Don’t Judge What You Don’t Know

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This will perhaps be one of the most personal pieces I ever write.  I went back and forth deciding on whether or not I even wanted to write this blog and be so raw.  I know that I may get some backlash from people over this, and definitely some judgement but I don’t care.  Because if I fear what other people say, when I have the ability to help someone else, I go against everything I believe in.  So here we go, let’s begin.

October 7th through 13th is Mental Illness Awareness Week.  I suffer from severe anxiety.  Not just an attack here and there, but legitimate general anxiety disorder.  It’s true that anxiety attacks are provoked by something and then sometimes simply made bigger in your head and you can talk yourself down.  However, people who suffer with general anxiety disorder suffer from anxiety regardless of whether or not something provokes it.  And it’s not just a feeling that is in your head that you can talk yourself down from.  It’s a physical reaction, a chemical imbalance, a mental reaction of your subconscious working quicker than your actual conscious.  So many people are so quick to say, “Relax, it’s in your head,” but it’s really not that simple.

Aside from general anxiety disorder, I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is ultimately what the anxiety disorder stems from.  And one thing that really irks me is people who think that OCD is simply needing everything to be straight instead of crooked, or that you have to count to ten every time you shut the light off.  That’s not what it is, at all.  It stems from an underlying issue or fear and then your compulsions are based off of that fear.  More importantly, it is a chemical imbalance that you have no control over.

All anxiety disorders are forms of chemical imbalances.  If it’s severe enough some people may go on anxiety medication to try to help the imbalance.  If someone was diabetic, you would give them insulin.  If someone has a chemical imbalance, you would give them their medication.  But I’m so tired of the negative stigma placed on people who suffer from anxiety disorders and people who take medication for it.  Medication is not a mask that covers up a person’s real identity.  Rather the medication is a mask that covers up the disorder so that the person’s real identity can shine through. 

Anxiety is not something to shrug off.  It’s a real issue when it’s something that you have to deal with.  And on a daily basis, if not treated, it can be beyond frustrating.  I understand though that some people don’t understand anxiety simply because they’ve never had an attack.  The best way that I can describe it includes the word “enough.”  During an attack, despite what the attack is from or about, you usually question if anything is enough.

“Am I healthy enough?”

“Am I doing enough?”

“Am I skinny enough?”

“Am I making enough money?”

“Am I smart enough?”

“Am I worth enough?”

“Am I being enough?”

It’s a haunting thought process and there’s no way to turn it off.  The only way to get through an attack is to precisely get through it.  And the amount of strength that it takes to do such a thing is not something that should be frowned upon, and it’s sad to me that it seems to always be.

Just because a person suffers from anxiety disorders, doesn’t mean there’s a disorder in their personality.  You can function just fine, granted there might be an occasional short attack here and there,  if you learn how to deal with it. In order to learn to deal with that, you have to get to the root of your issue and truly work from the inside out.  Sometimes, it includes medication to let your brain know that you have a chemical imbalance and need help producing x amount of said chemical.

The thing is, everyone has issues – it’s just a matter of how it affects the person and to what level.  People with anxiety disorders have a chemical imbalance that prevents them from being able to rationalize crazy thoughts and calm down.  And guess what… it’s beyond their control.  I know firsthand.  No one chooses to have a chemical imbalance.  No one chooses to deal with anxiety.  But for some, it’s the cards they get dealt; being judged for it shouldn’t be in the deck.

The reason I’m writing this post is to promote some awareness.  Anxiety does not define someone, it’s simply something they deal with.  So the next time you judge someone, or think you know their story – double check yourself.  Everyone really is fighting their own battle, and some battles we never know about until they’re over and fought.

I know from my own experience, anxiety can create a war within a person, there’s no need for this extra war in society simply for the acceptance of anxiety.

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Rest In Peace Yogi Berra

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Absolutely heartbroken over Yogi Berra’s passing. He was my favorite “old time” Yankee, and one of my favorite people to quote. 💙 He always reminded me of my Poppie, and now they can be friends in Heaven. Rest In Peace Yogi, a true baseball great.

In honor of Yogi, I’d like to post my favorite Yogi-isms:

“It’s like deja vu all over again.”

“No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

“I knew the record would stand until it was broken.”

“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”

“You can observe a lot by just watching.”

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

And my personal favorite, a quote I often use regarding many situations in life where I’m being tested, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

And this video… is perhaps the most wonderful way to remember Yogi.

Rest In Peace, among the greats.

