An Inner Revolution.

Have you ever heard of the January Blues? At some point in the early part of the year it feels as if there’s an all-consuming lull in positivity. The joyous and exuberant feelings that were celebrated with ardor throughout the holiday season – they become wisps of reality that we’re barely able to hold on to.

This year I honestly thought that I had successfully bypassed the dreaded January Blues. January wasn’t the smoothest sea I’ve sailed, but it was much more serene in comparison to any other start to the year that I could recall.

Silly me, my January Blues were just making a late arrival.

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To start, let’s talk about what went right in January:

  • I started up my blog again.
  • I bought a new car.
  • I reached a momentous level of confidence with how my mental health was developing.

It may be a small list, but with how stubborn I can be about making cosmic decisions in regards to my life and how long it took for me to feel comfortable with managing my mental health, it’s all monumental strides for me.

I was doing okay. I was able to express myself and diligently work towards my desired successes and be happy. From how my January was going, I really thought that for the first time in a while, I had successfully managed to step into a year without tripping over my feet. Things were going right.

Let’s not forget, I did say that my January Blues came late to the party.

Just when I thought that this utopian ride through 2018 would continue, I drifted into the doldrums as February came around. Out of nowhere, I lost sight of what I regarded as important and settled comfortably into stagnation.

Getting up everyday had a different meaning. Where I used to be estatic to start the day and get work done or learn something new, I just wanted to hide away from all responsibilities and activities that required me to move, and just take a nap.

Even being around some of my dearest friends and family members in places that bring my spirits to the highest level of ascension possible, I felt like I was experiencing something outside of myself. My bank of emotions had been significantly overdrawn.

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I genuinely felt that every word or action that I enacted needed a subsequent apology because I felt so distant from who I was being at the time. To put it simply – I felt awful.

What made me even more upset is that nothing prompted my behavior. There was no significant stressor that triggered my actions (or rather, cyclical inaction). It just happened.

I can call it a late arrival of the January Blues, but let’s be real. We can dress it up and give it all the nicknames we’d like, but the bare bones of it all is that this hollow feeling, It’s depression.

It’s not the first time I’ve experienced an emotional downswing like this, and I’ve managed it before. Once realized, I’m able to arrange my behaviors to do better, and best my depression as much as I can. It’s not something I’ve learned overnight how to overcome, and neither is realizing what it is that I need to overcome.

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Sometimes, you need to realize how low you feel to learn what you need to do ascend to the great heights you set for yourself. The lovely Kristin Ondocsin of the Skinny Intern   painted my feelings into life perfectly with this statement:

It’s okay to fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn flame.

As much as it frustrates me when these episodes come about, I’ve realized that despite the measures I take to manage them, at times they’re just unavoidable. It’s my due diligence to ensure myself that these depressive episodes don’t stay around forever.

As peculiar as it sounds, when my depression comes about, I learn quite a bit about how I feel, and what I need to do to spark my own inner revolution towards happiness.

The hapless truth about depression is that it’s unavoidable. Despite this, just because we get stuck in a low place doesn’t mean we have to stay there.

I’ve worked so hard to make sure that the mental space that I’m at is a good one. Just because my emotions take a downturn for a little bit, doesn’t mean that I’m going to allow them to stay low when I’ve experienced the best of being emotionally high.

I like being there. So it’s time to get up, and get back to the healthy space where I want to be.

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I’m Throwing a Me Party for the Rest of My Life.

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Something I’ve always found interesting is the way that people treat the word selfish.

It’s treated as if it’s a curse word, or taboo. If you look up the definition of it, the word selfish is defined as being devoted or caring only for oneself and being concerned primarily with one’s own interests.

At times it may feel like being concerned with yourself before others is a bad thing. If we take a step back and really look at selfishness for what it is, is it really a bad thing?

It feels as if there is a social construct that an individual is either selfish or selfless, and can’t be both at the same time. Being selfish is often illustrated as a socially ordained “thou shalt not”, while selflessness is portrayed as an instrumental piece in the dogma of how to be a good person.

I used to align with this perspective of selflessness. I stood wholeheartedly by the belief that being selfless and putting others before yourself was the most distinguished way to validate that I had a good heart.

It’s not.

Through my youth, all the way up to the early part of my 20’s, I thought that the best way to be a good person, was to do what I needed to serve the needs of those around me. It meant that throughout my life, I couldn’t find it within me to say “No”.

It’s not easy on the heart to say yes to everyone but yourself.

 

 

Rather than take opportunities that would really give me room to grow, I’d invest more time into what would make those around me happiest, even if it cost me my own peace. As long as they knew I cared for them, right? The thing about expending so much energy towards other’s happiness is that we can sometimes forget to focus on our own.

I invested so much of my own energy into sculpting who I was into the most altruistic version of myself. I wanted to be known for how devoted I was to making others happy. I stubbornly stuck myself into a personal psalm that my happiness could solely be achieved through the happiness of others.

Blame it on my youth. That was honestly the stupidest mindset I’ve ever allowed myself to have. You spend so much time talking others up that when it comes time to sing your own praises, they come out soft and continue to, almost as if you’re turning down the volume on how spectacular of a person you are.

This radical perspective that I held about selflessness hindered me from living the most idealistic version of  my life for too long. I had become such a passive individual because of expectations that I had set for others, only for those expectations to fall at my feet.

Why didn’t people reciprocate the regard that I held for them? What was so wrong with me that I couldn’t receive back all that I was giving?

It made me feel angry and lost. I had invested so much time building others and catering to their needs, that I didn’t give myself time to figure out what I wanted my life to be like.

What can you do when you want to live the best version of your life, but it involves being the one thing you’ve been told all your life you shouldn’t be? What happens when you for once, stop being so selfless, and start being selfish?

You start to live your life right.

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Let’s be clear. Between selflessness and selfishness, there is a spectrum. As with anything that we measure on a scale, if we invest too much into one thing, then everything becomes unbalanced.

Through being selfish, I’ve learned the importance of balance. I can’t just live life expending all my love and care into others, just like I can’t keep all the love I have within me locked away. The verdict of my self debate is that when it comes to being selfish and selfless, you can’t have one without the other.

The important thing to remember is to never tip the scales. In both realms of care towards others I learned that too much of one or the other is never good for the heart. If we give too much of our love away, we have nothing to give to ourselves. If we hold all of our love that we have within us, we set off the balance of what makes us human.

It’s okay to be selfless. Celebrate your friends and loved ones and exalt them for the light they bring to your life, but don’t forget to throw yourself a me party from time to time as well.

We were made to give and receive love, and the balance of how we do it is important.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Me, Nothing Is Extinguished

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Every year I end on a high from the notions of what the next year has in store for me. I enter into the new year with enthusiastic strides, propelled by an ambition to seek out opportunities that guide me towards being a better person.

Continue reading In Me, Nothing Is Extinguished

I Sing The Body Electric

 

I celebrate the me to come.

I toast to my own reunion, when I become one with the sun.

Self-care is a journey.

It’s not the kind of straightaway expedition where point A and point B are right next to each other. It’s a topsy turvy venture that will have you going around in circles trying to figure out what the end even looks like.

Continue reading I Sing The Body Electric