Thoughts Before My Solo Journey

It was 6 days before I left for Europe on my own. I was leaving for a continent that I had never visited and I was going at it alone. Was I scared? Hell yes. I thought I should call everyone I know and tell them how much I love them because there could be a chance I wasn’t going to make it back.

Late 2013 to mid-2014 represented to me some of the greatest challenges I had ever faced. I was coming to face-to-face with the monster. The one that had been living way deep down inside and was now breaking it’s way to the surface. I would characterize my monster as the constant welp in my throat, the tears at the brim of my eyelids, the ghostly pale look on my face, the quiet (and not so quiet sobs) that were happening more and more frequently.

My monster was shaking me back and forth on the inside and forcing me to deal with the demons. The demon was my childhood. And my relationships were a constant reminder of what I hadn’t dealt with and forgiven.

My childhood, which taught me that love will always hurt, that people who take roles as protectors and lovers will always take what they can from you. That they’ll always tell you that you’re not good enough and show you all of the different ways you don’t measure up. In this instance it was my boss telling me I wasn’t a good writer, that I should do things like other people, that I was a squirrel frantically gathering nuts, who made me work long hours and e-mailed and called at any time of the day. Or my girlfriend who told me that she hated the way I chewed, that my breathing was terrible, that my friends thought there was something wrong with me, that I was too friendly to everyone, that everyone I looked up was someone I wanted to sleep with, screaming and calling me a bitch and other horrible things, and so and so forth.

Well I left the physical representation of those demons in my hometown of Jacksonville, Fla. and I moved to a sunnier place — south Florida. Once I removed myself from the situation physically, I was able to focus on the mental and emotional. This meant prayer, reading, meditation, writing, listening to music, watching films, getting a job.

It’s been an incredible and at times trying eight months but it has been so worth it. I never thought that my life would ever be this drastically changed. I never thought in a million years that when I left my hometown so broken, I would end up traveling thousands of miles by myself to a foreign land with just a backpack.

I left on December 21, 2014 and returned January 3, 2015. What happened there was life changing and reinstilled in me who I have been all along. A forward thinking, courageous, strong, independent woman. 10846026_10100565798209732_2490532774984802953_n


Slice of Wisdom

When you need to be loved, you take love wherever you can find it. When you are desperate to be loved, feel love, know love, you seek out what you think love should look like. When you find love, or what you think love is, you will lie, kill, and steal to keep it. But learning about real love comes from within. It cannot be given. It cannot be taken away. It grows from your sense of self. It grows from your ability to re-create within yourself, and for yourself, the essence of loving experiences you have had in your life. When you have not had loving experiences, or when you do not have a sense of self, the true essence of love eludes you. Instead, you hold onto, reach out to, and find yourself embroiled in, your mistaken beliefs about yourself and love.

-Iyanla Vanzant, Yesterday, I Cried

Never Really Made a Good Lemonade

When life handed me my current batch of lemons, I felt lost. Completely disoriented. What direction was my life heading in? What do I do now that I’m completely moving my life to a different city (and not on the best of terms)? And literally speaking, I’ve never been too good at making lemonade but now life was squeezing me through and I had to find a way before bitterness would set in.

Shock would be the best way to describe everything that has happened since the end of May. I had a friend tell me recently that there are Top 5 Stressful Situations and that I had gathered 3 out of 5 in one fell swoop. Yippee!

  1. Death of a Loved One
  2. Divorce (Relationship Ending)
  3. Major Illness
  4. Job Loss
  5. Moving

So how have I decided to begin to move on?

  • Journaling
  • Reading Self-Help and Spirituality Books
  • Sitting in Silence
  • Taking Long Baths
  • Practicing Gratitude & Forgiveness
  • Going to the Gym
  • Eating Healthier
  • Lots of Prayer
  • Random Outburst of Tears
  • Happiness to Sadness to Anger to Gratitude to Happiness Again
  • Going out with Friends on the Weekend/Making New Friends (Some Friendlier than Others)
  • Spending Time with Family
  • Hugging my Cats
  • Singing Every Sam Smith Song I know (as well as Kelly Clarkson and Demi Lovato break-up songs)
  • Listening to Of Monsters and Men on repeat (currently happening)
  • Taking Time to Do Whatever I Want and Enjoying Alone Time (not as easy as it sounds when you’ve devoted nearly eight years of your life to relationships)

If I had to pick a favorite one out of that list that has helped me the most it would be sitting in silence. I never realized how the mind really needs to be quieted in order to find the answers you’re constantly searching.

I was so used to running around in the morning and getting ready for work, jamming out on the drive to work, working over 50-60 hours a week, coming home and making dinner, spending time with my then ‘S.O.’ and then going to bed. My mind was computing but it wasn’t really thinking.

Now that I practice meditating on my thoughts, I have begun to understand how my past and all the choices I have made have led me to where I am. I can reflect on every single emotion I feel that I dislike and really get down to the root — it’s truly life-changing.

One example I will use is that I would get so upset at what people thought of me — people that I didn’t even know! I would obsess about it at times! So I dug deeper as I sat in silence to find out why.

This is what I learned:

The anger stemmed from me being insecure and not really knowing who I was. I mean, how dare that person say something about me and not know me? I couldn’t let it go! And it was all because I hated that that person could possibly know more about and see me more clearly than I actually saw myself.

The insecurities stemmed from so many childhood to adolescent factors, which I may share another day (but for now I’ll condense).

So now that I knew the why, I needed to accept responsibility for my thoughts rather than blaming others for their cruel words and move into healing the thought. What helped me heal was knowing and affirming the following:

  • Forgiving myself for allowing the thoughts to take over me
  • Knowing that God loves me just the way I am and that only God can judge me
  • Understanding that those who judge are feeling pain as well
  • And knowing that what other people think of me has nothing to do with me, it’s their business

With all that being said, I think it’s time for a close. I hope this was insightful and you were able to take something away from this — that’s my wish!

P.S. If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.