Dancing With A Ghost

0e53c81f9d411bfe342b5342c651eff2

When it hits you, it hits you. That feeling; that fleeting thought of not being good enough. Of trying to view things in a different way, yet feeling the exact same. Being stuck, regressing; any motion other than progress is hard to process, hard to explain to others; simply hard. Then there you are, stuck as the shell of this person people think or thought they knew, questioning what happened to the “old” you, or better yet; noticing nothing different about you at all, scoffing at any remarks you make to share your current mindset.

No, this exact description of events isn’t how my life is going, but to say I can’t relate to the sentiment would be false. I’ve been, you guessed it— battling with the same demons but on a grander stage. Those ones that whisper, “you’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. Not creative enough. Not fit enough. Not small enough; you’re not enough”. I’ve been struggling with taking my meds, struggling with staying on the wagon, whatever the hell the wagon is. Struggling to get into a new routine, struggling with not letting my emotions take over my entire being, struggling with being mentally stable, struggling with my eating disorder.

To clarify that last note: no, I was never hospitalized. But if you think you need to be hospitalized to have an eating disorder, I respectfully ask you to educate yourself prior to feeling or expressing any judgement or reaction to this statement (in fact, there’s a great post I shared that goes into this in the most beautifully accurate way — you should read it if you have a microscopic view of what it means to have disordered eating).

Anyways, when you go from your family being heavily concerned with your eating or lack there of and your disappearing body, then gain the weight back in recovery mode; looking in the mirror can be hard. Stepping on the scale (as every therapist has told me NOT to do) can be excruciatingly painful; hurtful. It can tear you to pieces in the matter of seconds and depict your self worth even quicker. Sure, the level-headed individual that I have fleeting moments of being would tell myself that the number on the scale is no reflection of me as a person, that if I feel good, work out, and eat healthy; that number shouldn’t matter.

Well, tell that to anyone battling any aspect of an eating disorder and they’ll likely scoff in your face (as I am doing internally) and roll their eyes, saying something like, “Ok, you just don’t get it”, and shrug/laugh it (uncomfortably and forcibly) off. That number, though it’s just a number, weighs so much more than you, from an outsiders perspective, could ever imagine. And it doesn’t just fade to the back of your mind, either. After you see that number, for someone in recovery or really at any part of the ED cycle, it’s forever imprinted in your brain. It defines your mood, your day; you.

Yes, WE KNOW. IT’S JUST A NUMBER.

So now that that’s stated, let’s never say that ever again.

OK and . . . we keep moving. This number, this object that has this much power over us . . . it’s . . . it’s truly something you can’t explain but if you *get* it, you *get* it, and it’s this unspeakable truth that connects you with others. You then have a support system, someone who understands your struggle and doesn’t belittle it, and for awhile, you feel safe.

This morning when I stepped on that scale, I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel that there was someone to turn to and cry about my lack of progress the right way. There was no one, there was just me and this number on this screen. Sure, my boyfriend was in the other room. Sure, I mentioned this upsetting moment to him. But it’s hard to tell someone something they don’t understand, and though I know he wants to, and I know he sees how I struggle with it, but he can’t get it; truly get it.

The feeling of not having control over your life, your mind and your body; it’s immobilizing and terrifying and calls for self destruction all on it’s own. If you’ve been in this place before, you probably know the feeling; and it’s a lonely one. My issue is that I want that control back. I want to obsess and watch the number shrink by drastic proportions on the scale every week. I want to see that change and I want to know that I intentionally had a hand in it. Now, that’s not healthy thinking; you don’t have to tell me twice. But right now, today — this is what I’m struggling with.

How about you, are you okay? How are you really doing? Mondays are hard enough as it is, but they’re even harder when you feel alone.

 

Real Recognize Real

There’s a type of obsession associated with fans and their favorite musicians but that’s not the type of obsession I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about the fanaticism that comes with the likes of Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber. Do I jam those two without hesitation? Of course. I’m not too proud (in this sphere, at least) to admit that.
What I’m referring to is more  of a connection. Not an obsession, but a fusion of souls with humans you’ve never encountered, yet everything inside of you gravitates towards them. The words they speak, you feel. Everything relates to what you feel. Relates to the hooks they’ve crafted, the melodies in the bridge, the lyrics within each and every verse of each and every song. Every chord progression. Every spoken word. Everything. That’s what I’m talking about.

