My Semicolon Story

I recently came across a social media post sharing that this week is National Suicide Prevention Week, hence the semicolon (;) reference to represent mental health and suicide prevention. While I have gone back and forth with sharing my experience along with people in my life who I have lost to or survived suicide, I thought maybe my bravery could help one person feel less alone in a silent battle they may be fighting, have fought or are witnessing a close family member or friend struggle with as a result of mental health. I think speaking about mental health should be as normal as one sharing about their physical health, but unfortunately we are all not there yet. That is okay, but we can do better.

My hope in sharing my personal story is in no way for you on the other side to feel pity, but to have an open heart and mind to those you interact with on a daily basis. Anyway, let’s get into the trenches of my journey. From a young age, which I did not realize until going through therapy recently, I have dealt with suicidal ideation. I used to think it was something I should keep to myself, suffering in silence but using humor as a mask to show I am fine. But what I’ve learned is that it helps to share when you are experiencing these unexplainable, hard, and dark moments in life. Throughout my therapy journey, I have realized the more you talk about stigmatized topics, like mental health, the less alone you feel in these experiences and thoughts, despite how isolating they can feel in the moment.

Seeing that this week is Suicide Prevention Week, I look back at a friend who I worked with years ago who I felt I missed the signs with. I felt this person was just doing certain actions for attention, but what they were doing was seeking help and guidance in what was one of their darkest moments. Unfortunately people did not see those actions as such and ostracized this person, instead of reaching out a hand to help and to offer an ear to listen to and truly see what was going on underneath the armor this person was wearing and the weight they were carrying around. Another experience I think of is someone close to me who I found out after the fact; it broke my heart. Fortunately this person is still with us, and will continue to change lives through their work in the mental health field.

I guess what I am saying in sharing these lived experiences of those close with me, is that there are no clear signs. At times you may be caught off guard or not understand why: they seemed so happy, they seemed so successful, they seemed like they had it altogether? On the other side of the coin, they may seem so depressed, so moody, so defiant and so who any number of things.

Mental health is not black and white, there is a lot of grey. Much of it we as a society still really do not understand, even after years of research and funding into various projects and non-profits tasked with addressing and understanding mental health and suicide. I think the reason we do not understand is because mental health tends to not be seen or spoken about as if it could be physically seen like someone breaking their arm and needing to wear a sling or cast for their arm to fully heal. I like to say mental health can be visibly invisible, since it can be hidden and shown very well depending on the person. My hope through sharing this is to shine a light on how complex mental health, specifically suicide, is. Addressing mental health is not a one size fits all approach, it is meeting someone where they are at and truly listening to what they are saying and sharing how you feel they could be best helped. At the end of the day, it comes to them, not you. You can do all in your power to help someone, but they first have to want to help themselves, that’s where it all gets complicated.

If you are in need of help, I suggest looking up mental health services in your area, reaching out to someone you trust to share what you are going through, or calling 988.

Let’s break the stigma around mental health, share our stories (struggles included) proudly, and take a moment out of our busy lives to stop, smile and talk with a stranger. Offer them a compliment, someone to small talk with, or a kind act such as a hug. I know kindness and humility hasn’t been lost on us as a society, so show understanding in all those who’s paths you have and will cross. Life’s not a zero sum game, it is about reaching out when you need help and getting up, no matter how many times you get knocked down. Your story has meaning, you have a purpose in this life, share your’s with this world, yet do not lose reading a page or two out of someone else’s story too.

PS we show the world mild versions of ourselves, toned up and down for certain people and situations. When will we share fully who we all are in our successes and struggles, all making up who we are in this life? Keeping being you, letting your light shine through in the darkest and brightest of moments!

Let’s Be Real

The will sunset, and rise again, so can we. Choosing to see and share the beauty of time between moments, living with true intent.

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Letting go…

A week from today I will turn 27. It is crazy to think how a year can fly by, and all the changes you can experience. From experiencing so much loss to gaining so much within a moment’s time. I do feel all moments in life have intent. You are meant to go wherever it may be, feeling the amazing highs and the insurmountable lows.

You never know what this life will bring, but at the end of it all you known damn well you truly only have your life. Through all of the changes of this past year, I have learned it is better to hold on to the things that bring light, and to let go of what is dimming your light. We, each of us have so much to give this world, but unfortunately I feel many of us fall into the trap that we are not this enough to become what we are truly meant to in this life. I have witnessed so many people fall into grinding their life away, instead of living life to the fullest. I never want to look back on my life, knowing I stayed too long in a toxic environment, letting people and things get me down, I do, nor do you deserve to carry their baggage, they have to wait to pick up their own luggage. I will never be a carry on of someone’s expectations, but rather a damn trip of all of what is worth in this life to explore. I adore all this life has given me, really great and honestly horrible, because it all led me to where I am now. I know who the true people are in my life, and yeah I may get let down, every so often. But we have to keep in mind, nothing in life is definite. Everything eventually has an expiration date. Letting go may mean moving on, letting go may seem contrary to what those around you think, and letting go is a lot more than letting down but getting up to know you can always start again.

