Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Miscellaneous thoughts (Part 13)

~ I haven't written a "miscellaneous thoughts" post in ages. It's good to be back.

~ Try not to regret investing in your health. It's outrageous and unfair that sick people have to deal with financial stress on top of being sick, but an investment in your health and well-being will always be a worthy investment.

~ Also, don't regret what you create. Your creative contribution is an important part of your story and who you are.

~ Progress is never linear. Healing takes time. Growth takes failure.

~ Pain ends. And you will be tough as nails when it does.

~ If you're doing your best, you're doing enough.

~ I'm starting to realize that romantic love is pretty subordinate in comparison to all the other types of love you can have in your life. When you have romantic love, it's all-consuming and feels like the most important type of love there is. But when you lose it, you find love in so many other places. Within yourself, in the presence of family and friends, in the little moments that make life more bearable, and in the little reminders that you're not alone after all. You can still be in love without being in love.

~ Closure is overrated. Just let go and know that you deserve to be happy and free. That should be closure enough.

~ There's no shame in having a day job while you do something you love on the side. Just don't let the day job eat up all your time and passion. Remember why you have it in the first place.

~ Feeling things deeply is not a flaw. It's a character trait that more people should possess in this narcissistic, mean, and crazy ass world.

~ Be nice to your parents. They mean well. (There are obvious exceptions to this, so don't take my word for it if your parents are assholes.)

~ Take your medicine, eat at least three meals a day, give yourself a break when you're tired, and don't let other people tell you how to feel.    

<3 Madison

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The trouble with instant gratification

I constantly crave instant gratification, which is a very common issue in society. We want what we want, and we want it as soon as possible. And we often end up taking the worst possible paths to get it.

Selfishness. Entitlement. Manipulation. Impulsiveness. Cheating. Lying. Self-destruction.

I've resorted to nearly all of the above at one time or another. All because I was too impatient to be patient and too consumed by the hard parts to focus on the forthcoming good parts. I wanted instant gratification. I wanted results. I wanted a straight and easy path to healing, success, personal gain - whatever I was after at the time.

But here's the thing: Being patient and doing the messy, less than pleasant work of achieving or acquiring what you hope to achieve or acquire is really, really, really, really hard. 

Progress takes time, work, and a lot of steps in the wrong direction. I'm learning and re-learning that there's no magic formula, no grand answer, and no obstacle-free path to success and happiness - or anything else for that matter. You can't push people out of the way. You can't resist what needs to happen just because it's not happening the way you wish it would happen. And you can't avoid the truth. You can't avoid what is waiting to be discovered.

I feel like I'm climbing a mountain in 90 degree heat, guys. I'm so tired. I'm so overwhelmed. I'm so thirsty. I have cuts and bruises all over me. When I stop to rest, I feel both grateful for the stillness and panicked that I'll never reach the top, never see the view, never bask in the sunlight of victory and growth. And that's when the familiar urge for instant gratification creeps in, begging me to find a short cut where there isn't one or encouraging me to quit altogether when I've already come so far.

It's so challenging. I have days where all the fight has left my body and all I can do is cry. But for every day I don't believe I can make it, I have a day where I manage to find my innermost strength and willingness to try really damn hard anyway.

What I'm ultimately trying to say is this:

I know your journey isn't always easy, and I know the search for instant gratification is tempting. Love hurts, money is scarce, amazing opportunities are difficult to come by, we live amongst a chaotic sea of questions with only little islands of answers scattered here and there, and personal struggles have a cruel way of haunting us, no matter how much progress we made yesterday, last week, last month, or last year.

But hang in there. If it's hard, you're doing it right. If it hurts, it's working. If you're taking the long way, you're on the right path.

<3 Madison    

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

5 years

Four days ago, my blog turned 5 years old. (Here's my very first post. What a THROWBACK.)

I never imagined how much of an impact such a seemingly simple decision would have on my life. I started this blog tentatively and with a bit of fear that I would get bored or impatient with it before I had a chance to build up a readership. But I never gave up on it. At one point, it was one of the only things I really loved and felt connected to. It became a sort of passion project for me and has led to so many incredible opportunities.

Radical healing. Work and networking opportunities. A loyal and loving community of personal growth enthusiasts. A romantic relationship with a reader (that didn't end super well, but still). Lasting, invaluable friendships with wonderful people. A book idea.

When I think about it all, my heart feels so full. I'm reminded that trusting yourself, no matter what anyone thinks, is one of the absolute best things you can do. What started as journaling turned into a passion of being vulnerable and sharing my voice with the masses. And I've experienced nothing but goodness ever since.

