Monday, November 28, 2011

Accepting people as they are

Hair color. Hair style. Facial hair. Piercings. Tattoos. Skin color. Financial status. Social status. Personal style preferences. Taste in music. Taste in sports. Hobbies. Interests. Personal viewpoints. Personal opinions. Level of education. Career of choice. Sexual orientation. Weight. Height. Eye color. Pet preferences. Food preferences. TV and/or movie genre preferences.

You don't get a say in any of these things when it comes to being friends with or being in a relationship with another person.

Every single human is different from every single other human. You're going to love some of these humans. Others? Not so much.

You may disagree with someone else's choices or preferences. That's okay. What's not okay is trying to change them to better fit your standards.

If you're the type of person who describes your ideal soul mate or best friend right down to what they should look like or what kind of music they should listen to, I hope you enjoy being lonely. You don't get to create what kind of people walk into your life. If you're willing to throw away a genuine connection with someone because they don't like the same kind of music you like, or they're someone from outside of your "social circle", you really need to take a good look at YOURSELF.

Nothing else should matter if you meet someone who makes you happy. Someone you just click with, even if you're completely different from them. Even if you don't always agree with them.

Stop trying to change the people that you love. Let them be as they are, or they won't stick around much longer.    

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's okay...

It's okay to tell the truth.
It's okay to cry in front of the person you've always been strong for.
It's okay to be scared.
It's okay to not have all the answers.
It's okay to grow up slowly.
It's okay to hear countless nuggets of wisdom about something you're struggling with and STILL not get it.
It's okay to walk away from someone or something that doesn't make you happy.
It's okay to let someone new into your life.
It's okay to still think about him/her.
It's okay to fall in love.
It's okay to admit that you were wrong and apologize.
It's okay to want to be alone.
It's okay to stand up for yourself or someone else, even if it means standing alone.
It's okay to admit that you still have one more inner demon to slay, even though you thought you got them all.
It's okay to be best friends with music or your pet instead of a person.
It's okay to get back up even though you've fallen down a million times.
It's okay to feel sad, angry, embarrassed, nervous, or guilty.
It's okay to feel upset and not even know why.
It's okay to be completely different from everyone else.  
It's okay to make your own choices and learn from your own mistakes.

<3 Madison

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thank You

I just wanted to write a quick post expressing the excitement and gratitude that I'm feeling today. I occasionally log on to check my stats and I noticed that my blog got over 150 pageviews today. I literally clamped my hand over my mouth and danced in my seat when I saw that. That's the most I've ever gotten. The most before that was like 34. I remember when I used to get ZERO pageviews and I would dance in my seat if I was lucky enough to get more than one. So I want to say thanks.

To anyone who has ever clicked on a link to a post on my blog.
To anyone who has ever read an entire blog post.
To anyone who has ever bothered to visit my page.
To anyone who has ever commented on a post.
To anyone who has ever enjoyed my writing, whether they let me know or not.
To anyone who has ever read and enjoyed my tweets or guest posts on other websites.
To anyone who is reading these very words right this second. Yes, I am talking to YOU.

It really does mean a lot to me. So thank you :-)

<3 Madison

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Life Optimizer guest post!

One of the things that I make a conscious effort to maintain in my life is balance. I've noticed that most people never just step back to take a breather or spend quality time with themselves.

You always hear people say, "I don't have time" or "I'm too busy." It's sad that people spend too much time working and running themselves dry and not enough time living and taking a few minutes every day to just enjoy the simple things.

I'm all about the simple things. I know people are busy and I know people get wrapped up. But I think everyone deserves to escape from that every now and then, even if it's for a few minutes.

My daily routine pretty much goes as follows: After I wake up, get dressed, give my dogs fresh water, and all that jazz, I get on my laptop and do my online lesson for the day if I have one. Then I do my chores, which include dishes, laundry, and sometimes, cleaning. Then after that, I might check my Twitter account or watch a little TV. Then I write for 2-3 hours, whether I'm working on a new project, researching publications, or just writing for fun or practice. By that time, it's usually three or four in the afternoon and I spend the rest of my day doing whatever my little heart desires. I don't watch much TV, but sometimes I'll do that. Or read. Or play with my dogs. Or take a walk. Or bake cookies. Or watch YouTube videos. Or visit my favorite blogs.

And then I go to bed feeling balanced and content because I worked AND played.

(Get to the point, Madison.)

Okay, okay. So I wrote an article for about maintaining balance. I would assume that most people are typically busier than I am, given my description of my daily routine, but you can still make time for others and yourself at the end of the day. It is a choice. No one is THAT busy. You have to enjoy life and nurture yourself too, you know.

So my article is about ten ways that you can find balance and serenity after a productive day. Everyone needs daily "me time." So if you're a crazed work-a-holic who doesn't know how to sit still, maybe you can give some of my simple ideas a try. Thanks for reading!

