Monday, August 21, 2017

Wise reminder from a wise soul

I had a conversation with an older and wiser man the other day, moments after I walked out on a job I couldn't see myself keeping or enjoying. (It was a second job...I'm not unemployed again, don't worry.) And although I can't recall what he said to me verbatim, it was something along the lines of this:

"If you don't wanna do something, don't do it. Don't worry about what these people think or what anyone thinks. You wanna know why? 'Cause you're the one who's gotta live with it."

I love that. I especially love it because I used to live by that notion, but have since fallen a bit short.

The truth is, I care pretty deeply what other people think about me and have an acute fear of being judged. I usually make decisions based on what I believe will please others, and if I make unconventional decisions to please myself, I often feel unnecessarily ashamed and embarrassed.

I left this second job feeling a bit deflated because everyone told me I should work both, even though that was never my desire or intention. They said it wouldn't hurt to save up some extra money and keep myself busier. (I will forever be baffled by society's obsession with busyness.) Of course, these people had good intentions, which is often the case. But I didn't take the job for any of those reasons. I took it to try something different and see if I might possibly enjoy it enough to make a switch from my first job. I quickly concluded that my first job was the superior choice, so not wanting to waste my time or anyone else's, I left. And people probably disapproved in some capacity.

But that last conversation I had before climbing in my car and driving away was exactly what I needed to hear to quiet the voice of disapproval in my own head.

If you don't wanna do something, don't do it. 

I love my work schedule. I love the money I make, the hours I work, and the time I have off to spend with my writing, my loved ones, and myself. I may not have the fattest of paychecks, but I have everything I need and more. I'm not struggling. I make good financial decisions - probably way better decisions than most people in my age group. At this point in my life, I am lucky enough to be completely taken care of. I do not regret my decision to leave the second job because it was in fact what I wanted.

It's okay to do what you want and not do what you don't want, as long as you go about it the right way. Your life is yours and yours alone, and no one has to live with the choices you make except you. If you disappoint people along the way, so what? They will get over it.

Just a friendly reminder for today and every day.

<3 Madison  

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