Let’s bring it back down.
Music is my life. I can’t play any instrument per se(though that’s on the to-do list for a redo, as many attempts have equated in less-than-admirable results), but it’s something I cannot live without. Something needed in my day-to-day. It’s my air. It’s my water. It’s my pulse. Somehow, it adds into my purpose.

See, life is hard. There are mountains that exist solely just to keep you barricaded and stumped. There are people who have ill intentions and end up crushing what feels like every fiber of your being. Things will happen, friendships will crumble, rip and entirely combust at the seams. There will be times when you battle with yourself—a battle between your heart and/or your mind—and you’ll feel completely isolated, alone, and abandoned.Bet you felt like the only thing that didn’t leave your side was music.

For me specifically, my battle with heart and mind is one of severe anxiety with a (hearty) side of panic disorder. This is something I’ve unknowingly battled my entire life, and thanks to a certain former non-ex ex (dating is fun), I was able to realize I had gone too far crossed too many lines, and didn’t have my mind and soul understood or under control. My life was consumed with anxiety and panic attacks. I felt alone. Then…there was Twenty One Pilots. If you don’t know anything about these guys, here’s a brief related overview: The lead singer, Tyler Joseph, openly battles with anxiety and hyper self-awareness. When I was at this low point (once again, shout out to the non-ex ex), they fell into my lap; right into the palm of my hand and the center of my soul, as if to throw a life-saver to keep me from drowning. Did they know this? No. And from listening to their album breakdowns on Spotify, I realized there were many who felt the same. Many who related to the struggle of simply existing on the world, let alone the stresses and anxiety that come with it. To Tyler and Josh, drummer and sole other member of the band, it’s not about making music for people to blast on the radio and dance to, or even music for people to request and like on Top 40. It’s not about telling a bullshit story about the silver lining behind every breakdown.

It’s raw.
It’s mid-anxiety attack.
It’s the battles within our minds that we, as imperfect humans, face.
It’s real.

“…we realized that once you’re honest and you say some of the things that you’re going through, you realize there’s a lot of people thinking the same thing.”-Tyler Joseph

He hit the nail on the head with sheer perfection and precision. When you’re in that place, that dark place, it’s reassuring to know there are others at different ages, different stages in their careers and lives and etc., who also struggle. Who also feel the loneliness take over.

The lyrics within Twenty One Pilots’ songs quite literally and metaphorically save your life in those moments. Why? Because they’re about the human condition. They take away the glitz and BS that’s ever-present in the music industry, and are using music as an outlet. As a mental sanctuary. As a therapy session. As a reminder that life can be hard, but when you’re honest and look around, you’re not the only one who’s felt that way.

Disclaimer: “the human condition” was in no way my genius creation. I wish I could take credit for it because it’s just that—genius. If you’re a follower of his music, you’ll know the reference. If not, “The Human Condition” is Jon Bellion’s 4th (yet first commercial) album, where he covers topics from self-doubt, fear of failing, and paranoia to relationships, sex, and…God.

Who in their right mind enters an industry micro-monitored and managed by C-Suiters, and creates album after album where these themes are consistently showcased on a grand scale?

Jon Bellion, that’s who.

Bellion has (clearly) done things differently within the industry, but that’s not entirely what I’m getting at. Simply naming an album, “The Human Condition” kind of says it all: this record is going to ride through the triumphs, confusion, fear, anger and temptation that comes with simply existing in this world; simply existing as a human being.
He, like Twenty One Pilots, is raw.
He is genuine.
He is everything music has needed.
And his music? His music is everything we, as humans, need to revel in.

Face it: being a human is hard. Life is beautiful, don’t get me wrong; but it’s a beautiful cluster fuck at that. The industry candy coats the bad and praises a glamorized reality. But you know what? It’s no service to anyone when that reality is doused in chocolate with a cherry on top.

