Goodbye, Sweet Dragon

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve updated this ole blog, so I figured it was about time to check in. A lot has happened, much has changed; yet there’s plenty that has remained the same. I’ve been battling demons, old and new, and just trying to get by like the rest of us. The thing about growing up; growing into yourself — you’re constantly evolving, constantly changing your disposition on certain matters, constantly battling old and new demons. When it comes to this war, it’s never simple; it’s never easy. It’s always the less painful route to avoid, to not reflect and to ignore all of the noise. It’s what I’ve been doing the last 8 months, and I’ve been walking around wondering why I’m an anxious mess on the inside 22/7 (yes, I know that’s not a phrase, but I’m making it one now, OK?!).

The thing about self reflection is it’s a painful process; it brings up demons that didn’t exist before, or that you’ve maybe forgotten about. It brings up the parts of your past you’ve been running from, the parts you’ve chosen to ignore. It’s not a simple thing, but it’s a necessary one. There’s a reason I’ve been walking around with mass amounts of anxiety that’s been built up for months closing in on a year. Yeah, it’d be easier to sit here behind a computer and say everything’s been wonderful; a dream, if you will. But that’s just not the case, as I’m sure it’s not for anyone in this life. So, as I’ve been battling with the decision to write this post over the last week and a half, I have chosen to do so with a quiver in my speech and a tremble up my spine for the sake of honesty and resolving  the anxiety that’s been hovering over me. To whomever reads this: I hope this helps you in some way, shape or form. It doesn’t matter how it helps, just that it brings some light to common issues we all face; some more intensely than others. But it’s crucial to remember we’re all humans; we all make mistakes. Accept that aspect, and get to reflectin’.

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For me, it’s been a whirlwind of a year. From an ex-fling moving back to town “for me”, to dissolving my relationship I had been in for the ex-fling, to moving too fast with the ex-fling-turned-boyfriend, to it blowing up in flames a month later and begging for forgiveness from the prior relationship I then knew was meant for me; it’s been one for the books emotionally. Not to mention throughout the whole experience I was battling one of my longtime demons; an eating disorder. Sure: you probably think everyone has had some type of disorder in their life in this day in age, so who cares? Well, no girl at any age should develop this mentality, and it’s something we as a society need to shape into something more accepting.

Either way, battling with relationships is always hard. When you have someone you love, then someone you could love come into your life; someone who moved you so much in the short time you spent together. To then try it out and have it burn like a forest fire of passion and toxicity . . . it hurts. It sucks to think you had something so right, to then have it just blow up in your face. To have it not work out. To realize the mistake you made. To plea on hands and knees for forgiveness and another chance; it really breaks a person down. And these are the moments I haven’t looked back on. But with the bad, there’s the good. Did I hate every second with this ex-fling turned boyfriend? Absolutely not. We created a podcast together (RIP), and were ultimately in one of the most creative mental places I’d been in in awhile. It was passion. It was intellect. It was creativity and it was all happening at once and so fast. But I needed that to happen. I needed that passion (that was probably toxic passion the whole time, but I’m not ready to write it off as that yet).

That relationship led me back to my previous one that I had cut the cords off of solely for this ex-fling, and grateful is the understatement of the year for what I felt towards my newly rekindled love interest and current boyfriend. Yeah, the road’s had some ups and downs, some areas where I needed space to do my own thing and escape the relationship a bit, but now, looking back; I needed all of those things to happen to get me to the place I’m at now: in love with gratitude and a deep connection to the one I can now see is my truest love. Sure, we don’t agree about everything (don’t even get me started on politics), but we respect each others opinions in the long run, and value each other tremendously.

4703d239dbd1323a5afed22ac9d586d7Then there’s the even more personal demon of an eating disorder mixed with severe body dysmorphia. Yes, the two commonly go together, but I’ve rarely spoken to anyone about this portion of my life, and how I’ve struggled with it since middle school, when I began binging and purging. Though that was more of a fad than anything, the concept stuck around with me throughout high school and into my post-college-grad life. This year, that took a turn towards severe calorie counting and deprivation, where I lost 30 pounds and was the smallest I had ever been at a size 2. My family was concerned, and I played it off as if it was nothing. I wanted to be that small, I wanted people to be worried, I wanted the attention. Since March, I have gained back the 30 I lost by selectively eating under 700 calories a day, and I’d be lying if I said I love how far I’ve come. Every day I struggle with the trips down memory lane filled with pictures of myself at my smallest weight, wishing I could be that way again. Then I have to actually tell myself that I wasn’t healthy then, and that I am now. That my body can be that small, but it should be done the healthy, non-depriving way. It’s a daily struggle to love myself, and I’ll be honest it’s not going well right now, but I’m trying. I’m admitting it’s a problem, and I’m trying to not let my head get the best of me.

