press through other people’s lives. I immediately felt so much pain and hurt lift off of me like a heavy blanket.  All of the pain that I was carrying from other people hurting me was instantly gone. It was like forgiveness, hope, and perseverance wrapped in a tortilla made of beauty. It was amazing. I truly wept. I never felt God’s presence so much in my life. It was like He was standing right next to me. I saw Him as clearly as I saw myself. I cried like a baby. I can’t remember a time where I felt so…child-like.

It was the most beautiful moment I’ve ever felt and I needed the world to know. Even if it reaches one reader.  If you have faith, if you seek God, He will answer! He will show up when you least expect it. He showed up while I was brushing my teeth. I had toothpaste everywhere, weeping like an infant. But I loved it. I loved every minute of it. I haven’t felt that much joy in…honestly, I don’t remember. Like I said, I’ve never felt anything like it. It made me realize that when you have the Holy Spirit guiding you, it becomes easier to hear God’s instructions.

Seek God and He will show up. Thank you for reading. I hope this inspires you to push through and know that all of your hard work is going to pay off. Your prayers will not go unanswered.

“Forgive anyone who has caused you pain or harm. Keep in mind that forgiving is not for others. It is for you. Forgiving is not forgetting. It is remembering without anger. It frees up your power, heals your body, mind, and spirit. Forgiveness opens with a pathway to a new place of peace where you can persist despite what has happened to you.” -Les Brown

I Want To Twirl, Dam**t!

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As people, we have the tendency to take our lives for granted. The heartache that we go through numbs our ability to live in the now. This past week, my husband and I chose to watch Valerian and The City Of A Thousand Planets. It’s a movie about a planet full of intelligent beings viciously wiped out by a galactic war that they had nothing to do with. The opening scene of the movie was with this beautiful blue girl twirling out of her seashell home only to walk out onto a white, sandy beach with a wonderful view of a clear blue sky and a gorgeous blue, clear ocean. She looked so peaceful, so serene. You could tell that she didn’t have a care in the world. I immediately thought to myself, I want to twirl dammit. I wish I was able to walk outside every day with a positive attitude, skipping along to the birds singing, twirling around soaking up the sun. I’m not being facetious. I want to have a natural high from life that only each breath can provide.

Then I realized that I can.

When you walk outside to face the day, you and only you determine what kind of day you’re going to have. Once your foot crosses the threshold, you can choose to handle your circumstances or allow your circumstances to handle you.

I wake up every day knowing that unfortunate circumstances are going to happen. Who I am will determine how I deal with what is going to happen. I don’t want to be a coward and hide from them. If millions of people can do this, then I can too.

Somewhere along the way, I started to believe that a life of misery was my destiny. The heartache and anger of my past and present is a permanent part of my existence, like depression. I’ve allowed Lupus to trick me into believing that my spirit is doomed. Honestly, the person that I’ve become and the thoughts that I continue to have is a person that is foreign to me. Up until now, I’ve never had to put so much effort into getting through the day. It’s discouraging.

So, I chose to face the day with dignity. I chose to face the day with the armor that God has provided for me. I chose not to sink into a dark place that only feeds my inner demon.

I chose to live life.

“On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted.” –Ecclesiastes 7:14

 

 

 

Unapologetically Living Life

What does living your best life look like? Sometimes we have the tendency to live our lives for other people and feel like we have to apologize or be sorry for when we finally decide to live for ourselves and do what is best for us.

We shouldn’t have to apologize for living our best lives. We shouldn’t have to apologize for doing what needs to be done to make sure we, ourselves are happy.

Below is a list of actions that you should NEVER apologize for:

BEING YOURSELF!

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It takes courage to follow your dreams and not someone else’s. You may be in a situation where someone is making you feel like you have to live the life that they want you to live.

For example, I would love for my son to become an architect. He is so talented and smart. Instead, he wants to become a comic book illustrator. I want my son to live his best life, so I have to support what he wants to do with it. I want him to be himself and never apologize for it. 

Since tomorrow is not promised, be your best self today. You were born for a reason. You were born to shine. Shine bright baby, shine brighter than anyone ever expected you to shine. Blind the haters with your rays of awesomeness.