My struggle is simply managing my existence. Of accepting that everything can’t and never will be presented with a cherry on top. The OCD control freak in me that screams for structure that battles with my inability to keep my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds. What helps—truly, genuinely, and wholeheartedly helps—is getting lost in the lyrical world of Tyler, Josh, and Jon. Getting entranced by their authenticity, allowing myself to feel the negative emotions I’d been suppressing in attempt to keep it at 100 24/7. Because one of the hardest things to accept is that we are never going to always be OK. We’re never going to always make it out alive and unharmed alone. We can’t be the silver lining’s of the world all the time. Twenty One Pilots and Jon Bellion showed me that. They not only showed me that you can’t be, but also that it’s OK that you can’t. They’re the perfect reminder of this. The prime example that this life stuff—it’s rough. Lust is real, but so is love. Substance abuse is real, but so is mental illness. Negativity is a ever-present part of life, and as much it sucks—it’s essential. It’s a part of being human. It’s the struggle we all go through. These are the realities we all face,and the world needs to be reminded of this. You need to be reminded of this. Hell, I need to remember  this. In the golden words of Kehlani, “It’s OK to not think you’re fine or that you should feel any better.”

Fight it all you want, but you probably won’t get very far in that battle. That’s reality. Shit sucks sometimes, and you don’t always have to snap out of it. You don’t have to ignore it. You don’t have to suppress it. It’s all just a part of the human condition; a constant reminder from _____ to forget your pride and feel. Confide in a friend. Confide in a pen and paper. Confide in the music. I’ll be the first to admit that the whole owning up to your feelings, weaknesses, and breakdowns is hard. It’s uncomfortable. But with the likes of Twenty One Pilots, Jon Bellion and others who see what you see and feel what you feel speaking organically on the human experience as it truly is…we can swallow the pride that says it’s not OK to have a bad day, week, or month. That it’s not OK to suffer from mental illness.

That’s life.

Though it may seem ugly, it’s these imperfections; these self-proclaimed flaws that make life (and you) so beautiful. It’s what makes us relatable. It’s what unifies us. It’s what grounds us. When the real in musicians recognizes the real in the world; there’s unity and understanding. There’s acceptance. There’s connection. And that…that is beauty.

 

 

 

“Technically Single, Emotionally Unavailable”

*scroll past the video for the entry. Listen to the video for the full experience of said entry*
But first:

Dating is fun as a twenty-something in 2016, isn’t it?

All you hear about is either A.)someone else just got engaged or B.) how impossible it is to date in 2016 because “technology/social media/tinder/blah blah blah” ruined it for everyone.

And…usually I can empathize with the part B-ers of the world. Yeah, social media and the rapid advances in technology aka smartphones aka iPhones (oh, you still have an android…? jokes) have changed things up a little bit, but can you fully blame all of the dating woes on that?

In short: no. There are so many things that go into “officially” dating someone. Things that you just can’t solely blame on the wonderful world of tinder. Also, here’s a thought: why do you care if someone’s your boyfriend/girlfriend? Why does that even remotely matter? Are you having fun? Great. Do they make you laugh? Fantastic! Respect you and your differences of opinions? Per.Fec.Tion.

So what’s the problem?

Society’s the problem. Your friend who lives in the stone age of “you’re either together or you’re wasting your time and the feelings aren’t reciprocated and you look dumb” is the problem.

It’s come to my attention that dating in your twenties should be fun. It shouldn’t be a “let’s get tied down from the get-go” sort of thing. It’s not something that needs to be rushed into, because lets face it: as much fun as you should be having in the dating scene (and all scenes, for that matter), you should also be taking it a little more seriously than your high school or college self did. People are getting engaged/married/ having kids/etc. because we’re at that age where yeah, people do mature. People do settle down. The guy who was doing 15 keg stands a night and pouring tequila into that girls belly button is now a corporate hot shot with a wife and 2 kids. Things change as you get older, and that’s OK.