I also have a new job which I love, that challenges me while letting me do what I’m good at—writing and killing the social media game. Everything on the job front is perfection, and I’ve come so far over the last year and half with struggling as a freelance writer to this opportunity I currently find myself in, and I am truly grateful for this opportunity and the having the ability to not struggle or worry about how many articles I’ve written and for who, etc. There are days where I doubt myself and my abilities, but that’s a part of the human condition: we all have self-doubt, and it’s a strong force.

I don’t have the answers on any of the above, but I know if you keep plugging away at things, they’ll eventually work out in your favor, or something better will come around. Are you going through something similar, or far from relative but want to chat? Leave a comment below or feel free to email me. We’re a community, here; so it’s time we start acting like it.

 

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The Problem With Millennial Politics in the Workplace

If you’ve ever spent any time in a corporate setting, you know politics exist. Corporate politics are unlike any other, yet systematically the same. After talking to various people at different levels and ages, it’s impossible to see the real problem. It’s not the millennials. It’s not the baby boomer generation. It’s the transition of one generation to the next, with an increase in technology, knowledge and general transition in human rights (women’s rights included). You no longer are forced to start underground, below the ladder, to only dig your way to the surface and finally get a hand on the corporate ladder that you’ll be climbing for the next 20 years to possibly reach a point where you’re not suffering from total debt. That’s not the primary way of the 2016 world we’re in. That’s not the way of thought. It’s no longer the most ‘efficient’ use of employees. It’s no longer the only working order in the workplace. Now, it’s dog eat dog. It doesn’t matter if these ‘tainted and jaded, self righteous’ millennials respect you and your C-suite position.

Honestly, they shouldn’t. Just because you likely BS-ed your way to the top by means of sexism and misogynistic acts. If anything, those people people shouldn’t be respected or tolerated. Why? Because it’s 2016 and we know that isn’t how things work. We know that if you don’t appreciate us—someone, somewhere will. I have no problem working my ass off to find that place. It’s the network age, and we’re not acting like it. We aren’t adapting. Leadership isn’t bridging any gaps from college to the real world. Yes, test your tentative employees to ensure they can actually be beneficial the way their resume, portfolio and cover letter say they are. But to test someone on skills worldly outside of any remotely relative to one’s scope of work. That’s not how management should work; not in 2016 and definitely not in the network age. I wrote an article specifically about leadership in the network age (quite literally) which specifically breaks down what’s needed to bridge that gap on both ends. Everyone has needs in the workplace, and they should given a safe and respected platform to share these needs and concerns, and receive immediate feedback. It’s time to take the status quo of the past and. . .keep it there.

It’s time to allow, enable and practice full transparency and merging it with full respect. There should be no hierarchical order. If a senior exec has an idea and someone on the lower end of the ladder presents a more applicable and profitable idea; that idea should be heard—not criticized. Not seen as a failure. Just because a VP didn’t create a proper plan doesn’t make it a failed mission;a flawed and faulty plan. It’s higher management failing to adapt (think biomimicry), failing to allow and enable collaboration. It’s pride and ego getting in the way of progress, success and growth. These are people at the end of the day. People with different skill sets that should be known and utilized, not abandoned and shifted towards failure for the sole purpose of it being their idea. Ego has no place in the network age. Ego will kill your company. Ego will increase disloyalty—not self-righteous millennials.

You need these millennials to turn the backwards thinking into ideas, plans and action towards a better tomorrow. To a place where profit is high, morale is high, and trust is present in every corner of the company. Hate us all you want, but by doing so, know you’re playing into a feedback loop that will cause a cascade of your company, sending it crumbling to particles of nothing. Ignorance and lack of transparency along with the failure to adapt will cause any and every company to suffer. From resignations and layoffs, to heightened stress levels and overworked employees. Delegate. Collaborate. Get things done with immense efficiency, and both ends of the spectrum will, over time, organically earn that respect of each other. With earned respect comes prosperity and a high energy workplace. Why would you want your corporation to falter and employees to drop like flies? you shouldn’t, and you don’t have to—so don’t.

 

The Diet You Should Swear By

…isn’t the same for everyone.

OH! And…

 

 

 

 

…it doesn’t exist.

