Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sorry for being the writer who disappeared.

I read this wonderful and beautifully detailed article the other day, and it gave me a thought: a lot of really talented and promising writers/bloggers mysteriously disappear or fade into the background, don't they?

Yes, you could say I am one of them.

When I first dove into writing, I was all over the place. I was featured on many of my favorite websites, and my posts garnered a good bit of attention. I published my own eBook, and my work has appeared in print four times. I freelanced for a variety of clients and websites. I was full of passion and ideas. I felt like I had found my place in the world and nothing could stop me.

But somewhere down the line, I started to fade away. My life changed, and my attitude changed with it. Writing got hard, and making money off of it was even harder. I got discouraged and weak. I had my heart broken, and sometimes I wonder if that experience was my final muse.

I have a hard time pinpointing exactly what went wrong, but all signs seem to point to my ongoing struggles with anxiety and depression. Although these struggles do not define me, they are very much a part of my day-to-day existence. It's hard to write when I'm engulfed by my insecurities, apathy, self-hatred, and a looming sense of monotony. It's hard to utilize my time when I waste so much of it simply trying to put one foot in front of the other and have a normal day.

So I disappear a lot. Along with the hoards of other talented artists who have so much to express and so few mental and emotional tools to do so. It's a paradox.

And guess what? Nearly every single writer/blogger I've followed, looked up to, and/or been inspired by over the last 6 years has disappeared in some capacity. Some of them have given up. Some of them have chosen a different path. Some of them have lost their way. And some of them are being held captive by the beast that is mental illness.

I'm sorry for being the writer who disappeared. I'm sorry if you have clicked over to my blog to find nothing new when you hoped to find otherwise. I'm sorry if I have disappointed or confused you with my frequent dry spells. I'm sorry if I have not lived up to the version of myself you see when you read my writing. I'm sorry if I have failed to provide you with the doses of inspiration you have come to depend on.

I write this in hopes that you will understand.

Sometimes I have a really hard time unlocking the best version of myself. Sometimes it takes almost every bit of energy I have to simply make the bed, wash the dishes, run errands, feed myself, clean myself, enjoy myself (never mind write). Sometimes I think I'm the worst and everything I do sucks. Sometimes I can't show up.

Please read the article I shared above, for the writer of it explains this better than I ever could.

<3 Madison

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

On true love, detachment, and being a good human

Monday was one of the most stressful, emotional, challenging and bittersweet days I've been through so far this year (for reasons I'd prefer to keep relatively private). In a nutshell, I was put into a highly stressful and comprising situation by people I trusted and had to act fast to do the right thing, even though it wasn't the easiest thing.

Details aside, perhaps we can all relate to being in a situation like this. We've all been betrayed. We've all had to act quickly instead of thinking slowly. We've all had to put our selfish needs and desires aside for the sake of doing the absolute best thing for the absolute best creature, whether animal or human. (In my case, it was an animal.) We've all been in situations that have put life, love and humanity into perspective. We've all had the wind knocked out of us in the best and worst ways.

So ever since the incident in question, I have been consciously working hard to be an overall better human being and put some important lessons into practice. I want to share my thoughts here, in hopes that they will help you do the same.

On true love:

True love is selfless and works tirelessly to make the object of your affection or admiration feel as happy and secure as they possibly can. My boyfriend, my mother, and a new and wonderful friend of mine were my rock when I was going through what I went through this week. They all taught me about love. They all jumped to my rescue and soothed my fears. They all made me realize that I was doing the right thing for the object of MY affection at that moment in time. And they all made me want to love bigger and better than I've been doing lately.

If you love something, you must be selfless and steadfast. You must work hard and be better. You must treasure who and what you love with every fiber your being is capable of giving. And when you can do those things without question, THAT is true love.

On detachment:

Attachment is my middle name. My whole life, I have become attached to people, animals, material belongings, ideas, ways of life, and ways of thinking. I don't like change, and I really don't like losing things that once brought me comfort and familiarity. But you know what? That's life. Change is literally constant. It's a train that never stops going. And where there is change, there is some degree of loss if you're as delicate and fragile as I am.

