The Window Seat

Many people love having the window seat when flying.

They love the scenery and seeing people turn into ants and cars transform into small specks. The window seat is not just a seat, its an experience.

I just recently traveled to Florida and I was blessed with having the window seat. My first flight was during the day, from Wilkes-Barre, PA to Newark, NJ.

As we were taking off,

I looked down to see thousands of trees in the transition from summer to winter. I have never flown during the fall months, only summer. The trees were a cornucopia of greens, yellows, browns, and reds. As I looked down at them, a warm, comforting, feeling fell over me – that cozy, yet crisp, autumn sensation. I forgot for a moment that I was headed to sunny Florida, where it feels as though summer never ends. It’s interesting that trees, something I see every day, encouraged such a positive emotion.

The scenery abruptly changed as we flew into a massive cloud. The inside of the plane lit up as the outside world turned into a blinding whiteout. As we reached our highest point, we were flying above an ocean of white surrounded by nothing but a clear, blue sky.

As I sat, gazing out the window, I thought about my mood that I was in that morning. The weather outside was dreary and gray – a perfect day for staying in, cuddled up under a blanket, while binge-watching Netflix. As excited as I was to be headed to Florida to see my mom and sister, I couldn’t help but feel – blah. Reflecting on my mood I was in that morning made me start to think about how different I felt at that moment. What was the reason for such a drastic mood change? The scenery, yes, but I thought deeper than that. I was looking at the same sky as I was that morning, the only difference was the perception. As a person, I am a ‘thinker’. I’m always daydreaming and thinking about a whole bunch of different, unrelated, things. This small, ordinary, but exhilarating, experience made me think about perspective.

Three hours and 30 minutes later, I am on a different plane, different window seat. The sky, darker now, was full of the same gray clouds and ‘blah’ feeling. As I looked out the window at my surroundings, I noticed I wasn’t in the most attractive of places. We took off, flying into the dark sky, and into a dark gray cloud that caused some nasty turbulence. I began shutting the blind on the window and considered sleeping until I landed in Tampa, but I thought of my flight that morning and decided to lift the blind back up. I peered out the window to one of the most amazing views I have ever seen. The city, which I described as unattractive minutes before, turned into a landscape of designs. The ground was lit up by street lights, nightlife, cars, and tall skyscrapers that began to resemble small figurines. Cars started to disappear once we reached our highest point, and the only objects that were visible to the naked eye were tiny, bright, squares that I later realized were football fields. High above, we soared, flying over one city and town to the next. Each stranger’s home separated by the darkness of forests. The entire flight to Florida was breath-taking and like nothing I’ve seen before. Once again, my mood shifted due to a different perspective.

That morning, on the ground, I looked up to the sky and didn’t feel so great about what I saw. But then, while in the sky, I looked down – down at the earth and at a whole new view, new perception, new perspective. Every day we have a choice; a choice on how we want to live our day. If something has you feeling as though it’s going to be a bad day, or if something has you feeling ‘blah’, look at the day from a different perspective. Choose happiness. We are privileged to be able to have a choice, so why choose to be anything but happy?

Next time you’re traveling, sit and soak in the world before you. Let the view transport you somewhere no vacation can. Let a new perspective open your eyes, mind, and emotions.

Next time you’re traveling, take the window seat.

Sincerely, Olivia.

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.

A Letter to Those Who Broke Me

Dear life lessons, mistakes, heartbreaks, bad friends, and those who broke me,

There are so many questions I have for each of you that I will never get answered. I drive myself insane asking myself if any of you regret how you treated me or if any of you ever think about me and the damage you have caused.

Most importantly, I just want to know why.

I trusted all of you and truly believed that I was an important aspect of each of your lives. Each of you played such an important role in my life. The pain you have caused me cannot be described. Due to your cruel and selfish acts, abandoning me when I needed you most, and because of your harmful words that were purposely meant to make me feel insignificant, you have all slowly chipped away at, what was a wholesome, positive, and kind human being. Because of you, I have built concrete walls around me. Because of you, I struggle with finding and keeping good people in my life. Because of you, all I know is pain.

I hate to say this, but each of you have molded me into the person I am today.

Cold. Sad. Bitter. Negative. Angry.

You are all to blame for how you have treated me, however, I blame myself for allowing you to break me and allowing you to still consume my life after so many years. I become infuriated with myself when seeing how much power I give you. You have controlled me and my life for far too long, and I am ready to let you go. I refuse to let you win.

I am done asking myself why, because it doesn’t matter. Why pour all of my time and energy into you, when you didn’t do it for me? Instead, I am going to pour all of my time and energy into myself, and into those who deserve me.

I don’t write this with the goal of calling you out for your wrongdoings, though I struggle with keeping this letter from reaching that. I am writing this letter to say thank you.