So yeah, year 26 included a lot of letting go, we’ve all had moments when we just had to let go of all we’ve been holding onto. If you haven’t already, simply let go, your life will be a whole lot lighter and brighter because of it. A week from now, yes I will be a year older, we all grow up, time never seeming to slow down and that’s when we know nothing is ever permanent. People, things and moments are all fleeting. I am so glad to let go of all that has brought me down in the last 26 years of my life. Do know damn well, I am holding onto all the things and people who bring light, they are worth the dark, treacherous times I know will lie ahead. I know what is behind me, 26 years of so many words that could not encapsulate those moments. I am coming for you, 27, knowing life will continue to define me, but continuing to hold onto and let go of all this life will bring.

PS Letting go does not mean you held on too tight for too long, it means you are choosing to open your heart, your mind and your body to feel all what is light and bright in your life.

Someday, sometime, and someone will see letting go of everyday, every time, and everyone as all and nothing they ever needed in this life.

RAW

Raw, when you think of what this word spells backwards, you would notice it spells out war. And for some reason, I feel both raw and at war with all my feels currently. I guess you could blame it on Mercury retrograde. Or maybe it has been a while since I have been fully alone, and I am not dating anyone, yet I do have one person on mind and well some of my close friends know who it is. Anyway besides the fact, I honestly have not been happier at this moment in my life. In being in that state of emotion, I have recognized the people and situations that no longer serve me. I guess when you grow, well you sometimes outgrow people and things. I have noticed I have been more guarded and careful about how I give my energy to things and people around me. It is like one of my friends said, “life is all about perspective and how you choose to look at it.”

During this time, when I have taken a break from blogging, I have had so much time to think. To think about my past, to think about now and to think about where I am going. I know I cannot go back and change what happened but I do have control over how I react going forward. In being in this state of mind, I have felt both raw and war with my emotions and thoughts. I have caught myself realizing that I have spent most of my life making other people happy, and leaving my happiness to be secondary. It is crazy it took me a quarter of century to get to this point, but I am real proud of myself. I am also proud of you, the person reading this who fights silent battles in being vulnerable in your raw, realness and who may be at war with the ever fleeting, haunting thoughts in your mind. I know life is not a road map of directions you can follow, but rather an individual journey each of us are on.

I have learned that I will never stop comparing myself to another, it is a part of human nature. But in the moment I need to keep in mind we are all on different chapters in life, some of us are single as a Pringle as I am, others are finding or have found the love of their life and settling down into what it means for two lives to become one. All I know is somedays, I am raw and real with myself and others, and other times I am just at war with all that makes me, me. I know each of us face this dilemma; of looking within and out to see what we are lacking and are out to gain. No matter what you go through, know it is never a loss but so much you have to gain. A heartbreak may make you feeling you’ll never love again because the pain is so great, but you will and I promise it will be better than you imagined. A failure may take you to a place you never knew existed, but in that space you will find success for a gift you never or maybe always knew you had. Raw or at war with who you are, know you will always make it to other side, just keep moving forward, leaning on those who love you and being you, and only you!

I Got Your Msg

I got your message is such a common thought in my mind lately. Because I feel this can either mean two things, I actually got your message or got what you are saying. As I think of this phrase I think over the interactions I have had over the past year and half of my life, which many of my friends coined as the Mandemic. I guess I became a joke in the midst of pandemic. Glad I survived and found the only person I can count on is me, only me. I have found that ending a relationship that was going nowhere was something I should have done long ago. But me being me, I am people pleaser. I always people’s happiness before mine. Nine times out of ten it may leave a bruise or two, but I would rather be known for being kind and giving people many chances. I noticed though that I have danced with the devil way many more times than I can count, because all I was wanting to be thought of was as this perfect, sweet angel. I noticed in always trying to be the nice person, people will take advantage of you, take your thoughts and twist them to make you feel like you are out of your mind, and make you wonder where you went wrong. I have noticed that sticking up for yourself simply means letting go of people and things that no longer serve you. So I erased those texts you sent and no longer picked up the phone, maybe then you will get my message or maybe you will never get it. But no matter what the outcome is, unread text or voicemail, I know I kept myself by not allowing you in time, time again to just cause me pain, to hate who I am, to not feel enough, to just feel like a liability.