I had to detach myself this week in the name of being selfless and exercising true love. I would've done it anyway, but the only thing even remotely upsetting me about it was that I had to detach. Because detachment is hard. It makes me sad, and sometimes I stay sad for a really long time. But sadness, like everything else, is temporary too.

So let go, detach if you must, and take comfort in the fact that the chips of life and love will always fall exactly where they belong...even if it takes them awhile to get there.  

On being a good human:

I witnessed good humans turn into bad humans this week, and it would be an understatement to say that was a hard and unfortunate thing to watch. Perhaps I've been in denial or ignorance of their true character all along, but I digress.

I really do wanna see the best in people in a world filled with assholes. I feel everything so deeply, and I just don't want to be all the more burdened by the thought of how many people are just plain terrible. But I work in the food business (HA!) and I live in the real world, so I can't always shield myself from rude, careless, selfish and cruel human beings. But what I can do is be a better person myself. I can do the right thing, choose love over hate, and be kind and understanding to the best of my ability.

You can't change other people, but you can change yourself.

You can be better.

<3 Madison  
   

Monday, July 10, 2017

Impermanence

Nothing is permanent.

This has been a recurring theme in my life this year, and it's nice to finally put it out in front of me after months of struggling to do so.

I don't like change, but I've experienced it in such abundance this year that I've become nearly paralyzed with apathy and inaction in response...As if refusing to actively participate in or accept said changes will somehow save me from further loss and disappointment.

I moved out of a home I lived in for 24 years. I've had and loved pets since I was 7 years old, and I now live in an apartment that won't allow them. My younger brother, whom I have been inseparable with since he was born, is moving 845 miles away. My job is changing. My body is changing. My bills are getting higher. There are people I used to be attached to like glue that I either barely talk to now or don't talk to at all anymore.

And to state the obvious, this is the first blog post I've written in two months. What's worse is that I'm not even sure if I want to be a professional writer anymore. I've said this out loud, and the words feel strange coming out of my mouth every time.

I'm not trying to say that change is bad or that impermanence is devastating. It can be of course, but it's also completely inevitable. It's been said and preached millions of times before, but I've floated through my life for years with the belief that if I stayed still and lived simply, I wouldn't be swept away by the waves of change. But now impermanence is the story of my life. And I've realized that if I continue to stay still and live simply, life and people will go on without me. I have no control over any of it.

I'm at a point in my life where I just really need to ask myself the hard questions and wonder if my reaction to the aforementioned changes has led to growth or failure. Or if this latest breakdown is merely a sign of a forthcoming breakthrough.

As always, I will write about it all.

<3 Madison

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

This is what I wrote today.

"You're gonna write today," my boyfriend sternly told me over the phone. "And you're gonna show me what you wrote when I get home or I will dirty up every single dish in the apartment."

A rather motivating threat right there.

I don't know what's wrong with me lately. Every time I sit down to write, nothing happens. I usually just end up browsing blogs for inspiration before ultimately calling it a day. And hating myself.

I've been hating myself for the last three hours, if not the last three weeks. The whole reason I wanted to quit my job was so I could write more - so I could pursue my "passion." But every time I have the opportunity, I don't do it. This is an indescribably frustrating thing for me, and that's precisely why I don't do it. Because I know I'm gonna sit down and try harder than I've ever needed to and that whatever I do write is gonna flop and I'm gonna spend the rest of the day wishing I was dead because I'm not really living anyway, right?

Yet here I am, writing something like I promised. I considered finishing a piece I started the other day, but decided it was way too personal to be published. I considered getting back to work on the novel I haven't touched in 6 months or that other book I haven't touched in 5. But no matter what, I always end up here. Right where I started when I was 19 and full of promise and certainty that this was my path in life. I feel safe here. I can be honest here.

I don't know what to tell you guys, and I especially don't know what to tell myself. Maybe my life is in a relatively good place right now and it's hard to find inspiration when I'm happy/comfortable. Maybe I'm distracted by bigger things like where I'll be working by the end of the year and my impending trip to see my brother, whom I haven't seen in three very long months. Maybe I need to try harder and dig deeper to find the stories that still need to be told. Maybe the only remotely noteworthy things that have been happening in my life lately are just too personal for anyone else's eyes, therefore I can't write about them.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. That's all I ever have to say for myself.

But at least I wrote something today.