Yes, you read that right – thank you.

Thank you for showing me exactly what I will not and should never accept from a family member, boyfriend, friend, or acquaintance.

Thank you for teaching me so many vital life lessons.

Thank you for freeing me.

Thank you for making me strong.

Sincerely,

a new Olivia

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.

How To: Survive the End of the Honeymoon Stage

The Honeymoon Stage – A place where everything is going right for your relationship. You have it all… the hot boyfriend/girlfriend, an argument-free relationship, constant butterflies when you see them, and the romance and sparks are flying. Your love can conquer the world and you feel as though your relationship is untouchable. What can possibly go wrong?

Reality. Reality is where it all goes wrong!

As those of you who frequently read my stuff know, I am all about writing about my personal life. Personal = Relatable. Well, this piece is no different! My boyfriend, Mike, and I had a kickass honeymoon stage. So, when that honeymoon stage decided to come to an end, I guess you can say it felt like the relationship was over.

As harsh as it sounds, the excitement of the relationship slowly fades away, along with those butterflies you get whenever you see your significant other (S.O.).

You begin to notice annoying things about them that you once overlooked. For example, Mike enjoys taking his socks off when sitting on the couch, and throwing them into the corner of the room. (Yes, you read that sentence correctly.) For the first few months in our new apartment, this didn’t bother me. I would gladly walk past the socks, smiling, and pick them up and throw them in the hamper. No biggie! It’s only a pair of socks right? Well… if I told you that I still walk past those socks, and don’t want to rip my hair out every time I see them, I would be lying to you. This may seem dramatic to some of you, but those of you past the honeymoon stage will understand…

I. Hate. Those. Socks. I have actually developed hatred for his socks, and because of this, we have argued… over socks…

Also, makeup becomes a thing of the past. The need to obsess over how we look begins to change. By this time, your S.O. has already been impressed by you and the relationship takes a turn to become more comfortable. Bring on the sweatpants and ponytails!

You will also notice that your S.O. is a little more honest than you remember. The days of ‘Does this dress make me look fat?’ – ‘No! You are a goddess!’ — over. I am not saying your S.O. is now going to criticize your appearance. Let me give another example.

In the honeymoon stage, I could have wore a trash bag and Mike would have been ooo-ing and aww-ing. (My favorite part of the honeymoon stage, if we are going to be honest.) Well, one day, I decided to change the way I was styling my hair. I walked out of the bathroom and said ‘What do you think?’, expecting the same ooo-ing and aww-ing. Mike replies, ‘It’s okay. I think it looks nicer the other way.’ There I stood, shocked, questioning who this monster thinks he is and why I would subject myself to such cruelty.

Joking aside, I wish the honeymoon stage was permanent, but, unfortunately, it’s not. The reality is, every couple goes through the end of the honeymoon stage, and it sucks. But, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to suck! Here are some ways to survive the end of the honeymoon stage!

DO NOT stop date nights!

I feel as though couples stop having date nights once their relationship turns serious. What sense does this make? Date nights do not mean watching a movie on the couch. Get up, dress up, and go out! Make plans together. Set up a certain day of the week to have a date night. By continuing to date each other, you are keeping the excitement in the relationship.

Do something new together.

Relationships become repetitive and comfortable. So, try something new that neither of you have ever done before. Do something together that forces you to come out of what is comfortable. For example, Mike and I just recently went to an overnight ghost hunt at Pennhurst Asylum, which scared me to death. We also have talked about taking a cooking class together, because we live off of cereal haha. Do something that will make you more knowledgable, something creative, different, scary, and fun!

Reflect on the fun times.

Reflecting on the fun memories you experienced together will help you revisit the honeymoon stage, and can help bring you both close together again!

Keep the sparks alive!

Do not let the romance and intimacy die! This is vital for a relationship to survive the end of the honeymoon stage. Keep trying to impress each other both romantically and in terms of being intimate. Sometimes couples become lazy in this category because they are used to the routine. Change it! Who says routines aren’t meant to be broken? Spice things up by trying new things, sweeping your S.O. off their feet, and keeping them on their toes.

Remember why you fell in love with them.

Go back to when you first met them. What gravitated you to him/her? What about them made them interesting to you? Do not forget the reason why you’re in the relationship in the first place. Is it their sense of humor, good-looks, personality, work ethic? Go back to what brought you both together and don’t forget it!

So, my fellow honeymooners, do not panic once your boyfriend starts throwing socks and telling you that your hair looked better a different way! haha. Every couple goes through this transition and it is perfectly normal. HOW you handle this transition is what really matters. Relationships are a lot of work and will not remain perfect and shiny. When you take the steps necessary to survive the end of the honeymoon stage, your relationship will benefit immensely. You will be closer than ever. What happens after the honeymoon stage is what is most important. 🙂

Sincerely, Olivia.

