Love yourself

Changes Made Happiness Earned

Don’t believe everything you see. Every picture that is posted, every word that comes out of someone’s mouth, every written article is subject to what the author wants the reader or viewer to believe. It works. I’m no marketing major, but I believe that’s how things work. We are all guilty of this act. We want people to believe we have our shit together. We want the world to see our happiness and we hide our struggles. I’m guilty of this act. At first glance these photos look pretty similar. It’s a picture of me at the beach. Same sunglasses, toes in the sand, laughing with a big smile on my face. In the moment that these pictures were captured, I was happy. I was enjoying life and embracing my travels. What makes these pictures different?

The photo on the left was taken at the end of April. My toes were in the Pacific Ocean at Haystack Rock. It was freezing that day but this East coaster wasn’t going to cross the country and not put her toes in the water. My hair was long, my chest and stomach were flat. What is invisible to the eye is my façade. My smile is hiding the depression. I had built up emotions with no outlet. I was loved and supported through my divorce and then dropped by that same person who build me up. For the first time I was standing alone and frankly, it scared the hell out of me. The photo on the right was taken just a few weeks ago. This time my toes were in the Atlantic Ocean at Cape May. There was not a cloud in the sky, the water was refreshing, and I was ecstatic to travel to both coastal oceans within the same year.  My hair is short and I’m about 10 pounds heavier. Unlike the picture on the left, my smile lasted throughout the entire day not just in the moment the picture was taken.

In the months that passed between these two pictures my life completely changed.  Right before the picture on the left was taken I knew that I didn’t like who I was. I needed to make changes. I needed a healthier mindset and I needed to learn how to truly be independent and not rely on a man as a safety net to feel valued and appreciated. I began embracing who I am and loving myself. Over time and with unbreakable commitment to my mental health I started to see changed. I started to view people differently. When situations arose that would typically send me over the edge into a fire of emotions, I began noticing my reactions begin to soften. Retreat, rethink, respond has become a repetitive phrase I tell myself when difficult days arise. It has not been easy. There are still days where I get anxious, I get angry, and I even cry. There are days I want to quit. Days that I want to let the hate and pain of the world engulf me in sorrow, take over my spirit and break me down. Days where I give into the role of victim and feel sorry for myself.

What has inspired me recently is that in the past two weeks the people who know me the best have started noticing the changes in me that I’ve been working so hard to achieve over the last few months. The first instance was from my mother, the very day that the picture on the right was taken. She hugged me and told me that she was proud of the person that I’ve become. It made me happy, but she’s also my mom. I know she’s always going to love me and support throughout my life. When I met with my therapist a few days later I was surprised to hear her reiterate my mother’s words back to me. As my therapist, she knows every little detail about the past two years that I’ve been seeing her. At the end of our session she said she was proud of me for doing the work. She said that “there were plenty of people who sit right where you are desperate for a change to get through hard times, but never put in the effort.” She looked at me and said, “but you, you have persevered. You have taken my homework, my advice, and done the work and I can see that you are not the same women who walked into my office scared and weak two years ago.” I began to tear up. To hear that support from two women I admire most, my mom and my therapist, utter those words of support and recognition of my efforts solidified the feelings that I had within myself.

About a week ago I was blindsided by a very unwelcome part of my past. My best friends were the ones that I turned to first. I talked through the situation, how I wanted to handle it, and how to continue moving forward . It was through these discussions that my best friends of 10 years saw my progress. After our conversations had ended regarding the topic, I received one of the best messages from my friends. “I’m proud of you. Just so you know. A lot of people like to talk about ‘oh I’ve changed, I’ve grown’ but idk how many people really do. YOU have. I’m just so happy”. Reading the messages from my friends, hearing the words of support and pride from my therapist, as well as the love and encouragement from my mother all validated my hard work. These people who know my life, my story, my heart, and my soul better than anyone on this planet, these people who have loved me at my worst, have walked through hell with me, and continue to stand alongside me while I’m out of the storm are the ones who recognize the work that I’ve done. It’s so rewarding to say that the girl in the picture on the left doesn’t exist anymore. Last night my best friend’s husband said, “that Kait (the picture on the left) didn’t know how she was going to get out of bed in the morning. I really like the Kait that’s sitting here now.” I simply smiled at him and said, “I love this Kait too”.

I am no longer the person I was just 4 months ago let alone 6 months to a year ago. I am stronger, I am healthier, I am happier. I love my life. I love my family, my friends, my therapist. I am reaping the benefits of a positive mindset. I will continue to persevere through the difficult days, through the highs and lows, through the unexpected twists and turns of life. I will stay on my journey to happiness because it’s working! I saw the progress first, now my friends and family, and soon the rest of the world. There is no more façade to maintain. I can say I love this Kait, the picture on the right, and whole heartedly mean it!