But how is it that there are so many diets out there that people follow–religiously, at that? How can so many people swear the diet they follow is the answer and the solution to every problem you’ve ever had? How could it be that there are so many experts that are wrong? So many doctors, trainers, dietitians, and just humans on a journey to being their best selves: how can all but one of these people be wrong?

Well…that’s probably because there’s three sides to every piece of research that’s ever been done. There’s the side that the researcher chose to solely focus on and see (despite other information that plays into the results), the side of the other researcher from the opposing side (same situation as researcher #1), and the side of the two researchers findings put together in an extensive and cohesive report that…you’ll likely never see/hear about. Why? Because that doesn’t sell like “sworn, hard evidence” pointing in one specific direction.

Have you ever heard someone say that our bodies weren’t meant to digest ______? For vegans, our bodies weren’t meant to digest meat or animal byproducts. For Paleo-heads, our bodies cannot sustain or be strengthened without meat/animal byproducts because of the nutrients solely found within them (B12, anyone?), but processed foods like grains and legumes can cause inflammation, and force bacteria (ew) to break them down in our intestines.

Yes, it’s good to eat your greens. No one has ever, and should never, argue otherwise. Fresh produce is something that should always be in your diet. Whether it’s kale, celery, apples, bananas, etc…Keep on with the keep on. But…is that what your diet should solely consist of—along with whole grains?

There’s no denying that human beings have herbivorous tendencies and characteristics. Biology shows that we have flat teeth for grinding plants, and although humans behave like omnivores—eating both plant and animal-based foods—it’s been found that our digestive system is comparable to that of Apes (who eat about 3% of animal-based foods).

So, how did we become this culture full of nay-sayers towards any diet other than the one they follow? How did we start food-shaming what is still considered “healthy” eating? Why are there cults of people—some more cult-y than others (you know who you are)—praising themselves for eating a certain way and quite literally (ok, not literally) stoning people who believe otherwise?

This, my friends, is all a part of a feedback loop. What’s a feedback loop? Ah-ha. That’s where “The perfect Diet, part 2” will pick up.

Gotcha. 😉

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While a Blog Post Sits in Drafts

I will leave you with this.

I promise I’m somewhere around the halfway point on a new (and lengthy–you’re welcome) post about what kind of diet is the best to follow and why (trust me, you’ll be surprised). However, for the meantime, some self-love was needed from my own point of view, and surely you could use some, too.

 

Therefore…I shall turn you over to the good people at Boost.

Happy Monday, you beautiful souls!

Turn your Monday Frown Upside Down

The Importance of Photographers

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You could say I’m biased towards photographers, due to the fact my brother is one in his spare time (you know, when he’s not saving lives) But…I really never had any kind of opinion about them as a whole. Yeah, I appreciate a good picture, even more so after slightly educating myself about the art of it all (shout out to photojournalism at Ole Miss). But it’s truly so much more than capturing a babe by the beach or the sunrise over your hometown. It’s a moment…captured in time…forever…in a world where forever seldom seems to exist anymore. It’s a way to bring joy into someones life, give them purpose, show them their souls beauty in a way they’ve long forgotten-or maybe never even knew. Take someone who’s self conscious about x, y, or z. The reason they are is irrelevant, because they key focal point in their life is just the mere fact that the insecurities exist.

(side note: of course they do. We are human beings, after all. Self-obsessed, searching for belonging, trying to do right in the eyes of ____; Pick your poison.)

But…lets say this person has picked up a new hobby, has been practicing their craft, their current passion in life; Say it’s soccer, or yoga, or breakdancing. Maybe Crossfit, or cooking, or teaching themselves to play the guitar. They’re, by their own standards, nowhere near the realm of experts at this particular craft. Yet, they have been practicing-alone-until 3 in the morning, to get better.

–> Enter a photographer.
Surely we’ve all seen the experiment done by a high school student who photographed the moment before and after people are told they are beautiful (if not…enjoy). Their faces before show…little to no emotion, a harsh aura is reflected in their eyes, and they just seem hard. Distant. Untouchable. Then…The B-bomb (yeah, she said it!) is dropped… and their entire aura changes, and they have this glow about them. They experience self-realization and you see satisfaction sweep across their face, and pride suddenly emerges, right?

intention

So, back to the photographer.
This photographer wants to capture moments of these individuals working on their newly acquired craft. They are, most likely, unwilling and shit the idea down almost immediately out of fear. Fear of embarrassment, fear of failure, fear or looking like anything less than perfection in this moment that’s to be forever captured in time. Luckily for them, a good photographer knows how to get someone out of their comfort zone in a relatively comfortable way. In this case, they do, and convince these individuals to continue the act of practicing their hobby/skill/craft, without mind to the photographer in their normally solo space of living.

