words of wisdom

Live In Your Strength

Last night I received some cheesy but much needed advice…from a bag of tea. Yogi Tea Products puts inspirational notes on the tags of all of its tea bags and I’ve been trying to drink a cup of their “Detox” tea every day to help filter out some of the junk that lives in my body and immune system. Yesterday’s inspiration was the title of this post: Live In Your Strength.

What does this mean to me? This means being true to yourself and owning who you are, not letting other people talk you down or be ashamed of what you need to get through the day (even if it’s a hug and chocolate bar). Lately, I’ve been feeling a little like someone else is running my life and I have been running myself ragged to please them and not getting what I need in return, not a good feeling.

So I’m going to embrace who I am: a neurotic, OCD-filled, anxious, organized, perfectionist, detail-orientated, nerdy, affectionate, loyal person who gets in her own way a lot and doesn’t have as much confidence as she should.

And that’s OKAY.

I’m not perfect. I have flaws. And not everyone is going to be equipped to deal with them. And that’s okay. Because I have an amazing support system of people who love me and care about me and who genuinely want what is best for me. So the only people I need to think about other than myself is them.

My strength lies in my willingness to help and to take the lead, to reach out to others, my strive to succeed, my caring nature, my support for those I love, and my ability to push others and myself to be their best. My strength lies in navigating the world in such a way that works with my quirks, not against them. Yes, I am growing to be more flexible and patient. And this year, I have a goal to be more positive. But that’s doesn’t mean I have to change who I am entirely…or even all that much. Sometimes all I need is to take a deep breath, a step back, and look at the option that will play to my strength, not prey on my “weakness”.

How are you going to live in your strength?

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Magnets

Eyes lock

instantly closing

the distance.

A pull

in my gut,

magnets aligned.

I couldn’t

resist, nor

did I want to.

A long fall,

no landing

in sight.

Drifting and

spinning to

you and me.

Hearts unitetwo hearts

lust binds

life sighs.

Happiness here

love there

holding true.

Fill in

the cracks

for you

As you

prove that

this is real.

This one

will make

or break.

Either we

both commit

or both crash.

Teen Topic Tuesday: Suicide

suicide

This week’s teen topic is one that I feel very strongly about, and no, it’s not for religious or moral reasons, it’s actually rather personal. As someone who has seen firsthand the affect that suicide can wreak on a family unit, I want to share some of that experience with you and attempt to make you understand why, regardless of what you think, it will have a resounding impact on those around you.

Suicide in teens (and anyone else for that matter) is a devastating thing. In today’s world of bullying and potentially shitty home lives, it seems that suicide might be the best option. And when it comes to depression or bipolar disorder, it might feel like it’s your only option. But it’s not. You might think that you are alone and no one can possibly understand what you’re going through but you’re wrong. There is someone out there who cares, whether you realize it or not. It might be a friend, a sibling, a parent, a cousin, a classmate, or even a teacher. You aren’t the only one to experience how you are feeling and giving up on life isn’t the solution. And if you’ve gone through all of those people and you are still depressed and still think that suicide is your only option because no one understands, then you are probably not talking to the right people.

Now, don’t think I’m writing this to reprimand you, in fact, I want to encourage you to not think of suicide as an option. I know that seeking help can be scary. As someone who has struggled for years with severe obsessive compulsive disorder (and no, that’s not just saying I have it in the sense that I am a compulsive cleaner or alphabetize my DVD collection, I have actually been diagnosed), I know how difficult it can be to admit, even to yourself, that something is wrong. I didn’t even know what I was feeling was OCD until I talked to my doctor. I’d suspected for years that I had a mild case but being diagnosed officially with it made me feel ashamed and less worthy to be around “normal” people because I had to be on medication to make my brain operate at a functional level. I didn’t even admit it to most of my friends or family until long after I had been diagnosed.