FOLLOWING YOUR GOALS

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Everyone has goals and aspirations. Follow yours! Do not mind the nay-sayers and haters. You will succeed because it is something that you want for yourself.

Remember, anything worth having is worth fighting for and your dreams are worth fighting for. So, suit up and get prepared. It may be bumpy, it may be challenging, but you can do it. You only get one life. If you woke up this morning, you’ve already accomplished more than so many other people. You are here, you are worthy, you are destined to be great. 

FINDING YOUR INNER PEACE

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I used to let people disturb my peace, but not anymore. Do you know anyone who has the ability to disturb your peace? I’ve decided that everyone that is known for gossiping or drama has been blocked from my phone. Why? I need my PEACE! I need to be able to go through the day without hearing the tragic news that one of these toxic people has caused for themselves.

At first, I felt bad for ignoring them. Then I had to realize that-that heavy, negative feeling that I would have when I hung up the phone was not worth it anymore.

You can’t expect people to change, you can only change how you allow people to make you feel. If you have to chuck up the deuces to get some peace, by all means, do it without apology. This is beneficial to you and you only.

TRUSTING YOUR GUT

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My gut has saved my life 8/10 times. I trust my instincts for almost everything because I feel like it’s the Holy Spirit guiding me.

If you feel like something is right, then go for it. Your feelings are your feelings and they are important. Your feelings should never be a sacrifice for someone who may or may not agree with your life choices. Learn to trust yourself and your needs and wants.

There will be a time where you would have to make a  life-changing decision. It will be easier to make that decision if you trusted yourself and your ability to do what is right for you and/or family.

BELIEVING IN A HIGHER POWER

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I love Jesus! I am a Christian. Nowadays, society will try to make you feel like loving Jesus is a bad thing. Some would argue that I am brainwashed by the church to give away all of my money, but those non-believers do not understand the relationship that I have with God has nothing to do with the church I attend or how much money I may choose to offer.

My relationship with God is 100% about my salvation and selfishly, help with getting through my life’s challenges, but I will address that in a later post.

We should all respect each other’s choices on how we decide to make life work for us. If you are Buddist, great! If you believe in the energy of the universe, awesome! If you don’t believe in anything at all, that is your choice. I will never judge you for your beliefs, just as I ask you not to judge me for mine.

My faith teaches me, that everyone will eventually learn about the grace that God has to offer, and I feel when He is ready to move in your life, that will be between you and Him. I will still love you as He instructs and I will support any endeavor you may want to follow.

Never apologize for having faith in something. If you think the lampshade answers your prayers, then by all means, pray to the lampshade. If that is what gives you the courage to wake up everyday to fight the good fight, then do it. Do you!

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Now, this list also applies to the a**holes. I say this with humor and all seriousness. I know someone who is an a**hole. They will say anything that comes to mind and not cares about someone feelings. If you are like this, you can still apply this to your life. Just know, you have to respect if someone chooses not to deal with you because of your a**holeness or if I choose to hit that good ole block button. It’s honestly my favorite feature on my iPhone, so don’t bring me any drama! 

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself, comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the essence of beauty.” -Dr. Martin Maraboli

*Photos owned by Google*

Pain-Body? What the Heck Is That?

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Andrew was a troubled child. He was always getting into trouble. Why? At the age of 10, he began to witness his little sister get molested by their father. Andrew tried to tell other family members about the abuse his little sister was experiencing and about how his father and his uncles made Andrew watch pornography and drink alcohol. This trauma started a series of unfortunate events. He began acting out; getting into fights at school and at home, smoking marijuana, and eventually was expelled from school. His mom eventually sent him away to a children’s home for kids who have experienced trauma, but after a couple of years of being away, he came back extremely angry.

Between the molestation trial and Andrews family believing the accused side of the story versus his, he became severely depressed and engulfed with anger, indulging himself into more violence and eventually joined a gang to silence the pain. At age 16, his mom was at her wit’s end and gave up, packing up Andrew’s other brothers and sisters and left town while Andrew was at school.

After that, Andrew became homeless. Jumping from house to house, surviving by stealing and scamming for the next 4 years. Andrew did a lot of things that he wasn’t proud of, but he didn’t know what else to do.