Now…why should you care about the documentation of people in their most tender of states? What could it possibly have to do with you or your life? Well…OK…The pictures have been taken, moments have been saved in the form of a j-peg forever, and immediately after the fact, these individuals are nearly drowning in their own vulnerability. Afraid of this failure they’ve created in their mind. Uncertain about whether what they’ve acquired as a “hobby” is even worth pursuing further. Then…they sit down with said photographer to review their shots.

Stunning. Simplistic. Passionate. Heart-warming. Encouraging. Straight bad ass-ery.

Their eyes light up, and gratification takes over and pours out from their soul. A sense of disbelief becomes momentarily present, and then graciousness takes over.
“Oh my god. Wow. You’re amazing. These are amazing. Are you sure this is me? Do I have a stunt double…? Or maybe you’re just way too good at photoshop. Just…Thank you” and a smile will, for the remainder of the day, take over their face. One that excuberates confidence, self respect, and resilience. And honestly…it’s one of the most beautiful things to see in someone. It shows drive, determination, a sense of purpose, ambition. These are qualities that each of us possess, but can be easy to lose sight of periodically in life.

This is why photographers are important. This is why art, in any form, is so crucial to our lives. It reminds us we are flawed, but we are united within our flawed selves. That with passion and dedication comes self-love; the most important form of love one can possess. When we lose sight of these traits-and this form of love-that’s where a photographer’s job begins; to remind us of the fire behind the imperfections. To show us the drive we forget exists in us all. To allow our tough exteriors to fall to the ground, and let our passions become the driving force back to that love we so need to survive. The one that comes from within. The love of yourself. soul dance

coffee wasn’t made for the weak

So…mini rant.

*disclaimer: if you’re used to my ramblings and mini soul-searching blog posts, worry not! I have been working on one for a few days but…haven’t come full circle with it yet. BUT…it will be done before the weeks end, I can promise you that!

 

I used to think I like coffee. You know…when you were in high school and wanted to seem cool, so you drank coffee with creamer and sugar and by that I mean….Creamer, sugar, with a splash of that black monstrosity they call coffee.

I didn’t start drinking coffee just black until a year and a half ago, as the first step towards a full lifestyle change. This marked a massive transitional time in my life, as I started to care about what went into my body, and working out became a daily-no-quitting-do-it-even-if-you’re-tired thing for me. Since then…I’ve been drinking my coffee black with no sugar/stevia/honey/sweetener. So…imagine my surprise when I walk into Starbucks this afternoon, order a iced coconut milk latte, and take my first sip…

 

HOLY SMOKES there’s SO much sugar/sweetener/”simple syrup” in this bad boy, a true latte should be offended that this carries the same name. coffee, no matter how hard Starbucks may try, is not supposed to be a dessert. It shouldn’t carry 45656354 grams of sugar. IT’S COFFEE. the kick in the butt you ask for every morning to get your brain flowing. The stuff you have mid-afternoon to get you through to therapy (oh, just me? that’s fine!)

 

I didn’t think I’d have to ask for a latte to be unsweetened. Maybe I’ve been getting spoiled by all the *true* coffeeshops around Austin that I’ve been frequenting that…you know…believe in the pure goodness of a simple coffee+milk combination of a latte. Now…I hate confrontation-something I’m working out through therapy-but I couldn’t bring it to myself to ask them to make it unsweetened…so…my whole30, week 2, by specific rule, is over and it’s technically time to start from day 1 again. but…I’ve already done a whole 30, and I understand the fundamentals of the whole 30. The reason I started a second Whole 30 wasn’t to find out what my body doesn’t accept and what it does in terms of inflammation and allergies-figured that stuff out the first time. It’s to re-commit to a pure lifestyle. I’ve been lenient with my diet, and it’s showed. I just wanted to get back in the right mindset, and on the right path, and I feel like I have been. Just recognizing the fact that there’s so much sweetness to this drink is HUGE thing. Obviously, next time I hit up a Starbucks, I’ll have to be more specific when ordering, or just stick with a hot tea or iced coffee, where I can manage what goes into the coffee/tea itself.

 

Well… I hope everyone’s been having a great week and an even better day. The weekend is almost here, people! One more day…you got this!