I know I have the ability to construct my words in a way that may make sense to you the person reading this. I hope though if you do not understand me, maybe you never will, I will have the capability to let you know have the ability to do whatever you want with your life. I used to think I had to make my enemies, the ones who left me on read to understand me. What I came to know is you cannot get someone to understand you when they cannot even understand who they are. I may care too much about the people who I cross paths with, but I know maybe one day they will hopefully embody being kind, understanding and just being who they want to be. I feel many of us just wear a mask, put out this front and facade like we all have it figured it out and have our shit together. The truth is we are all just figuring it out. Yet what I feel we lack as humans is completely abandoning that there is another person on the other side of the conversation. So instead of telling them that you will not be arriving at the same destination, you swerve, ghost and ride off in another direction. In the case of a intersection, you look to the traffic lights to guide you on what you should do. You ask the universe for advice, you ask your family and friends what should I do. While I feel it is okay to ask, I also feel this is your life, so send that damn message and if they do not respond or do not feel the same way, know you are still the one and only one of you, and there is going to be someone one day who will get you for you.

I am so sicken tired of asking if they got the message. I am so sick of people who just play mind games with the messages they send. I am done with those messages that come through, only to mess with your mind and make you feel crazy for feeling anything. I know I may know a thing or two, but the one thing I know is between you and me, the sender and recipient is let’s not play monkey in the middle, just straight up tell the person and say how you feel. At the end of the day, we worry so much and read between lines that are not even there, convincing ourselves that this thing or person is right for us, when clearly, most of the time it is not. So yeah maybe, they will get the message one day, but in all honesty, they may never get it.

Whether they will get it or not, it is not up to you to decide, the choice is in their court. So you can either be the player or get played, I have been on both sides. No matter which way you go, you will win some and lose some. Just know you got yourself. If you got you, know you have the courage to send that real message of how you truly feel to someone, be kind though. Either way, I got left on read or got your message, know your value is not attached to the outcome of what happens next. Know how people act is most of the time not a reflection of you, but their own self. Selfless or selfish, I got your msg, I read it, I smiled, I cried, I thought of you, I thought what could be. So next time, you get a call, voicemail, text or DM, know you got the message, it is okay what you do next (just remember to be kind).

PS I got your msg, not sure how to feel all about it, really?! Ever got a msg, left it on read or responded right back, only for you to be on cloud nine or feeling like you digging for fools gold in a non-existent goldmine. Only to say I am fine (really not, whenever someone says that). Time after time, we will continue to say I got your msg whether in actuality or figuratively, so got your msg, what will I say or do next………. (duh dun, we may never know, the never ending carousel of messages continues)

Alive, Existing and Lived

I feel many of us are alive, but are we really living or we simply existing? I feel we walk a fine line between being alive and existing. Many of the days we spend, we are simply just trying to exist and make it through, that’s okay. We play the part in life where we would rather be alive and existing, then to say we lived. At the end of the day, aren’t we just all alive and existing?! I guess what I am getting at is many of us follow the paved path in front of us that many have and had ventured down. What if the path in front of you is not where you feel alive, yet just feel you are simply existing among the many people wandering down that path. I would say pave your own damn path, the one that makes you feel most alive and that you can look back to say you lived, and didn’t simply just exist. Time moves fast, before you know it years have already passed you by.

As you age, you will start to wonder where it all went and hoping the finishing line wasn’t near. Keeping in mind that you do not want to keep placing finish lines in the race of life, because you will never cross them, if you do, you may keep thinking and feeling what’s next. We all wonder what’s next in life, where do we go from here, and how do we reach the mountain top if it seems so far off in the distance. We may all climb our own personal mountains of achievements and soak in the shallowest meadows of struggles. Between the mountains of triumphs and meadows of lows, we are each on our own path. A path we along with many venture on, or maybe we are paving our own path.

No matter what pathway you take in life, take the one where you feel most alive, do not simply exist within society’s standards and look back saying I wish I would have lived. I wish I would have loved. I wish I would have failed. I wish I would have chased that dream. I wish I would told this person or done this thing. I think many of us including myself live in a world of “I wish I would have” because we fear rejection. Let me tell rejection is redirection. Rejection redirects you to big and better things, trust me, you may not see it now but eventually you will down the way. Trust that life always works out for the best. And that the worst regret you can have is simply existing within the constraints of what society or even those close to tells you who to be. Because in the end and this moment; being alive, chasing after what and who fuels you will bring you some of your biggest blessings, experiences and lessons. So simply be alive, experience life’s greatest gifts and hardships and be that person who one day looks back and says I lived.