Andrew developed a cycle that he was unaware of. Due to his trauma, a negative energy field called the pain-body was awakened in Andrew that would haunt him for the next 11 years of his life, taking over his body and mind.

When I first met Andrew, I immediately noticed that he was in pain. I didn’t find out until later why he was in so much pain. When I found out, I didn’t understand why he wasn’t able to get help with his issues and just move on. It was like he was addicted to being reminded of his past. He wanted to hold on to it. Andrew was also addicted to drama. I know a few other people who are like this, but it was clear that he needed chaos surrounding him at all times. He was fighting with his family, strangers, girlfriends, everyone.

I finally understood why Andrew was like this when I read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. In the second chapter, Tolle describes The Pain Body.

What is the pain-body?

The pain-body is an unforeseen force that causes us to unconsciously seek pain over and over again. This is the perfect recipe for self-sabotage. It’s made up of accumulated pain in a negative energy field that occupies your body and mind.

There are 2 different kinds; dormant pain body and active pain body. Active pain body live in those who are deeply unhappy 90%-100% of the time.

What can trigger the pain-body?

“The pain body can be awakened by any unhappiness within yourself. It can take the form of irritation, impatience, a somber mood, a desire to hurt, anger, rage, depression, a need to have drama in your relationships, and so on.” -Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

For example, a child who won’t stop whining about not wanting to take a nap would be considered the dormant pain-body. Active pain bodies are vicious and destructive monsters that feed on your pain. Thoughts and feelings about your life become negative and self-destructive. Some pain bodies have the ability to drive a person to suicide.  

In Andrew’s case, the pain-body inside of him is awakened whenever he would talk to his father about his childhood or if he is reminded of his sister, whom of which has since passed away from a life of violence and drugs.

How does the pain body survive?

The pain-body is developed in the unconscious and that’s where they want to stay. It’s only purpose is to bring pain and grow from it.

“The pain-body wants to survive, just like every other entity in existence, and it can only survive if it gets you to unconsciously identify with it. It can then rise up, take you over, “become you”, and live through you. It will feed on any experience that resonates with its own kind of energy, anything that creates further pain in whatever form; anger, destructiveness, hatred, grief, emotional drama, violence, and even illness.” Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now 

Once the pain-body has taken over, you will want more pain. You either become the victim or the victimizer or both. You either want to cause pain or want to suffer from pain.

For example, at a very young age, the pain-body inside of me convinced me that cutting myself was the best way to escape the emotional trauma I experienced growing up. I thought, if I felt actual pain, then my heart wouldn’t hurt so much. It worked. Well not really. It was a very unhealthy way to deal with my issues, but at the time, every time I would put a blade up to my skin, I was unconsciously feeding the pain-body. Making it stronger with every tear and every stroke.

So, once it takes over you, you unconsciously want more pain. In Andrew’s case, the pain body has already developed from years of abuse and pain. He knows no other way to live. The pain body has not only taken over his entire life, but he is completely unaware of its existence. The pain-body has convinced him that pain and anger were the only emotions that he would feel and the only way to feel better is to cause even more pain and destruction.

How do I become aware of the pain-body?

Have you ever said something to someone that was hurtful? But you knew before you said it, that it would be a really harsh thing to say, yet you say it anyway? You’ve just awakened the pain-body inside of you. You’ve just given it the food that it needs it continues to survive in your psyche. The pain-body is excited now because most likely, there will be negative consequences to whatever you decided to say. Once those events occur, the pain-body goes back to sleep until the next time you decide to awaken it.

“So the pain-body, when it has taken you over, will create a situation in your life that reflects back it’s own energy frequency for it to feed on. Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.” -Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

How can I get rid of the pain-body?

Become aware of the pain that you cause onto yourself and to others around you. Once you are aware, now you can make a conscious decision to not say hurtful words or make hurtful decisions. Then, you’ll starve the pain body, eventually forcing it to no longer exist.

I don’t think anyone wants to admit they enjoy pain. I mean, I wouldn’t. But it’s like overcoming an addiction; the 1st step is admitting that you have a problem. Same with the pain body.