Just…have fun, but realize people aren’t taking things to next levels because as fun as casual dating is, it’s also terrifying, too. You know you’ve thought about where you’re going to be 2 years from now. You know that your bigger picture includes (at some point) settling down with one singular human for the rest of your forever, and that’s not something to take lightly. That’s not something to waste 6 months of your life tied down to that guy you met at the bar that you *swore* you knew like the back of your hand, yet he’s actually a total narcissistic douche that deserves none of your energy.

Why sweat the little details when there’s so much to live for outside of dating? Why waste your twenties on the what haves and could have beens, because that’s a great way to stay salty, in denial, and off the market. Yeah, off the market. Why? Because vibes don’t lie, that’s why.

But, for the sake of a well-rounded discussion on the topic…let’s explore a little further. As we’ve covered, casual dating is a major part of the twenty-something era in your life. It’s a crazy, bittersweet, sometimes frustrating and confusing, but ultimately carefree and charming time in your life. You’re having fun, and you may even have someone you share a mutual bond and affinity for one another with. All is well. But when is the breaking point? When is casual too casual? How do you differentiate the real from the bullshit? The long-term vs. the momentary lust? When you’re on the inside, it’s hard to see what others see. It’s hard to take yourself out of that headspace and get into a serious one. But when you do—and you will—take what you’re asking yourself seriously.

Why isn’t this legit yet?

How come there’s no real commitment here?

Am I single and free to date?

What are we?

What the hell am I doing?

What the hell are we doing?

Why the hell are we doing this?

This is terrifying and I want to tap out.

Whether you’re in your twenties now or were 20 years ago, I’m sure this struggle is the same. Technology doesn’t create or solve any of these thoughts. We’re human, and curious by nature. We have questions and opinions and feelings that we’re entitled to. One’s that should be taken seriously. One’s that should be respected.

But how’s the other person supposed to know where your heads at if you’re both too scared to talk about it? Why is the real shit so terrifying?

It feels like walking through the fire, but honestly…it’s just a conversation. Or maybe it’s several conversations that lead up to a pivotal moment in your mind, in your non-relationship relationship, and in your life. Checking in when your head’s weighing you down isn’t a bad thing. If they want more and you’re not ready; say it. If you want more and they’re not ready; say it. You can say one thing and feel differently in 3 days. That’s allowed. You’re allowed to be in denial of what you want, but only for so long. Every relationship—even friendships—can hit a fork in the road where you either jump ship or tread it out.

If it’s worth it to you; then tread. Absolutely tread. Patience isn’t having the ability to wait, it’s your attitude while waiting. Sometimes things need to feel themselves out without us interfering. Sometimes we need to get our heads out of our hearts and just let it flow. But if you’re in a position where something or someone is no longer serving a positive purpose and place in your life; that’s when you need to re-evaluate. That’s when you should start being concerned. Not because your friend thinks you have to be in a legitimate full-blown relationship for it to be of value in your life.

That’s crap and you should know that.
Ultimately, do whatever makes your soul happy. If your soul is happy, your energy will be positive and the vibes will follow. Get your head right so everything else can align. But if you’re holding back from taking the plunge in any way, shape or form due to fear of the unknown…it’s time to jump. The time will never be perfect. But if your life is better off with that human in it, you need to let them know. You need to make some moves. You need to share your intention, every detail and terrifyingly vulnerable aspect of it because beautiful things happen when you let go of fear and jump anyway.

Be happy. Live free. Chase the light. Take. The. Plunge.

 

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. 😉

good

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

Kindness for Weakness

“its very funny because i got your fucking money”

 

Here’s a post.

A post about the importance of standing your ground and letting people know the kindness that’s within you, but to also note that this kindness should not be mistaken for (forever) weaknesses.

Being respectful and courteous are things we should be. mannerisms we should possess not only with ourselves and our friends…but our foes, as well.

Why would you purposely try to manipulate someones actions…especially by means of lying?

keep your integrity, self respect and kindness.

Drop anything in your life that does not add positively to any of these things.

Drop anything that doesn’t allow positivity. Period.

The Importance of Photographers

possible

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