<3 Madison

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Life lately

Hello friends.

These last few weeks have been eventful, confusing, and a bit ironic. They have made me second guess the beliefs I've always held about the way life unfolds. Maybe life is simply made up of choices and coincidences, and some of them only seem serendipitous. Maybe there's no such thing as knowing something will turn out okay before it's turned out any type of way at all.

I say all of this because a few weeks ago, I put in my resignation notice at a job that wasn't making me happy anymore. This was a huge decision and a huge risk for me. I had to talk myself into it after weeks of becoming progressively angrier, stressed, and so depleted I would lie in bed and stare at the wall or the ceiling for over an hour before getting up every morning. My life felt like a lie. I felt like I was running on a hamster wheel without actually getting anywhere, my only reward being the money I was making. I felt like a cog in the machine of society, working full-time at a job I never intended to work full-time.

It sounds dramatic, and maybe it is. But I've been different from everybody else and a rebel to society my whole life. I was letting life happen to me instead of making life happen. And due to the familiarity with my job and my ability to comfortably pay the bills, I had no real motivation to leave.

So I quit. With no plan B and only a faint idea of what I was doing, I worked out a two weeks notice and came home from work on my last day with the obvious assumption that I wouldn't go back. But I kept my work clothes and accessories within reach, just in case. Because as hard as I tried to fight it, I had my doubts and my fears. These were worsened by people telling me I made a mistake. By spending almost $4000 on my first vehicle three days after leaving my job. By my mom telling me and urging me to go back to work, to make money, to do the right thing, to build a good life, to not struggle like she did. And then Friday morning, I received a call from my district manager asking me to come back. They needed me. They missed me. They wanted to know what they could do to help me have a better, less stressful experience working for them. And as I stood there in my underwear with no job and more than half the money I'd saved up no longer in my account, how could I say no?

So here I am, trying to enjoy my last few days off and accomplish what I can before returning to the very place that made me realize I wanted more out of life. I sound bitter and whiny about it, but I'm not. I didn't write this post so I could whine and complain. I do need the money. I don't have to start over or train or be given hours I don't want. My managers are letting me come back, no questions asked, and pick up right where I left off. And they are willing to meet me halfway by letting me work 3 days instead of 5 until I find another job. That gives me 4 free days to write, job hunt, and do what I want to do. So it's a good deal, and I'm thankful for it. I just wish it didn't feel like such a step back after all the thought, planning and faith I put into leaving in the first place.

But who knows? Maybe it's not a step back, but simply an indicator that my shoes aren't ready for the next step forward. Maybe my old job isn't done with me yet. Maybe I needed to step away for a couple of weeks and discover who I am when I'm not a waitress. Maybe going back to work part-time will be an extremely positive thing and just what I need. Maybe the universe is simply trying to tell me that 5 days was too much, but 3 days is just right.

I don't know. But I will say that my old job has given me a lot, including my future husband. And I refuse to even consider that he was just a coincidence. So maybe I have more to gain. And a whole lot more to learn.

Time will tell.

<3 Madison  

Monday, March 27, 2017

25 quotes about taking risks and thinking for yourself


I'm on the brink of taking a big risk in my life, and I'm really scared of what people are going to think of me when I take it.

That's all I can say right now. But until I can say more, here are 25 quotes about taking risks and thinking for yourself. Because I need them. And maybe you do too.

1. "If you don't try, you'll never know." ~ Coldplay

2. "If you risk nothing, then you risk everything." ~ Geena Davis

3. "It's not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It's because we dare not venture that they are difficult." ~ Seneca

4. "Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing." ~ Warren Buffett

5. "The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision." ~ Maimonides

6. "The 3 C's of life: choices, chances and changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change." ~ Unknown

7. "Ten years from now, make sure you can say you chose your life, you didn't settle for it." ~ Mandy Hale

8. "Always follow your gut instinct, even if you do it a little late. It's better to renege and risk being judged than it is to do something you don't want to do because you're afraid of how it will look." ~ Lori Deschene

9. "A wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows public opinion." ~ Chinese Proverb

10. "Let go of the need to control the outcome. Trust the process. Trust your intuition. Trust yourself." ~ Unknown

11. "Stop worrying about what you have to lose and start focusing on what you have to gain." ~ Unknown