And while OCD might not be the same as depression, it actually a lot of the same markers: loss of interest, feeling overly tired, withdrawal, moodiness, frustration, anger, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, changes in your sleeping pattern. I experienced all of these things (plus anxiousness and panic attacks) because of a chemical imbalance. My first therapy session was uncomfortable, to say the least. I felt like I was being judged and misunderstood. Of course, that was about the time that I discovered that it can take a few tries to fit the right fit for a psychiatrist. But I didn’t give  up, even when I really wanted to because it was awkward and uncomfortable and disconcerting. Eventually, I found the pace and the medication dosage that worked for me (about 3-5 difficult months after my diagnosis) and I was glad that I didn’t just throw in the towel.

help

And in my younger years, like most teenagers, I contemplated the benefits of giving up on life when it got too hard or too stressful, especially with some of the things I experienced at home. And even at my lowest, most frustrating point, all it took to know that it wasn’t even a choice I could make was to remember how it had previously affected my family and how it would affect them if I chose to take my own life. I had a family member who took his own life and can remember the grief that ran through my family, even though I was quite young at the time. I had another family member who attempted suicide on several occasions and seeing her in the hospital was a terrifying experience. It threw into sharp relief what the consequences of those actions might be for me. Every time I felt desperate or depressed and felt like no one understood me and wanted to give up, I remembered how I felt when others had attempted or succeeded in taking their own lives. And it was not something I wanted to make others I cared about experience again. And still to this day, though it hasn’t happen in quite a long time, that’s all it would take for me to turn away from that path.

 

Why suicide is the most selfish thing you can do

While it might make you feel better, you are looking at the world through the lens of “me, me, me”, not even bothering to give a thought to how it will affect those who care about you and will be left behind to clean up the mess you’ve made, figuratively speaking. The people who will still be alive after you are gone will grieve and suffer for this choice. Whether you are a “nobody” and think that no one will notice, I’m here to say that someone will always notice when you are gone. It may not be your absentee father or your workaholic mother, your spiteful sister, your pain in the ass brother, your best friend turned enemy, the principle who thinks you are up to no good, or the friends you thought were real. But maybe it will be someone you didn’t even know you impacted. The grocery store worker you always smiled at, the sibling who looks up to you, the parent who loves you, the grandmother who has already lost more people than you realize, the friend who secretly wants to be back in your life, the teacher who think you have potential, the bus driver who knows you never cause any trouble, or the fish who is depending on you to feed him.

I know people say it all the time, but you have so much life ahead of you. High school is not the end-all, be-all that people think it is. High school is just 4 years of your life. And while people there might be cruel to you, there is probably a reason why. One that has more to do with them than it does with you. Kids can be mean but that doesn’t make them correct in their perception of you. Only you can give value to yourself and if you let their thoughts dictate your worth then you will never be happy. One opinion doesn’t make it the correct one. If you spend high school trying to find your identity instead of letting other people define it for you, then you will be much better off in the long run.

But where to begin? Whether it’s you or someone you know that you suspect is thinking about suicide, the best option is of course to talk to them, or try and convince them (or yourself) to talk to someone else. Anyone will pretty much do to start off with. Guidance counselor, teacher, principle, mutual friend, parent, or sibling. And if you would feel more comfortable talking to a stranger, there a plenty of hotlines (like the one below) that you can call and seek help. But the important thing is to open a dialogue. Communication is essential to the healing process. Don’t give up before you begin.

suicide hotlineRead this article for a slightly different opinion.


Along the same lines, I would like to mention celebrity suicides. A phenomenon that has been sweeping across the nation and is devastating so many fans along the way. One look at how people with unlimited access to the best this world can offer is enough to make you realize that fame and fortune aren’t enough to make someone happy. It makes me wonder if they were getting the help they needed or were too self-conscious to seek it out. And it goes further to prove my opinion that finding the help you need can be unnerving but worthwhile and that your self-worth is the one that matters the most. The more you let other people define you, the unhappier you might be in the long run.

So take a deep breath and pick up the phone, or walk downstairs, or down the hall and start the conversation that could save your life or the life of someone you love.