 

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.

Calling all control freaks!

So I have this super annoying thing that I do, which is try to control everyone and everything around me. It’s so bad, that sometimes I don’t even realize that I am doing it. I seem to think that I need to control everything and that it will make me happy, but the truth is, it does everything but that. Almost everyday I try to take control over situations and other people, and it is exhausting. I also get feelings of anxiety and stress when I try to control everything. So, why do I do this to myself?

I have recently been trying to understand this problem, and I have done a lot of thinking about the reasons why I do this. I thought back to one instance where my sister was spontaneously moving out to LA, with maybe $400 in her pocket. (shoutout to my sister, Andrea, for giving me a panic attack over this situation. You helped make this blog post haha!) Due to the fact that I was extremely nervous and scared that she was making a huge mistake, I did everything in my power to get her to stay. I’d get into exactly what I did, but as I said, I did everything in my power and there isn’t enough time in the day for me to write it all haha. Let’s just say I went above and beyond to try and sabotage her plans to move to LA and ended up causing myself a great deal of stress, anxiety, and unnecessary fights between my sister and I.

I did not realize exactly what I was doing until she actually left. My sister was going to LA no matter what I did to stop her, so what was I getting out of all of this? Absolutely nothing positive. The thing is, I had the best intentions, even though it didn’t seem like it. Watching my only/baby sister move out to LA with barely any money scared me to death. I didn’t want anything bad to happen to her. But wait a second – who said something bad would happen? No one. This was me overthinking. Bottom line is, nothing positive came out of me trying to control my sisters life. I learned, in this instance, that I needed to just let her go and let her be. I could not control this situation.

So, the million dollar, ironic, question… How do we control our control problem?! It is definitely not as easy as it sounds. I have thought this through and I take myself back to the situation with my sister. What could I have done to stop being such a control freak?

Stop and think.

Ask yourself – ‘Where is this coming from?’ ‘Why am I trying to take control over this?’

There is a reason why you are feeling like you need to start to control the situation. What is that reason? Think. My reason was because I wanted my sister to be safe, and I was letting my fears take control over her life. Once you know where it is stemming from, it will be easier to tackle it.

Breathe.

Seems like an easy one, right? Well, for me, when I begin to try and control something, my anxiety and stress levels are through the roof. When this happens, I tend to forget to breathe. If you’re like me and can relate to this, take deep breaths to calm yourself down. Deep breathing can help you relax, calm your nerves, and bring those levels of stress and anxiety down. Just take some long, deep breathes while you’re thinking. It will help you think more clearly, and you will feel better.

Let it be.

Alright, you made it to the hard part. Time to realize what controlling the situation is really doing to you. For instance, I drove myself to the point of insanity trying to change something that I couldn’t. Don’t do that! It’s time to just let it beIt is easier said than done, but just let people do their own thing. We can not change people or what they want to do. We are only in control of ourselves.

I take control of a lot of people and situations in my life. This example about my sister is one of MANY, believe me. But the thing is, I really do have the best intentions when I try to take control. However, what am I really get out of it? What is it doing to others? What is controlling every situation causing for the situation itself? Next time, think about these questions, and when you face a situation that you think you need to take control of, stop and think, breathe, and let it be.

Sincerely, Olivia 🙂

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.

When you’ve hit rock bottom.

It’s been two weeks since my life fell apart. Two weeks since I have had a full nights sleep. Two weeks of eating one meal every few days. Two weeks of lifeless dazes at the floor, walls, and at traffic lights. Two weeks of not wanting to wake up in the morning. Two weeks of hitting rock bottom.

This blog post will be the most personal and raw post I have ever written.

A lot of people are mad at me. What makes it so difficult is that it was self-inflicted. Those that are mad at me, are people that were very important to me in my life, which also makes it very difficult. I believe that blog posts that are personal are the most relatable and very powerful. That being said, even though I believe telling the story would be beneficial to those who might be going through something similar, it is not mentally beneficial to me. Therefor, I will be general.

We all make mistakes. We all make bad decisions. I made a big mistake and a very bad decision. For that, I am paying the consequences. Along with this, I have been beating myself up more than anyone else could. Those I have talked to about my situation have told me not to do this, but I can’t help it. I deserve it. I deserve to feel horrible and hate myself. I did something unforgivable, wrong, and unacceptable, and I can’t seem to find a way to cope with it.