Everyone has a path, and this is mine. I can honestly never thank you enough for loving what I have to say, hurting alongside me, encouraging me when I'm weak, and sticking around all these years. I couldn't have done any of this without you.

<3 Madison

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Do you like books?

Would it be crazy if I wrote one? Just for you?

Do with that notion what you will. Because I really love you for listening to me for the last 5 years.

<3 Madison

Monday, June 6, 2016

Friendly reminder: You're human, not damaged

I'll come right out with it: Yesterday was a bit shitty through no fault of anyone in particular. It was just one of those blah days where I cried in the bathroom for an hour and then stayed up until 1am watching Hulu before dragging my sorry self to bed. I woke up this morning with leftover remnants of shittiness in my bloodstream and actually began to punish myself for that, thus making matters even worse.

I meant every word of my last post and have been riding that wave of peace for the last couple of weeks. But last night, I felt like I was losing it. I felt like it was coming to an end, and I would revert back to the dark place I was in, unable to claw my way out. This assumption was false.

I just had a bad night and a bad morning. And I will have more. 

For as long as we live, we will have bad days. We will struggle - mostly with things we thought we were done struggling with. You're not broken or damaged if you experience a setback or forget how to recapture a moment or feeling that temporarily showed you a greater version of yourself. That version of you is still in there, but sometimes it needs a break. Being happy all the time is exhausting, because happiness takes work. Real, honest, conscious work. And sometimes we just need to allow ourselves to be okay with sadness, suckiness, anxiety, failure, and all the other unpleasant experiences of being alive

I will be okay, and you will be okay. We're all human, and all humans suffer.

Real peace comes from recognizing and embracing your current state of mind, no matter what it is. So if today sucks a little, so be it. Maybe, just maybe tomorrow will be good again.

<3 Madison  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Looking up

I don't have very much to say today, but I feel compelled to say this:

I feel like things are looking up. I've been in a lot of pain and have made a lot of mistakes lately, but for reasons I haven't figured out yet, I feel like a changed person. 

This isn't a fleeting state of the union. I'm not on happy drugs. I wasn't temporarily inspired by a quote or article I won't even remember tomorrow. I truly, deeply, honestly, and undeniably feel as though I've just shed a bruised and festering coat for a shiny and relatively unscathed one. All the memories are there, but all the markings are gone. I'm ready to start fresh.

Within this week alone, I did all of the following things:

I spent time with someone I've carelessly overlooked a bit in recent weeks, and I had the wonderful, mindful time that I should have. I did something I've been putting off and making excuses not to do for the past 6 years. (Yes, years.) I let go of something I thought I couldn't live without. I spoke up about important things and was met with pure triumph. An issue that caused me burning and unbearable anxiety for months didn't cause me any anxiety at all. I am so happy, even though I have so little reason to be. I just am. I'm just happy to see myself like this.

First steps are amazing. But following through is even better.

<3 Madison   

Monday, May 2, 2016

5 questions to ask yourself this May

The fact that it's May already has me feeling a bit anxious and reflective. This specific time of year always makes me think about the rapid passage of time - even more so than my birthday or New Year's Eve. Maybe it's because I realize that the year is almost half over, even though it feels like it's barely started. Maybe it's because the flowers are blooming while I remain in a bud. Maybe it's because big changes always seem to happen in the spring (and fall).

Whatever the reason, I'm more focused on trying to get my life together than I've been in months, if not years. I feel the pressure. I feel the burn. And I wish I could say I feel the passion and motivation, but those two are a bit more fleeting.

All of that said, I think it's good to feel scared and to feel the pressure a little. It means you're able to recognize that something in your life isn't quite right and that you're not making the most of the fleeting amount of time you have. If we're not careful, we'll blink and find ourselves living a small or unsatisfying life a decade from now. We only have so many tomorrows, so many months, so many years.

If you share these slight feelings of May panic and uncertainty, I invite you to ask yourself the following questions with me.

1. How do I feel when I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed at night?

Track your thoughts and emotions for a week or two if necessary.

2. What are my top ten priorities?

Be honest with yourself. I can almost guarantee you have things on that list that shouldn't be there.

3. What makes me happy?

Make room for what makes you happy. MAKE ROOM FOR IT.

4. Am I taking care of myself?

Spoiler alert: My answer to this is a resounding "NOPE." Points for self-awareness?

5. On a scale of one to ten, how strong is my support system?

You can't fight your way through the suckiness of life on your own, no matter what society says. Reach out. Spend time with people who care about and encourage you. Talk about things.

Let's try to end 2016 with a bang.

<3 Madison