My article:

And thank you to Donald Latumahina for featuring me on his site! :-)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Living in spite of fear of what other people think

I have a confession to make, mostly for myself. I want to write it down and see it in front of me so I can stop trying to convince myself that it's not true.

One of my biggest fears is being judged. I don't like how criticism makes me feel and it very negatively affected me for a long time. It consumed me. It still does sometimes.

I guess it all started when a girl I played with on the playground every day in fifth grade kinda sorta told me to go away and stop hanging around. When you're ten years old, that's an ouch. This ostracization got even worse in middle school. I sat at lunch every day with a group of girls who clearly did not want me around, but I sat with them anyway and ate my lunch in silence while they ignored me.

This need to feel accepted and this fear of being judged has sort of followed me around for as long as I can remember. It's like a scar that will always be there.

But here's the good news. I stay true to myself and live the life I want in spite of it.

Don't get me wrong. It wasn't always that way. My immediate reaction to criticism used to be to change whatever it was that I was being criticized for. It made me completely miserable and I soon decided that I was going to stop doing that to myself.

If someone tells me that my hair looks bad when it's parted down the middle, I'm not going to rush to the nearest mirror and style it differently.

If someone tells me that my boobs are too small, I'm not going to rush to the nearest plastic surgeon and have them enhanced.

If someone tells me that I'm too meek and quiet, I'm not going to rush to the nearest microphone stand and give a speech.

If someone tells me that I should be a pharmacist instead of a writer, I'm not going to rush to the nearest pharmaceutical training school and sign up.

So yes. I have a fear of being judged. But I live in spite of that fear and at the end of the day, I still have a clear focus on who I am and what I want.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Perfectionism is exhausting

I have to credit Brooke White (Season 7 American Idol contestant) for the title of this post. A few weeks ago, she tweeted, "Perfectionism is exhausting. Let go." And it came at just the right time and I haven't been a crazy, rip-my-hair-out perfectionist ever since.

I just submitted my next article and it didn't take me twelve million years to write it and edit it before sending it in. Usually, whenever I start on a new project, my inner critic immediately jumps in and says, "Psh. They're gonna reject you. You're not good enough to write for THAT website." And it leaves me questioning my worth as a writer. I feel the need to write, re-write, perfect, and over-perfect, and edit it at least fifteen times before biting my lip as I hit "send."

I did this before submitting my Tiny Buddha article. I kept telling myself that something was missing. That I could do better. That it was lame. That it was going to get rejected.

The very next day, I had an email from Lori Deschene (Founder of Tiny Buddha) saying that it was wonderful and that she would be honored to publish it. When it was posted on the site, people wrote to me for two straight weeks with their wonderful comments. And to think that I thought it wasn't good enough.

So today, if you're feeling overwhelmed or not good enough and you feel the need to drive yourself bananas with perfectionism, loosen up and cut yourself some slack instead. You're enough just the way you are and people will appreciate you for it.

<3 Madison

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The top ten women who inspire me

Girls rule. Ever since I was little, I loved the phrase "girl power" and I used it all the time. I really like people (both women AND men) who aspire to inspire before they expire. I want to list the top ten women who have had the most positive impact on me. These are the women that I look up to.

10. Ke$ha. It bothers me when people say that all Ke$ha cares about is drinking and partying. There is so much more to her than that whether you want to believe it or not. She cares about people and thinks everyone should be treated with respect regardless of race, gender, sexuality, etc. She's an animal rights activist. She encourages people to unapologetically be themselves and break society's rules. She kinda does whatever she wants however she wants whenever she wants and gives the middle finger to anyone who has anything to say about it. She's strong, brave, and thinks life itself should be one big party.

9. Skylar Grey. The thing that I admire the most about Skylar Grey is that she blatantly refused to give up on the one and only thing she wanted the most. A music career. She was asked in an interview what she would rather do if she wasn't doing music and her response was "Die." The music industry sent her spiraling into depression at one point, and she still didn't throw in the towel. She took some time off, lived in seclusion, put her life and career into perspective, worked on making more music, and then she put herself back out there again. That one thing that was the main cause of her pain was the one thing that she fought for over and over again. She didn't have a plan B and refused to come up with one. I don't think that's stubborn. I admire people like that a lot. People who refuse to settle for anything less than that one thing that makes them happy---the one thing that makes sense. And Skylar has since worked with some major names in the music business and will be releasing an album soon. Persistence pays off.

8. Avril Lavigne. I've loved Avril since her "Sk8er Boi" days. She is such a unique artist and I love how she's not afraid to evolve, whether it be her look or her music. She's honest and true to herself. I remember that her record company tried to get her to go for a pop, dance kind of sound for her 4th album because that's what would sell. Avril refused. She fought to make a raw, stripped down, personal album because that was the kind of album that SHE wanted to make. And the album is amazing, by the way. I personally think raw, personal music is better than all the catchy pop songs you hear on the radio. WAY better.