Lost

www.hotelwailea.comRecently I just made my big education finale (for now anyway).  I graduated college with my Bachelors Degree!  It’s an accomplishment I am extremely over the moon about.  For me, college graduation represented a lot of things.  It was a symbol of graduating a chapter of self doubt and personal issues.  It represented the end of a chapter that I gained my sense of self and signifies the start of a new chapter, full of brand new adventures.

These brand new adventures happen to scare the crap out of me.  It doesn’t help that everyone who congratulates me follows their statement with the million dollar question, “So what do you have lined up?”  My response has been, “I plan on breathing into a brown bag and seeing what happens.”

Truth is, I have absolutely no idea when I’m going to land my first official big girl job.  I’m hoping it will be sooner than later, and I’m hoping it will be one that will jumpstart my official career goals.  But let’s face it, like most of my college peers, I’m just… a little lost.

I would hear that certain people had such great jobs lined up after graduation, and my stomach would be full of knots.  Why was I a step behind?  But I’ve realized now, that finding a job is much like finding yourself – everyone moves differently and things come at the time they are supposed to.

I think it’s okay for me and fellow graduates to feel lost right now.  Because as I think back, every single time I felt lost, I ultimately found a lesson that I needed to.  Sometimes being lost isn’t just not knowing where to go.  Being lost can sometimes just mean keeping an open mind to other paths along the way to your planned destination.

When I first entered college, it was a big, new, scary world that I felt super small in.  I wasn’t sure I was going to stay there for the full four years, I was a Liberal Arts Major, completely unsure of what I was going to get a degree in.  I was lost.  Yet, as I walked off campus for the last time, I felt like I made the most out of the opportunities that were given to me, and that I made my presence known.  I found “it.”  And the “it” I’m referring to encompasses everything I was so completely lost about.  Now, I enter the next big, new, scary world (the real world), and I know I’m going to feel even smaller.  But just like in college, I know that everything I feel lost about, will somehow help me find exactly what I’m looking for.

So to my fellow graduates – congratulations and take a breath.  It’s okay to be lost.  It’s actually important to be lost, because when we allow ourselves to be truly lost, we allow ourselves to find the endless possibilities along our paths.

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Acceptance

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Like most of America, I too watched Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer.  It was supposedly his last interview as Bruce Jenner, as he plans to transform into a woman.  A battle he said he’s dealt with since he was younger.  The difference between most of America and myself though, is the level of acceptance.

As I have learned in sociology classes throughout college, gender is a social construct.  Genitalia is not gender.  And gender does not define sexuality and sexual desire.  Sometimes all of these things don’t line up in the ideal way for certain people.  Certain people may biologically be considered one gender, but actually feel a different one.  And some people may have an attraction to the sex that is not generally associated with that gender being attracted to.  It happens, and saying “people judge it because it’s rare,” is absolute bull.  No, it’s not that rare – it’s just kept on the down low because it’s still considered taboo because people refuse to hear a person’s story and accept differences.

Bruce Jenner said that since he was young he felt he associated with having a female soul.  So I know the main questions a lot of people have raised include, “Well why did he get married three times?”  “Why did he have so many kids?”  or even “Why is he saying anything at this age?”  But the people who are asking those questions are not being sympathetic and putting themselves in his shoes.

People do not comprehend the fact that literally every single day someone who is different from the crowd is tormented.  Whether that be through beatings, threats, judgement, word choice… the list goes on and on.  Discrimination is very much a valid issue in society and that’s keeping in mind that society has accepted a lot of differences over the past few years.  Bruce Jenner got married and had kids and lived his life as a male because he didn’t know what else to do.  He was scared and society at that time was especially hesitant to prove they could ease his fear.  He also thought he could fix it.  Once he endures the transformation, the things he did as a father are not pushed to the side; because his soul is still the same.  He’s always been the same exact person, he just never felt the outside matched it.  During his interview he said that the reason he’s even bothering to undergo such a change this late in his life is because he doesn’t want to die with regrets.  People’s response to that has been “Everyone dies with regrets.”  If you live your life right, you don’t have to die with regrets.  He’s doing this to gain a sense of contentment that he has failed to have his entire life, one that we all take for granted.

Unless you’ve dealt with not feeling like you fit in, you don’t really understand the difficulty of it.  I’ve had my own issues with anxiety.  I have literally felt like I was itching to get out of my skin.  I have wanted to crawl out of my skin and into a hole because I could not figure out what was wrong with me or how to fix it.  There was no rationalizing with me in the middle of a meltdown, even though I knew I was being ridiculous.  Anxiety is an awful thing and during this crazy time I was also being bullied, which didn’t help the anxiety.  So I know how it feels to not know how to fix something and feel completely lost within your own self.  It’s horrible, absolutely traumatizing.  Over the years, I got help and became able to get a hold on my anxiety, and for me – that’s when I finally felt that I fit my own self; that I was finally comfortable in my own skin.  Once I felt I had control, I felt contentment.  I felt like I could finally be myself because I understood it.  I didn’t have to fake the smile because now I was able to actually smile.  I didn’t have to pretend to be okay, because I was actually finally okay.  Dealing with all of that has given me an open mind to situations like Bruce Jenner’s, and it’s a shame to me that so many people will not tap into their own openminded stance.