Love yourself

100% Human

Most girls are said to be made up of sugar, spice, and everything nice.  Lately I think my personal break down consists of coffee, sass, and a little bad ass with maybe a shot of insanity.  When you’re young, you don’t know who you really are or what you’re made of. The stigmas of the world that categorize us into stereotypes define who we are as individuals. For the most part, we accept these labels for fact and carry them around in our mental luggage as more imperfections to divulge or strive to hide. We are constantly told how we can improve ourselves. The health/ fitness world seems to be the worst. As a nurse I’m all for health promotion and preventative measures, but where are the health and fitness organizations that focus first and primarily on mental health and loving yourself? There’s a reason that there is a quote that says “Change your mindset, change your life”. Because it has value!

It sounds silly to have  a tally of how many days I can say that I’ve been happy, but I’m a planner, I like lists, and I like keeping track of things so I have a page in my bullet journal entitle Mood. I am almost at 2 full months of happy days! This doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been low points or that I haven’t had to deal with difficult days. My life didn’t change. There is nothing profound that struck me out of nowhere. I still have the same job, same friends, same family. What changed is how I think about each day.

The month of July has tested my mental patience. During this month just two short years ago my world was knocked from its axis. Two years ago I lost faith in a man who was to be my forever and was introduced to a man who would support me through some of my darkest days. Now within two years, neither one of those men are in my life by no other choice than my own. Remembering the dynamic of July 2015 brings a wave of emotions that I have not yet grasped how to handle. Each “anniversary” gets easier, the memory weaker, the feelings less intense. As I believe time does heal all wounds, I also believe the strength of my mindset empowers me to overcome dark emotions associated with memories from this month. The thoughts don’t disappear that quickly, however, this month I choose to focus on the happiness and opportunity that has been granted to me by these men both entering and exiting my life. I was able to change my mindset from dwelling over the pain to embracing the possibilities and being excited for my future. There is no more gaping wound in my chest, no sleep is lost over anxiety or fear.

I am 100% female, 100% human, and 100% Kaitlyn. Being authentic and not getting caught up in trends is where I’m dedicating my attention. If something or someone hinders my success to being fully happy, I say a little funeral for it and let it go. I have down days, I have days where I can’t let things go that easily. I have days where I’m stuck in a funk and let my emotions get the best of me, but at the end of the day I love myself. I embrace whatever silly stereotypes that are attached to me. I wear my labels proudly and the ones that I’ve had attached to me that aren’t true, I embrace those too because no one knows me better than me. I know what I’m made of, I know who I am, I love who I am, and I know what I can handle. Going through this month has only proven to me that my mental health is becoming stronger a little more ever day.

Continue to be 100% human, push yourself, fuck up, fall down, get up, be weird, sing loud, dance often, work hard, achieve your goals, speak your truth, and never let anyone into your headspace that makes you feel there’s something wrong with who you are!

Love yourself

Freedom

No one else is me and I am not you. She will be her and he will be him, but that is not me. Thankful to be whole heartedly, individually, everything that is me.

Not cut from the same mold, I don’t follow a trend. I don’t want to be anything like them. I strive for vibrancy and fulfillment from life. Loving people and blessings granted away from the spotlight.

I sleep in peace knowing I have been true to myself. I did not give in. Oh, the self love I have. Freedom.

Uncategorized

Write 

Write when you’re anxious, when the thumping in your chest refuses to cease, pour that emotion into text. When the pain swallows you, release it, say what you need to say and come up for air. Gasping for breath but it’s there in its purest form.

Write when you’re happy, remember the accomplishments, achievements, be proud of yourself and document it, no one will do it for you. Don’t write to boast to brag, write to solidify the joy. Putting life into text forms a reality that others can relate to. 

Write to clear your mind. Forget grammar. Write the chaos that consumes your everyday thoughts to clairfy your soul. Write to be a better person, write to form your dreams, write to express the deepest corners of your heart. 

Write your story for you, because no one is you and that is beautiful. 