How I am currently coping with this is very unhealthy. I go to work looking a mess, because I have no motivation to make myself look presentable. I can feel myself becoming weak and lightheaded because I have zero desire to eat. Ironically, I feel exhausted, but when I try to sleep, I can’t. When I lay in bed at night, a dark cloud of emotion, shame, guilt, embarrassment, and loneliness suffocates me. Some nights I lie there thinking about how much of this pain would be gone if I didn’t wake up in the morning. I have a love-hate relationship with bedtime. I am currently enrolled in graduate school, and start classes again on September 1. I have repeatedly thought about dropping out until I can get a handle on my life. The stress of my classes along with the stress of my life scares me and is already beginning to feel overwhelming. I have also thought about quitting Project Wednesday, because I don’t feel as though I can write about positivity when I am feeling so down and am in a mentally dark place.

Today I woke up after having a horrible dream. I didn’t get out of bed for a few hours. I laid there staring at the ceiling telling myself, “You deserve to feel this way.” Then I told myself I had to get up. I got out of bed, took a very long shower, and ate what I could. Then, right before I grabbed the doorknob to leave my house, the dark cloud of emotions fell over me. I froze. I stood there and stared at the door and began to cry uncontrollably. I so badly wanted to crawl under the covers and cry for the rest of the day. Instead, I left. I drove to a local bookstore in hopes of buying a new book to keep my mind busy for a few days. As I walked in, I felt alright. I browsed the aisles until the dark cloud fell over me again. I broke down crying in between the bookcases, and then hid from everyone in my car and sobbed. It seems as though I can’t escape this feeling. Again, I wanted to go home and crawl into bed.

As much as it hurt, I didn’t drive home. I drove to my favorite cafe, ordered a chai latte, and opened up my MacBook. That leads up to present time. I am here, at Adezzo, writing this blog. I have been here for over an hour and I really want to leave and go home and lay in bed, but I am making myself stay. It’s painful, but I have to do it. During this week I have done a lot of thinking about myself. I have reached out to people at work, family, and my therapist. Though it feels as though I have lost everything and everyone, I have not. I still have people who care about me and that are willing to help me get through this very hard and awful time in my life. Realizing this helped me come up with steps to get me back on my feet.

Surround yourself with positive people. 

Do not do this alone. Find someone to talk to. I would not be as emotionally stable right now if I didn’t reach out to others. They will help you feel better. The pain of the situation always comes back and gives me a very nauseous feeling, but I am grateful for the people who have given me even an hour out of their day to help me not beat myself up. Taking my mind off of what is going on has helped so much, even if it’s only for 20 minutes. Give your mind a break.

Notice the positive.

This is hard and I am still having a difficult time doing this. It seems like there is absolutely no positives going on in my life right now, but it is not true. I have formed closer relationships with family, co-workers, and others in my life because they have been helping me get through this. Another positive is that I am going to grow from this, because I am looking deep within myself at who I am and how I will get through this. Lastly, realize what you actually have going for yourself. Though it feels as though my life is over, I need to remind myself that I got into graduate school and have been doing great so far, and that I am writing for a positive human development blog. Remind yourself of the good things.

Dig deep within yourself.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about myself. My therapist is a great outlet for this. She has helped me redirect my thinking, see other perspectives, and challenged me mentally. When you lose a lot in your life, it is easy to forget who you are and stop working on improving yourself. I am a prime example of this. I have been dragging my feet and have been a walking emotional disaster. Nothing about this is positive and it will not help me in the long run.

Forgive yourself.

This one I have not managed to do. Honestly, I don’t know if I ever will be able to. At least that is how it feels right now. However, I really believe that when you forgive yourself of the things that you’ve done, that is the first step in being happy with yourself and in life. If I ever get to the point of forgiving myself, I will have learned a lot about who I am, and a lot about what I need to learn from this mistake.

Learn and grow.

Learning from mistakes really sucks. We have to own it and move forward, and that is very challenging. A lot of feelings of regret will emerge from within you, and, in my opinion, it is one of the worst feelings in the world. Having a re-do or re-wind button would be ideal and really useful right now, but that is not realistic. Learn from your mistakes. Self-growth is so very important. Learn to never make the same mistake again.

Push yourself.

I pushed myself today. I wanted to sleep all day and cry in bed, but, instead, I pushed myself to leave my house and go to a bookstore and come to Adezzo. It may not seem like a very big step or very big victory, but it is. I chose to live life today, as painful as it was.

Like I said, I have hit rock bottom. I have never felt so empty and numb in my entire life. I am going to try and keep my head up and look toward the future. I have not and will not escape the dark cloud of emotions for awhile, but I have to keep trying to get back on my feet. I pray that this feeling goes away as soon as possible and that those I have hurt will forgive me. However, sometimes that does not happen and I know that. Either way, no matter what happens, I absolutely can not stay at rock bottom. I will work on myself and grow from this awful experience.

From rock bottom, the only way to go is up. That is what I intend to do.

Sincerely, Olivia.

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.