“Just as you cannot fight the darkness, you cannot fight the pain -body. Trying to do so would create inner conflict and thus further pain. Watching it is enough. Watching implies accepting it as a part of what is at that moment.” -Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

When you become the “watcher” or aware, the pain-body will try to trick you into believing that your pain is a permanent part of who you are. The pain-body is even known to cause physical pains if parts of your body, but it won’t last long. As long as you continue to stay aware and present. At this moment, the pain-body will longer be able to control your thinking.

For instance, Andrew is now aware of the pain-body living inside of him. He is now aware of the pain-body, so he chooses to make a conscious effort not to say or participate in hateful acts. By doing so, he is starving the pain-body. It continues to try to convince Andrew that his life of destruction is great, but Andrew refuses to get back into the negative mind-pattern that he lived with for so many years.

To Summarize

-Pay attention to the feelings that you are having

-Be aware that it is the pain-body

-Accept that it is there

-Don’t allow yourself to think about it (easier said than done)

-Do not allow your feelings to turn into thinking

-Do not judge or analyze

-Do not identify with the pain-body. In other words, do not become the pain-body

-Stay present with the power of your own conscious presence

 

In the present day, Andrew is a work in progress. He has grown so much in the time that I have known him. Addressing the pain-body inside of him is changing his life in so many positive ways. He is now married to a wonderful woman and has three beautiful children. He determined to become a better Andrew.

If you feel like you have awakened the pain-body inside of you, just know that you can overcome those feelings of despair, pain, and anger. This is NOT you! You are NOT your pain or your past.

If you know someone who is struggling with their pain-body, encourage them to read this post or  The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I think one of our many basic instincts is to avoid people like this, toxic people. The truth of the matter is, we may have no idea what a “toxic” person is dealing with inside of their heart. It may take this post or Mr. Tolle’s book to open up the opportunity to change their lives.

“Scars mean you fought. Wrinkles mean you lived. Heartache means you loved.”  Matshona Dhliwayo

Original Photo owned by Google

Phenomenal Woman, That’s me!

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As I type this, I am struggling with a couple of health issues that has me bedridden; kidney infection and a lupus flare.  Although, I am really proud of myself for getting a few things crossed off of my to-do list, including getting prepared for a much-anticipated surgery this upcoming Monday.

Since I’m not feeling well, today’s post will be fairly short and easy, but inspirational. I want to share a very special poem that I like to recite to myself whenever I feel overwhelmed and unable to push through the day. 

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Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,   

The stride of my step,   

The curl of my lips.   

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,   

That’s me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,   

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.   

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.   

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,   

And the flash of my teeth,   

The swing in my waist,   

And the joy in my feet.   

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,   

They say they still can’t see.   

I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,   

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.   

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.   

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,   

The bend of my hair,   

the palm of my hand,   

The need for my care.   

’Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me!

Always remember, whether you’re a woman or man, boy or girl, young or old, YOU ARE LOVED! YOU ARE STRONG! YOU ARE PHENOMENAL!

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10

They Tried to Kill Me!: How To Become Your Own Advocate

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Yep! You read it correctly. They tried to kill me. Who is “they” you ask? One of the major hospitals in my city. I went to the emergency room because I was having extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, and few other annoying symptoms that I experience a lupus flare.

Anyone who lives with a chronic illness knows that this process is very tedious and frustrating. I mean, who wants to spend a beautiful day cooped in a room, hooked up to machines that beep every 2 minutes while lying on a yoga mat they call a bed. Lord knows I love that I have the right to go to a hospital to get treated for any problems that I may be having. I fully understand that there are so many people around the world, including some of my fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, who do not have access to health care of any kind; just know I am explaining, not complaining. I digress.

So, the doctor immediately began treating me for the pain. I really can’t remember if I wasn’t paying attention or if he wasn’t fully explaining what was about to happen next. So, I really don’t want to blame him for malpractice if possibly, my thoughts were louder than his voice. I was in so much pain, that I didn’t notice the nurse come in and attached Ketamine to my IV (intravenous therapy). I don’t remember the dosage, I just remember what came 5 minutes after she left. I felt this high that I can only describe as the very first time I smoked marijuana. It was a familiar high. Five minutes after that, I began to feel a high I can only describe as a heroin high. Now, I have never ever in my life taken heroin. I’m just saying, based off of what I’ve seen in person, it felt how a heroin addict would look when they’re finishing that first injection.