Love yourself

Goal Crushing

Having a positive mindset to achieve every goal you’ve ever dreamed of seems like an impossible task. I’m here to tell you that today I proved to myself that it is possible! In January I was 4 months into my attempts to better my life. I knew I was facing the right direction, but I didn’t know what needed to be done to be successful in my transformation. I seemed to be enjoying life but I still had stressors looming over me. I decided to write some goals and define some new habits that I’d like to achieve throughout 2017. These were things that I felt would help me continue on the journey to enjoy life and attempt to put those stressors at bay. I called them resolutions, however, they are more like lifestyle changes. I didn’t take this challenge lightly and I made sure I came up with a list of things that I truly wanted to accomplish. Here’s what I came up with.

  • Drink at least 65 oz. of water daily
    • How: Fill up green (24 oz.) water bottle x3 daily
  • Read 6 books
    • How: Finish one book every other month
  • Cook at least one meal a week/ Eat more salad
    • How: Meal prep once a week, plan out grocery list
  • Pay off Visa credit card debt
    • How: work overtime, budget, save

I am so proud to announce that as of today Friday June 16, 2017 I have crushed those goals that I’ve set for myself. Within 6 months rather than the full year!

Goal #1: I’ve been working out more consistently, trying to eat better to take care of myself, and drinking that water to stay hydrated. Some people eat their feelings, I don’t eat at all when I have too many feelings. At my lowest point over a year ago through my divorce I weighted 112 lbs. which was a loss of 20 lbs. from my “normal”.  Even though I was battling through some pretty rough weeks at the beginning of this year and fell back to 120 lbs. I kept my goals in mind. This morning after a very happy, healthy, relaxing vacation, I stepped on the scale at work. I was ecstatic to see the number, 130.2lbs.!

Goal #2: When I can’t say what I want to say, I write. When I can’t tame the thoughts in my head, I escape reality in a book. That’s what I’ve always used to help manage my emotions, but I’m not the strongest reader or writer. I’m sure some grammar Nazi could destroy my blog posts and make them flow more eloquently, but then it wouldn’t be my words. I also was always a slow reader. School was never easy for me. I would have to read something a few times before it really “stuck”. I was in reading labs and attended tutoring in after school programs to get my reading skills mastered. With that being said, setting a goal of reading 6 books in a year seemed very reasonable and achievable. My thoughts were if life happened or if I got busy then I still had adequate time. Over this past 6 months I have been dedicated to taking care of myself and most importantly my mind. Reading and writing have been my outlet and have allowed me to discover new pieces of myself. There are only 8 pictured because the one book was borrowed from a friend and returned, but these are the books that I’ve read in the past 6 months. 9 Books!! Its amazing if you set your intention on doing something rather than letting your thoughts overwhelm you and take control of your life, what you truly can accomplish! I know that there were days where my mind had been struggling to focus. I had wanted to day dream, think of what certain people were doing and where they were, imagining if they were thinking of me and trying to put myself in a fantasy land of my own life. That was such a dangerous mindset to be in and I battled through it with these 9 books. Staying focused on what’s right for me and important for my mental health. I can’t wait to see what the total count is by the end of the year!

Goal #3: Before my husband and I divorced we had some debt. Debt from our honeymoon, debt from a new car, and debt from us just being young, stupid, and ignorant to managing money. The snowball quickly started rolling. We became a one income family for four months which lead to more debt, we had to purchase a second car adding another payment, and finally all of that life happening couldn’t sustain a marriage which lead to divorce lawyer bills. I honestly don’t know the exact number of credit card debt I had found myself in by the end of everything but to my that’s not important. I had three credit cards when my husband moved out. I used to be the girl who would put something on my credit card just because I hadn’t used it in a while. I would always pay off the total balance and would make sure that I had enough money in the bank before considering buying anything. All of that changed when I had to try to keep my head above water financially. My personal finances were my biggest stressors. I would lose sleep, I was too stressed and depressed to eat, I would feel guilty for taking a day off of work and not going in for overtime, but I was such an unhealthy person at the time that the thought of working more than what I had to was an additional stressor.

Today I paid off my second credit card in full!  I can finally say that the majority of that stress and despair is behind me in regards to my finances. My goal was to pay off this particular credit card by the end of the year. I had learned to be gracious with myself and balance my money a little better. Although I hated the debt, I accepted it as a part of who I am and the journey that I had been through and continue to go through. I put in my mind that patience and consistency will pay the bills. And BAM within 6 months I was able to pay off that credit card! Two down, one to go! I feel like I can do anything right now!

Lastly, here are some signs of a good day. Last night was my first night back from vacation. I never sleep well the first night that I have to switch from daylight to night shift so this morning I knew I’d be tired and looking a little rough. It also stormed like hell yesterday so I didn’t bother with my hair. I pulled it out of my face and called it a day. Within the last 24 hours:

  • One of the respiratory therapists at work told me that I have beautiful hair and that it always looks so nice and healthy.
  • I was asked by a new friend to be a plus one to a wedding
  • And I got a message from the nurse at Central Blood Bank whom I connected with while I was there the other day. She briefly got snapshots of my life story through my donation and this morning she messaged me with a suggestion for a blind date.