12. "Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth." ~ Celestine Chua

13. "If it's still in your mind, it's worth taking the risk." ~ Paulo Coelho

14. "Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised." ~ Denis Waitley

15. "Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers." ~ Unknown

16. "Excellence can be obtained if you care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical, and expect more than others think is possible." ~ Unknown

17. "Life is too short to waste time waiting for other people's approval on how you live it." ~ Steve Maraboli

18."Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner." ~ Lao Tzu

19. "You can't always please everybody, but you can do what makes you happy and just hope that those around you will be happy for you." ~ Robert Tew

20. "If you really want to live your life to the fullest and realize your greatest potential, you must be willing to run the risk of making some people mad. People may not like what you do, people may not like how you do it, but these people are not living your life. You are!" ~ Iyanla Vanzant

21. "What you think of yourself is much more important than what other people think of you." ~ Seneca

22."Lean too much on other people's approval and it becomes a bed of thorns." ~ Tehyi Hsieh

23. "Nobody's going to save somebody who won't change. It's time to be brave." ~ Christina Perri

24. "What other people think of you is none of your business." ~ Unknown

25. "Take risks: If you win, you will be happy. If you lose, you will be wise." ~ Unknown

Good luck taking your own risks, my friends. I'm rooting for you.

<3 Madison

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Anger management, stress management, life management

In case the title doesn't give it away, I've had a lot on my mind and a lot on my plate lately. I'm pretty sure I'm having a quarter-life crisis, which seems fitting, considering my 25th birthday is actually tomorrow. (And I started this blog when I was 19!)

My Thought Catalog editor Kendra Syrdal recently wrote something about anger that really resonated with me. It was powerful and timely because I've been struggling to keep my own anger under control lately. I've become slightly more volatile in my day-to-day life, and I believe it is largely because I am neglecting parts of myself that need attention. It's easier to just lash out at the closest thing causing me the slightest bit of stress, whether it be a cheap ice cream scooper or a lazy coworker, than it is to slow down and ask myself where my anger is really coming from. Usually, it ends up having nothing to do with whatever it's being directed towards.

Rambling aside, I wanted to share a little bit of Kendra's post for anyone who may be having the same problem.  

"Anger is an easy emotion. Anger is a lot like love, hunger or fear. It's impulsive, it happens fast, it's easily accessible, it's one of those feelings that is palpable and tangible and we feel like we can and should reach out and grab it with both hands. Anger though, isn't the most rational of our feelings. Anger often steamrolls things like rational, empathy or tact. Which are necessary! Anger - is not.

I was a very angry person for a long, long time. Like stupidly angry. And I was always even angrier when I felt like I wasn't being heard. But one day I realized, people don't like to listen when you're yelling. So I took a step back. I calmed down. I learned to manage my anger. And then, when my heart rate dropped and my blood pressure leveled out, if I still wanted to say something, I would approach it levelly. With reason. With facts. With a discussion in mind.

And you know what happened?

I started being able to change people's minds. I started seeing humanity. I found common ground. Or, at the very least, I had discussions instead of fights. And discussions go places and end up with thoughts and notions and things that resonate. Fights just end with bruises and hurt feelings and two people who resent each other in the long run." 

I love that. It's so universal and so true. I've always been ashamed of my anger and viewed it as a highly negative emotion. But like any other emotion, it is valid. It's nothing to be ashamed of as long as you react to it in a healthy, constructive way. And even still, we all slip up from time to time. You have to forgive yourself. 

I'm at what I believe to be a critical point in my life right now, which is why I've been experiencing this onslaught of heavy emotions like anger, stress, anxiety and sadness. I want to do the right things, and sometimes we have no way of knowing what's right or wrong until we take the risks and see for ourselves. 

I want to wake up every morning with a sense of purpose and passion. I want to believe that at any time, I can make the choice to do what feels right to me - to do what I want without feeling as though I've committed a crime. 

But I, like most people, am responsible for a lot of things now. I have more to worry about than just myself. And maybe that's why I'm so angry. Maybe that's why I'm so stressed. 

I don't have a suitable conclusion for this hodge podge of words and thoughts. All I know is that something needs to change. And maybe that something is me.   

<3 Madison