In elementary school, when D.A.R.E. officers came in and told us, students, that drugs would kill us, I believed them. It has always been in my head that drugs=death. That’s a little weird to admit, but I’m sure it’s saved my life a few times. I’ve never thought about, dreamed about, or wondered a little bit about what those kinds of drugs would feel like. The strongest drug I’ve ever taken was Percocet 7.5/325mg, I even hate that! So, needless to say, drugs aren’t my thing. *Disclaimer: Marijuana is not a drug, it is a plant.* Sorry, I digress again.

This Ketamine high was absolutely horrific. First, my body felt like it was melting all over the hospital bed, I was so relaxed. Then, I started laughing hysterically like something was funny. No one said anything! I was just laughing, like, “Joker from Batman” laughing. Then, I began hallucinating, but that didn’t last long. Not compared to how long my body felt lifeless, like I was dead. Not to mention my heart rate went up. I was terrified. I’ve never felt anything like it. And the worst part, it only took away my pain for 30 minutes. 30 Minutes! I was high as a kite for almost 24 hours after that. Early, next day, I remember feeling like I was floating through space.

Come to find out, the nurse had the IV drip up way too high, so there was fluid entering my bloodstream faster than it was supposed to. So, instead of the medication entering my body at squirt gun rate, it’s entering my body at a water hose rate. Oh, and did I mention that I’m currently weighing in at 105 pounds?

This experience taught me so many lessons and I want to share them with you. Even if you do not struggle with a chronic illness, please use this as an example, even if it’s just for a check-up.

BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE

You know your body better than anyone! Medical doctors may be experts in their field, but you’re an expert on you. Below is a list of ways to help you become your own advocate

Ask Questions 

It’s true. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Especially when it comes to your health. No matter how big or small, crazy or sane, ask your questions, all of them. Gain as much knowledge as you possibly can so you can have a full understanding of what you are growing through.

Write everything down 

Keep track of all important documents and what you and your doctor discussed that day. Also, keep track of conversations that you may have had over the phone with one of your doctors’ nurses or supporting medical staff. This really helps if you have multiple doctors. If you’re like me, I talk to so many different people, it’s hard to keep track.

Keep a list of current/past medications 

Doctors are human, they make mistakes. One mistake that they can possibly make is prescribing a new medication that may counteract your current medication(s). So when they say, “We’re going to start you on (name of medication).” You can say, “Will it counteract any of my current medications?”

Know and respect your limit 

If they want to perform invasive procedures on you and you’re not comfortable, don’t let them do it. Express your concern. If you feel like you’re not getting heard, get another opinion.

Keep A Journal

 Write down your feelings. Write down your goals. Write down anything that you feel is in important for your recovery. That way, you’re not just keeping track of your body’s needs, but also your minds need as well.

 

I may have exaggerated a little. They really didn’t try to kill me. It was an oversight made by the nurse. Although, if I would have known the above and did a little research on my smartphone, that could have been avoided altogether. For now on, I’m making sure I know everything there is to know about the health care plans my physicians have for me.

 

“Oh, no, not I! I will survive. Oh, as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive. I’ve got all my life to live. I’ve got all my love to give. And I’ll survive, I will survive, hey, hey.” -Gloria Gaynor

6 Ways to Manage Your Emotions

Are you emotional wreck? Hell, right now, I am. I’ve always been a pretty sensitive person, but because of some of life’s challenges, I learned a long time ago how to hide my emotions from everyone. At the time, I thought I was managing them, when in fact, they were just being stored away in a very dark place.

When I was 15 years old, I began to notice that I was different from other people, very different. How I felt, what I liked, even my philosophy on life and it’s meaning, was very different from everyone else around me. I began to think that there was something wrong with me and this thought would eventually manifest into deeper, darker thoughts.