7. Shannon Kaiser. As most of you may know, Shannon let me interview her awhile back. (  She seriously has no idea how much I admire her. We have both kind of been in the same boat as far as being in a position in life that made us uncomfortable and unhappy. And then we both pursued our real passion, which is writing. I think this is why I relate to her so much. And now she shares her story of how she pulled herself out of depression and found the courage and passion to go after what she really wanted. She genuinely wants to help other people do the same.

6. Rachael Ray. I watch Rachael's show half because watching people cook is strangely therapeutic and half because her enthusiasm is contagious. She's always smiling and laughing and dancing around. She's so full of love and life and just really seems like an incredible person. (And an incredible cook. Duh.) She inspires me because she's so NICE to everybody and because I can't help but be drawn to people who always have a smile on their face. She's adorable. The end.

5. Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen inspires me to not take life or myself too seriously. We both agree that the simple things in life are the greatest things in life. And if you're not smiling and laughing everyday, something isn't right. I love Ellen. I don't really see how it's humanly possible to NOT love her.

4. Keltie Colleen. This chick is amazing. Let's see...Dancer, blogger, author, fashion designer, entertainment news reporter, love & life guru, fashion guru, life enthusiast. I think that's about everything. Keltie never settles. She's always adding more things to her bucket list and she's passionate about inspiring other people to do the same. She has taught me a lot. She's so honest too. If she's having a crappy day, she's not afraid to say it. And when she's having a wonderful day, she passes her good mood on to others. She gives great advice too. And she's true to herself. Damn. I can't gush enough about Keltie.

3. Lori Deschene. Founder of The website that has gotten me out of so many ruts. I really relate to and feel inspired by Lori. She's so positive, honest, insightful, and kind. She genuinely cares about the Tiny Buddha community and couldn't care less about how many page views she gets or how many Twitter followers she has. She's grateful and honored for all of that, of course, but her main focus in running Tiny Buddha is to help people. I read some of her blog posts sometimes and think, "Has this chick been stalking my life and reading my journal?" I recently learned, thanks to her, that I'm not the only person who carries on conversations with myself in my head. She calls it "internal monologue." I was so pleased to hear that I'm not the only person who talks to myself in my mind.

2. Taylor Swift. I can't make a list of inspiring women without putting Taylor Swift on that list. Do I even really need to explain this one? I have learned so much about life, love, and myself just by listening to her music. She's so relevant. And she has accomplished so many incredible things and she's only one person. Like...Does she sleep? Oh right, she stays up writing songs at 3 in the morning. Nevermind. Taylor is brave, passionate, classy, humble, and loving. I am honestly just so proud of her and can't wait to see what she does next.

1. Christina Perri. I'll try not to stay here all day. Okay, so...a little over a year ago, my life was pointless. I woke up every single morning feeling like there was absolutely no reason for me to get up and face life. I was searching for happiness in all the wrong places, all the while failing to realize that it all starts with your attitude and your outlook on life and yourself. I don't remember exactly what it was that Christina said or exactly what it was that Christina did, but something changed one day. Something shifted. The bigger a fan I became, the more my life started to get better. I could write an essay on everything that Christina has taught me. When I was in a dark hole, she tossed me a rope. She didn't pull me out, but I was able to slowly and gradually pull MYSELF out. And I haven't been the same ever since. I know for a fact that Christina crossed my path for a reason. I had epic life realization after epic life realization just by reading her blog posts, hearing what she had to say in interviews, and listening to her music. I can't even begin to explain how she makes me feel about life and myself. This blog and all the positive messages I share on it would not exist if it wasn't for her. I wouldn't be happy again if it wasn't for her. I wouldn't have blocked out the voices of other people and started listening to my own inner voice if it wasn't for her. I hope I get to thank her in person one day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Goodbye October, Hello November

At the beginning of October, I had this epic feeling that it was going to be a great month. I could feel it in my bones. And I was right.

The weather got cooler, which is awesome because I hate hot weather. October weather is perfect because it's not too hot and it's not too cold. It's just breezy and friendly. I started taking more walks and spending more time outside. Pretty weather puts me in a good mood. So I was basically in an awesome mood all month.

I got published on one of my favorite websites. I've already started working on my NEXT article for the same website because being featured on it was a mini dream come true and the responses blew my mind.

I spent less time alone and more time hanging out with the people who matter the most. I realized this month that love is pretty much the ONLY thing that matters. When you're lying on your death bed, you're going to be thinking about how much you lived and loved while you were alive. Nothing else is going to matter. Not money, not the job you had, not your college degree, not your broken dishwasher, not the mean kids from middle school. I got my priorities straight this month and realized that making memories is more important than making money.

And last night, I saw a movie called October Baby with my mom. It is now my new favorite movie. I laughed, cried (bawled), and felt inspired. The movie is only showing in select theaters right now, but is expected to be released nationwide in Spring 2012. SO GO SEE IT. And please spread the word.

I hope you all had a happy Halloween and a wonderful October. Hopefully, November will be nice to me too.

<3 Madison