You guys, life just works the way it’s going to! Tell the universe what your goals are, dream big, be faithful, and have a gracious heart. Be thankful for the struggle. The bad days are just as beneficial as the good days. I have learned and have been shown within the last 6 months that it is possible to do things that you never imagined!

Show me a sign

Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

Those that know me the best know that I love flowers. Since I was younger I’ve always had a garden. By garden I mean that my mom let me have a few planters on the side of the house to grow tomatoes and green peppers while I helped her water the flower beds that she landscaped around the house. It’s something that I love to do but that my apartment lifestyle has limited those lavish garden dreams.

There is a quote by an unknown (to me) author that states, “every flower that’s ever bloomed had a whole lot of dirt to go through first”. In my opinion, that’s a profound statement. Flowers bloom to be beautiful, fragrant, and fragile. However, their journey to become beautiful is dark and dirty until they reach the sun and bloom. I want to be a blooming flower.

On my way home from the gym I decided I needed to detour and make a pit stop at the grocery store. I walked into Trader Joe’s with my little list on a mission to get into the store and get out. Every. Single. Time. I walk into that store I end up staring at their arrangement of flowers. Today was only slightly different. I was tired, I needed to get home to take care of my dog, and I was just a little bit down. The flowers instantly brought a smile to my face. The thought that I should buy some came a moment later followed by the hesitation of diverting from my budgeted shopping list.

My attention was diverted to the music that was playing. Spin doctor’s “Two Princes” was playing. Not just the song, but it was on the specific part where he says, “if you’d like to buy me flowers… just go ahead”.  It was like the universe heard my desire and my hesitation and decided to play me a little tune.  I had to laugh because this sign was so blatantly obvious. I had thought originally the song was Third Eye Blind’s  “Semi-Charmed Kind of Life” which I thought was an even more appropriate title, however, it was brought to my attention that I had my songs confused! No matter what the title of the song or who the band, my thoughts sent out that I wanted flowers because they make me happy and the universe responded “if you’d like to buy me flowers.. just go ahead”.  I picked up a bouquet of sunflowers, carnations, and lilies with a sporadic rose or two and some greenery for accents and put them into my cart. They are now on display in my apartment where I’m writing this now to remind me, “every flower that’s ever bloomed had a whole lot of dirt to go through first” and the simple concept of ask and you shall receive.

 

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Green Car

Over the past 9 months I’ve struggled to get my head screwed on properly. I had made attempts to change my negative thought process that seemed to be consuming my life, but nothing was sustainable. After another life sucker punch, I knew that I had to do something and this time I was determined. Over conversations with family, friends and coworkers on how to have a healthy mind and loving life, I’ve learned a lot, about me as well as their perspectives on the ins and outs of daily life.

After a long conversation one night at work, my coworker told me he had something for me to read. The next night he brought in Pam Grout’s book E Squared.  I had heard of The Secret and Law of Attraction, but this book was different. It gave experiments to try to prove that according to Pam, “you receive what you order”. Well with a lot of hesitation and an open mind I made my way through the experiments.

One of the first experiments was to count how many cars of a certain make, model, or color you see. Fairly easy right? In the book she suggests green and then changes the color, however, I stuck with green since it’s my favorite color. In the back of my head I had the expectation that I would see maybe 5 green cars. I only was driving to work that night so I knew I wouldn’t be on the road long. And I knew that two of my neighbors had green cars because I saw them parked outside of my apartment complex. So I knew that I would at least see two, I’ll admit that seems like cheating, but I was a skeptic.

Thirty two green cars within a 20 minute drive.

I was shocked. I finished the book and all of the experiments with such excitement that I emailed Pam. Her website states that she is sorry for the inability to respond to all messages, I knew that it was a long shot. After I typed out my message I paused to give it up to the universe for her to respond if it was meant to happen. Within 24 hours I had a reply in my inbox from Pam herself, encouraging me to continue to write and pursue my hearts desires.

I printed that email and keep it on the inside of my journal and I see green cars every direction that I look! Pam, you have encouraged me to start this blog with your kind words. Your experiments have shown me that the world is kind and forgiving, we just have to ask.

I’ve now begun to read E Cubed, also written by Pam, which has 9 additional experiments for me to try. I can’t wait to see what type of green cars come into my life this time!