Since this year has been the most trying time of my 32 years of life, I have been forced to address emotions that I thought were long gone. When I first became sick, I was bedridden. Without realizing, I allowed the fear and uncertainty of Lupus cloud my judgment and my mind. I allowed negative thoughts to replace any hope I had of becoming healthy again, which exposed a lot of those old, buried feelings. I slowly began drowning without being consciously aware of it. I’m sure that’s why they say it’s never a good idea to have an idle mind. Thoughts can creep into your mind that will have you convinced that everything that you knew about yourself is a complete lie. Thus, becoming an emotional wreck.

Lately, I’ve had to practice how to handle my emotions, old and new, and I would love to share what has worked for me. So, below is a list of ways that you can keep your emotions in check.

  1. Know Your Triggers

We all have emotional triggers. Emotional triggers are situations or people that have the ability to cause a negative emotional response. For you, an emotional trigger can be friends, family members, or even the upcoming holidays. We may not have the ability to avoid our triggers, but we can certainly learn to live with them without becoming overwhelmed.

Once you are aware of your triggers, you can then deal with them accordingly. Remember, do what is best for you! If you need to remove yourself from the situation, do so. If you need to seek counseling or a support group to help you through dealing with the trigger(s) that just won’t go away, like a family member or boss, do it. Your emotional stability is what is most important.

  1. Don’t react right way

Have you ever lost your temper in a drop of a hat? Some of us *cough, cough* have the tendency to overreact while in the midst of emotional turmoil. Someone can say that one thing to drive you nuts, and then bam, you’re yelling and screaming, probably saying things you’ll later regret.

It’s better for your emotional state if you stepped back for a moment to ask yourself, “Is this worth getting upset over? Is this worth disturbing my peace over?” I’ll let you know right now, 8 out 10 times, the answer is no. Well, at least with me. When I think about it, there are very few people that are worth me compromising my peace of mind over, but admittingly, I am still a work a progress.

  1. Change Your Thoughts

I’ve spoken about this so many times. It’s really important that you have healthy positive thoughts. So, whenever you find yourself in emotional hell, you will already be convinced that you are awesome and strong and that you will get through whatever is happening at the time. Negative thoughts will no longer have room in your mind. You can change your thoughts by listening to inspirational speeches, reading motivational literature, or church.

  1. Do something that you love

When you’re immersed in something that you are passionate about and that you are focused on, your mind will be too occupied to become sad. Doing what you love uplifts and motivates you in ways that wouldn’t be able to imagine. It is also a great coping skill to get you through rough moments.

Do what you love as often as you can. That way, whenever you’re going through a rough patch, it’ll be second nature to jump straight into a healthy coping mechanism.

  1. See the bigger picture

One of my favorite sayings is, “There are 3 sides to every story; yours, theirs, and the truth.” Whatever may have happened to trigger a negative emotional response, try to step back to view the entire picture. For example, let’s say your co-worker comes into work upset with an attitude. It’s normally not like her because she usually comes in happy and chipper. She’s really not talking to you or giving you much attention. You could either take it personally and assume her attitude has to do with you, or you could try to consider other reasons why she’s being snappy. You never know what people are going through behind closed doors. Be a friend. Find out. Show support.

  1. Meditate

I am a huge fan of meditation. Sometimes I pray during mediation, sometimes I work on redirecting my busy thoughts. Mediation is a great tool to use due to some of its great benefits:

-reducing stress

-improving concentration

-practicing increase of self-awareness

-reducing depression and anxiety

If you take 5-10 minutes out of your day to meditate, you will begin to see a significant improvement when trying to get your emotions under control. People say it’s too hard because they are unable to get there brain to shut off. Meditation is not about getting your brain to turn off, but more about training your brain to redirect itself when you begin thinking about chores or errands or anything outside of self-improvement and growth.

Some days I don’t have to think twice about how to handle my emotions, but other days, I need to refer back to this list. It has been helping me real my emotions in when I feel they are out of control,  so I really hope it’s able to help you.

Do you have anything that helps you keep your emotions in check? Drop a comment below to let us know. I’m down for all suggestions. Again, I’m a work in progress *cough, cough*

“As you heal, you see yourself more realistically. You accept that you are a person with strengths and weaknesses. You make the changes you can in your life and let go of the things that aren’t in your power to change. You learn that every part of you is valuable. And you realize that all of your thoughts and feelings are important, even when they’re painful or difficult.” -Ellen Bass, Beginning to Heal