Feeling It All

I feel at times we honestly do not take the time to feel all the emotions and thoughts we are experiencing, since we live in such an instantaneous, technological world, where we are always go-go. What about if we just stopped, took a deep breath and reflected for just a moment. I feel in that moment, we would feel overwhelmed by it all, all the thoughts and emotions we have been burying down within ourselves because we did not take the time to feel it in that moment in time. Time will continue to move forward, and we will too, yet I think it is best for us to stop and pause to take inventory of where we are at if we may feel low or overwhelmed.

It is like they say, if you do not take care of something now, it will eventually all boil over or you will explode with a bottle of emotions. So if you are reading this, to take a moment out of your day and time, I first want to thank you because that is taking the first step. Now please with take a moment to close your eyes, even it is for a couple of minutes, think about that feeling or thought you just cannot shake. Okay, what do you make out of it, where do you want to go from this moment and how do you feel you can best move forward and start healing. We are all moving, while at the same time we are all healing from past or current wounds that still haunt us now, and maybe will continue to.

I just want you to know, whether you feel like giving up, you are not good enough or just feel overwhelmed with life, just remember to take a moment to breathe to feel it all. Feeling it all does not make you emotional. Feeling it all helps you heal. Feeling it all makes you take stock of what and who is bringing you down, and who is lifting up. We all get caught up in the rat race of life, so feel up a space with understanding and expression and grace the world with your face, because it is beautiful even when you are beyond happy or soaking in the sulkiness of your emotions.

All of us are riding waves of thoughts and emotions, some we catch and others crush us, no matter which one it is, get back up and keep going (as Dory once said) . In between here and now, where you are and want to go, who you are and and who you want to be, always remember feeling it all (thoughts, emotions, dreams and goals) is what makes you the only one of you. So if you leave here, please take this with you, Feeling It All is what makes you get up to answer that call and catches you as you free fall, no matter tall or small, the writing on the wall, you have the power within you to make through all of what life will throw at you.

Moving On & Forward

Throughout my entire existence, I have like many of you had to leave people and things in the past that are no longer serving me. While I do not like to let people down or cut off communication, at times it is (has been) the best for me and those involved. On the flip side, I have been blindsided when it comes to those moving on and forward from me, like what did I do wrong, is who I am just not good enough or why did they just suddenly disappear from my life??? I know I am not the only one who has these questions swirling around in the head. I know so many go through life feeling like I am not okay or good enough, that is completely normal to feel the way you do. I am right there with you, and over the past quarter of century I have learned you have control over how you react, who and what you surround yourself with. While you may feel it is all out of your control, just know you have the power always to move on and forward from people, situations and things no longer serving you.

I wish I had someone told me this sooner, well there was a few, but me being stubborn I kept holding out hope and seeing the best in people and situations, when clearly that was not the reality. In reality, people most of the time are not thinking about you, they are thinking about themselves, so do not take it personally if it doesn’t workout how you thought it would. I feel everything eventually works out for the best for all involved.

If you feel just like you have yet to move on and forward. Take some time to think about how people and things are serving you in your life; are they bringing more negativity than positivity, bringing more doubt than inspiration or bringing more to themselves than to you?! Thinking about what it is all bringing you, and go from there in making your decisions. You can both be selfish and selfless without being self-sacrificing.

So if you are reading this and feel like there is someone or something that fits what I am saying, please take some time to think about what type of life you want, who do you want in it and where you want to be in sometime from now. I think if we sit back and reflect, we can see many patterns of people and things not serving us, but it is not my place to point that out to you, you have to figure that out for yourself, those close to you can only help so much. I will tell you this from experience, sometimes we just do not see it since we are so invested in that person or situation. My advice clear the air and see it all for what it is, if you cannot, eventually in time it will all workout.

I know that was a lot to unload on you, yet I feel many of us feel this way where we hold on to people that we should just let go of and move on from. I feel it is human nature to want people to like us and for things to go according to plan, but life is never a clear path, it is bunch of pathways coming together and diverging as you walk forward. Moving forward and on is never easy, yet you can learn so much about yourself and life from go through the most toughest of times. Because some of the most hardest of times are leading you to some of the best times in your life, just keep having hope and trusting that the process of life will always workout for the best, even if you do not see it now or some time ahead, keep going, you go this!

Moving forward and on, is not simply leaving your past behind but letting go of those and things that no longer fulfill you, so fill your cup with what matters to you and those who love you, and that will bring you the best fulfillment. Sending love, hugs and hope to all of you going through a time of moving on and forward!