Why should Bruce Jenner have to go through his life feeling like he’s faking it?  Why should anyone have to go through their life feeling like they’re faking it?  I especially would like to know why anyone who is a good person should have to go through their life faking it?  Some people may argue with me and say that “Bruce Jenner has a family and he’s been dealing with it for so long already.”  But see, you answer your own question with such a line.  Why should anyone have to deal with something, rather than solve it?

Some think this interview was unnecessary, but I saw it as very necessary and very brave of Bruce Jenner.  He took his “celebrity” status and used it as a platform.  This interview is now promoting awareness about the sometimes misunderstood gender roles.  And because he is a known name, he’s helping people who are dealing with the same things, feel like they can open up about it too.  He’s promoting acceptance by being vulnerable.  I commend him on that.

Society may say that just because they don’t accept things like this, does not mean they’re bad people.  But for every person who refuses to accept a difference in someone else, regardless of what that difference is, you are allowing the discrimination and tormenting to continue.  The same people who say they don’t want to see any homosexual, transgender, bisexual, etc., being beat up or killed or committing suicide, are the same people who are contradicting this when they say that such people are freaks or are weird.  Sure you might not be pulling the trigger, but you sure as Hell are handing them the gun.  You are just as guilty, and silence often speaks louder than words ever could.

After the interview was over, scrolling through Twitter or Facebook, so many people had opinions on Bruce Jenner.  Not once did I see anything commending him on his bravery, his openness, his vulnerability, and his courage to set an example.  To me, that alone says something about society.  That says we have to reprioritize and get our heads out of our butts and accept the fact that people are different.

During the interview a quote was said by an author who’s name I did not catch, but what she said was wonderful.  She said, “It’s impossible to not like someone who’s story you’ve never heard.”  This should be echoed throughout the world.  If you don’t know a person’s story or a person’s struggle, you have no right to judge; chances are that knowing the story you wouldn’t judge either.

So unlike most of America right now, and most of social media, I’m congratulating you Bruce Jenner.  Congratulations on taking a stance and being completely open about who you are, and always were.  I hope your courage has encouraged other people to start speaking up and letting their true self shine through, because it will only add sunlight to this world.

We are all beautiful.

Titles

053397b9700ce5fda7afa756b370d36aIn life we all have many titles.  Whether that be student, employee, friend, child.  Society tends to judge us based on the titles we hold.  If you’re the CEO, it’s assumed you’re living a life where you’re well off and you don’t have a care in the world.  If you have a low income job it’s assumed you didn’t go to college.  If you’re a college athlete, it’s assumed you’re arrogant.  If you’re a supporter of equal rights, it’s assumed you’re homosexual.  If you’re a woman, it’s assumed you’re not and never will be equal to men.  And if you’re a feminist, you automatically hate men.

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, and I’m taking it as a day to express what a feminist really is.  Too many people fear the word feminist, or are afraid to embrace the title.  Women especially are afraid to embrace the title of feminist, because it is known that you will be looked at in a different light.  Although radical feminists feel that in order for women to get equality they must break down the men in the world; that’s not the only form of a feminist.  I associate myself with being a liberal feminist, meaning I think everyone was born equally and deserves the same rights.  I wear many titles in my life, but perhaps the one I wear most proudly is that of a feminist.

So why am I a feminist?  Even though I shouldn’t have to explain, I will.  This patriarchal society is intended to intimidate women and I refuse to be a victim.  Every woman and I deserve the same rights as any man in this world.  So hell yes I am a feminist.  Need more explanation as to why?  Because we all work the same jobs, the same hours, with the same determination and ethic.  Because we all deserve to live a life without fear, a life without worrying about being a part of the statistics.  Because we all deserve to be able to walk to our car in the dark without fear of being attacked, raped, or left for dead.  Because we all deserve to be able to dress nicely and not worry about being hit on or taken advantage of.  Because we all deserve to be respected.

When you wear the title of being a woman, you need to understand that you hold the title of being an underdog.  So use this to your advantage… fight like the underdog, finish like the champion.  Today on International Women’s Day, I urge all women to embrace the titles they hold.  Embrace the strength within each title, especially the one of being a woman.  The power for change is based on how much you’re willing to fight for.  Your title is far stronger than you think.