Or if you would like to talk more to me about this, my email is kataweb416@gmail.com

Mystery Ending

(From the Daily Post) Now, the “challenge” part of this challenge: every day for the next four days, open your draft and add to/edit what you’ve already written to fold in something new. Here’s your progression:

  • Day One: start your post.
  • Day Two: add a quote from a conversation you had with someone today (an email, instant message, or text conversation is fine, too).
  • Day Three: add something related to what your childhood self wanted to be when you grew up, or a dream you have for your future.
  • Day Four: add a reference to something currently in your refrigerator.
  • Day Five: add something inspired by a song you heard today. If you didn’t hear any music, use something you read (and turn on the radio!).

 

In a society that consistently pushes us to be better than the person next to us and define that gap a little more clearly, have we lost what it truly means to be great? When we celebrate participation and don’t keep score at sporting events, haven’t we really started to praise mediocrity? There are students who overwhelm themselves trying to be everything at once and others who simply can’t be bothered to try. Some schools hand out A’s like they are candy simply because having a C is now seen as not average but less in some way. Coursework has gotten easier in some ways and more difficult in others. And those who want to learn are often throw into a system that can’t properly cultivate that thirst for knowledge.

For example, I had a conversation today with a young woman who didn’t know what an amended tax return is, and I should probably mention that this student also happens to be a finance major at a prestigious business school. If our youth are so unprepared to meet the world that they don’t even know how to file their taxes, let alone amend them if need be, then what has all of that schooling really been preparing them for? Schools aren’t teaching lessons on how to be an adult and act in the real world but rather they are being sheltered from what they really need to know in order to survive. Something as simple as creating a budget or filing your taxes should be a class taught to our students rather than drones of meaningless facts and equations that they will probably never use again.

I had a variety of careers that I wanted as a kid, most notably, I wanted to be a doctor. But of course for me, I had a specific type in mind. I don’t remember which book gave me the idea, perhaps it was “Toxin” by Robin Cook, but I decided I wanted to be a cardiac-thoracic surgeon. That is until I heard the sound of a bone snap for the first time. Then that dream died. Now, I want to be a novelist. Well a writer, at least. Plus I want my writing to mean something, to influence people, specifically I want to inspire young women to embrace who they want to be. I want them to celebrate what they can accomplish in their lives and never have to give up on that dream.

And one of the most important parts of being a writer is obviously the snacks. And the tea but that’s a topic for another time. In the quest to make a difference, you have to treat your body well and to that end, I went to Trader Joe’s today. Boy, have I missed that store. I brought my 10 year old cousin with me and introduced her to the magical world of organic and all-natural. And we bought chicken pot-sticker dumplings. And damn are they good. Definitely worth keeping in my fridge, or rather in this case, my freezer.

As it is now Sunday, I can’t remember any song that I heard on the radio on Friday. But fortunately, I am reading a fascinating book by David Sedaris. His views on family and holidays are highly entertaining. “Holidays on Ice” is hysterical yet odd at times. I read a story called “Dinah – The Christmas Whore” and I had to try so hard not to snicker loudly late at night. No idea how this story might tie into the earlier ideas on society and mediocrity but I’m sure there is a lesson to be learned in there. I am very much enjoying Sedaris’ take on life, his humor, although sometimes dark, has the ability to make you think about life in different ways.

I’ve also decided that I’m not going to bother to go back and reread or edit any of my thoughts from the previous days. I’m simply going to post this and let the world see it for what it is. Love it or hate it, it is what it is: the product of whatever I was thinking and feeling on a given day. So have at it.

Favorite Position

Stumbled across this amazing article on Twitter today after following Lena Dunham. Lauren Conrad was asked on a live radio show what her favorite position was and she had an amazing response: CEO.

There are so many strong, badass women in the world and they deserve to be heard. Women have come so far in the last 100 years and we need to continue to grow and push to be seen and treated as equal. Whether its women’s health rights, equal pay, or job opportunities, our favorite position should be whatever we want it to be, not what society or anyone else tells us it can be.

So here’s my favorite position. What’s yours?

fav position