I am a feminist; I wear the title proudly.  Happy International Women’s Day!


33c88d72e2c3baf54f084b61fc8f6f1dSpecial thank you to all the strong women in my life who encourage me to step up my game; especially to Superwoman – my Mom.

Cheers To You

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I take a new year pretty seriously.  I know a lot of people think it’s cliche to do the whole New Year’s resolutions, but I don’t.  I think it’s a way to regroup and redirect your energy.  For several years now I always write my resolutions down for the year.  The past five years or so, I have also started writing a yearly reflection which includes what I learned.  I don’t look at the reflections or resolutions until the next year when it’s time to write another one.  It’s one of my favorite traditions that I do, and it’s a really great way to see how you have progressed as a person over the years.  It’s pretty cool to see how my goals have changed, along with my mindset.

I was once very negative, and over the years I have realized how important positive energy is.  Now staying optimistic, keeping a positive mindset, and giving off positive energy is something that I am very conscious of; and therefore I’m very aware of any negative energy brought upon by someone else and my alarm goes off real quick.  This past year I have realized more than ever that when you send out good energy, the universe responds with good energy.  And sometimes, the good energy that you project has a huge influence on other people.  Good energy helps promote change, no doubt about it.

Everyone goes through struggles, and a new year is a way of saying you’ve survived them.  It’s a way to celebrate with your support system that you are bigger than your obstacles.  This past year I have realized that I have an amazing support system behind me.  I know that not everyone is as lucky as me when it comes to the people they have cheering for them.  So for those who don’t have the support that I do, though it may not mean much to you, here’s to you.

For everyone who got themselves out of a rut in 2014… cheers to you.  For everyone who broke free from a terrible situation… cheers to you.  For everyone who had to deal with the loss of a loved one… cheers to you.  For everyone who was bullied, abused, outcasted, and didn’t choose self harm… cheers to you.  For everyone who did something they didn’t think they could… cheers to you.  For everyone who embraced life… cheers to you.  For everyone who made someone else smile… cheers to you.  For everyone who did something just because it was the right thing to do… cheers to you.  You survived another year.  And though I may be a stranger to some of you reading this, I genuinely mean it when I say good for you.  You go!  Because individuals who overcome struggle, stranger or friend, inspire me to overcome my own and to keep the positive mindset I have. Cheers to you, truly.

Here’s to 2015!  May it be a positive, happy, and healthy one.  May you have no regrets and no words left unspoken.


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And a special shout out to my very special support system… from my amazing family who encourages me always, to my wonderful boyfriend who keeps me sane and always makes me smile (power couple!), to my loyal friends who have my back and keep me laughing.  You all mean so very much to me.

Hustle Hard

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It’s been a little while since my last blog, and that is entirely because of my hectic school schedule.  It’s crunch time now, and the stress is real.  Through all the chaos this semester though, I’ve come to appreciate the amount of work I have to do and have always done.

So many times I hear people who have gotten crazy opportunities but I know it was just a stroke of luck.  I know they don’t work nearly as hard as I do, and yet things are handed to them.  This would bother me to absolutely no end.  As I work my butt off, I’m being denied and rejected from opportunities that I’m applying for.  While these people who could ultimately care less are handed things on a silver platter.

This semester I took six classes, worked two jobs, and had an internship where I had to contribute a minimum of 90 hours for school credit.  I have reached a point of complete exhaustion.  However, as the end approaches, I’m extremely proud of myself for somehow managing to not quit.

And that’s just the thing, I never quit.  I never really appreciated that quality about myself until recently, probably until this semester.  Anything that I start, I finish.  When someone tells me I can’t do something, you better believe I will do it.  When people count me out, they are in for a rude awakening.  Don’t ever count me out.

I appreciate the amount of work I have to do because I know that no one can ever take it from me.  Nothing gets handed to me, but that also means nothing can be taken from me.  I don’t owe any accomplishment to anyone except myself (and my parents for their support).  In the long run, I’m more grateful for having to instill that work ethic in myself instead of getting the luck card distributed to me.  Having to work for every accomplishment builds character and changes your outlook on life.  You become aware that nothing is permanent, not success or struggle.

As finals week approaches for college kids, appreciate the hard work you have to do because in the end it’s only helping you.  Pressure can either burst pipes or make a diamond.  Be a diamond.

Hustle until you no longer have to introduce yourself.  And when you no longer have to introduce yourself, what a wonderful feeling it will be to know that it’s because of you and your hard work, not because of introductions from others.