[Insert Inspirational Story/Lesson Here]

For months I have been trying to write a new piece – a piece that has an inspirational lesson from a tough time. One that will motivate someone or have a shimmer of positivity. One that I feel is worthy to be published under Project Wednesday. It hasn’t happened… either due to one of the many reasons I am “too busy” or the endless other excuses I have used to fill my free time.

In a way this sums up my 2017 – I find something I want to do, I plan it in my head and then just let it sit. I have been getting frustrated with myself for not finishing anything, continually feeling unaccomplished. However, reflecting back, it isn’t really the finishing part that has been the roadblock. It’s been actually starting. So here I sit, facing something I have been unable and unwilling to accomplish for months – starting. I still don’t have a positive message or inspirational story for you, but I have me.

 If you were to ask me who I was this time last year, I would have spewed off a few lines about working towards my dream career of being a Registered Dietitian, my love for running, my motivation, unmatched work ethic and passion for new adventures. Today, if you ask me who I am, I don’t have an answer. Yes, I am now an RD. I still run on occasion. I get all the necessary things done, but I wouldn’t describe my work ethic or motivation as I once had. The new adventure is still enticing but my bed and/or couch typically win the battle. Nothing is wrong, but nothing is necessarily right either.

Everything is okay.

I read have read many different pieces with the message that it’s okay to not be okay. I agree. Everyone walks their own path, faces unique battles and, at one point in time, everyone has a moment of not being okay.

But what happens when everything is okay? When it’s not great but not bad either? When you’re not unhappy with where you are, but it’s not where you want to be, but you also don’t know where you want to be? What happens when you have settled in mediocrity and it’s okay?

Is it okay to just be okay?

Kara is a originally from Gordonsville, Virginia and is a recent graduate of James Madison University. She is now pursuing her career in Nutrition and Dietetics in the D.C./Maryland area. When Kara isn’t thinking about, talking about, making, photographing or actually eating food, she enjoys adventuring outside, running half marathons and spending time with her chinchillas, Milo and Asher.

2018 Will Only Change Your Life If You Do

You stumble into your apartment at 2 am on January 1st, still slightly drunk from the celebration the night before.  You slump onto the couch, dismayed to realize that nothing’s changed.  You feel the same as you always have, even though you promised yourself that in 2018, everything would change for you.  No more failed relationships.  No more emotional baggage.  No more crummy job.

Yet here you are, curled up on the sofa on January 1st, 2018 at 2 in the morning, drunkenly wallowing in your string of short-lived relationships, the pain you’ve held in for the past 20 years, and the 9-5 job with the overly chatty cubicle mate and the salary that’s barely enough to pay the bills.

This isn’t how it’s supposed to go, right?  You’re supposed to enter the new year happy and healthy, with a loving relationship and a fulfilling job.  You’re supposed to become your best self the moment the clock strikes midnight on January 1st.  You’re supposed to have all of the garbage you went through in 2017 magically absolved from your life.  You’re supposed to immediately step into the life of your dreams.

Maybe in a fairytale.  In 2018, it’s time to face the harsh reality of new beginnings.  

2018 will only change your life if you do.

In 2018, you have to be willing to better yourself, to dedicate yourself to building the life of your dreams.  Without resolving to change yourself this new year, your life will stagnate, and as 2019 arrives, you will find yourself enveloped in the same problems you’ve refused to solve for years.  In 2018, work to become the best version of yourself.  Work to give yourself the life you deserve.  Work.

If you’re searching for a stable, loving relationship, commit to self-examination this coming year.  Recognize that your fear of commitment is preventing you from experiencing the longevity you crave.  Understand that your fear of intimacy is cutting ties with your partners and holding you back from the love you deserve.  Know that having a “type” is trapping you in a set of love interests that may be wrong for you and is also preventing you from expanding your worldview.  Resolve to meet people who love you wholeheartedly and challenge you to overcome your fears.  In 2018, work on committing yourself to love, to intimacy, and your love life will blossom in ways you’ve never dreamed possible.

If you’re seeking an end to your emotional distress, commit to finding happiness this coming year.  Reignite the spark for the passions you’ve left behind.  Engage with nature, music, and the arts.  Do whatever makes you smile.  Grow closer to the people who uplift you and cut toxic friends out of your life.  In the midst of your overwhelm, prioritize searching for the help you deserve.  In 2018, work on creating your own happiness, and your world will once again become light and joyous.

If you’re longing for a new career, commit to paving the way for a brighter future this coming year.  Discover what fulfills you, what would fill that void in your professional life, and begin to seek it out.  Take inventory of your current skill set, then commit to developing the skills you need for your dream career.  Apply to jobs in your desired field, even if they seem far out of your reach.  Work on coping with rejections, and strive for self-improvement instead of giving up at the first sign of failure.  In 2018, work on pursuing the career of your dreams, and your professional life will flourish with exciting, new opportunities.

In 2018, work to transform your monotonous life into the life of your dreams.  On January 1st, as you find yourself drunkenly crying on the sofa at 2 am, wishing for a more fulfilling life, remember that 2018 will only change your life if you do.

*Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.

 

Kelly is an avid writer and mental health and disability advocate with a focus on personal growth. She is passionate about using her life experiences to help others. Her ultimate goal is to make a difference in the world -- no matter how small. When she is not writing or educating others about life with disability and mental illness, Kelly can be found listening to music and cuddling her cat.

Learning How to Cry Again

I’m trapped in a paradox, silently screaming to be rescued, but slowly giving in to my own ensnarement.  

In shedding myself, I’ve forgotten how to shed tears.  

It’s seemingly a predicament with no desert of complaint, a masochistic desire in a world that glamorizes an emotionally bland utopia.  Perpetual happiness.  A lack of tears.  An absence of pain.

But I’m suffocating under the weight of my smiles, drowning in the deception of the convincing appearance of my own comfort, entrapped in an everlasting emotional desensitization.

I no longer dwell in a glass castle, secluded from the searing pain of vulnerability, but I remain comfortably numb.  I shed tears as I began to chip away at the fragile walls surrounding me, but my protective dwelling has long since shattered around me, leaving me with nothing but the powerful guise of comfort.

I’m hardened against my own life story, unable to feel the pain of my past amid the blinding bliss of complete openness.  In becoming unashamed to live honestly, I have grown unflinching, unfeeling.

I long to feel my cheeks burn again, to feel the ache of tears hovering in the corners of my eyes, to taste the abrasive saltiness of my teardrops as they roll too far down my face.  To feel my chest heaving as I struggle to choke out words, my breath clamorous in the wake of my tears.  

I long to feel a raging headache lingering after all my tears have subsided — the relentless, all-consuming reminder that nothing, not even the gentle sting of teardrops, is without consequence.  A headache that burns with such a dull ferocity that the only respite from the unending pain is a long nap — a restless sleep that soon becomes deep, filled with the peaceful haze of pleasant dreams.

I long to feel the catharsis, the calm after the storm.  The moment I discover that I am still living, breathing.  The moment I realize that life will continue on — no matter my disposition — and the problems consuming me will eventually reach a resolution.  The moment I consciously choose to live — without regrets, without tears — until the teardrops sting at the corners of my eyes once again.

But, as I stand amid the shards of my glass castle — the remnants of my emotional walls scattered at my feet — I discover the extent to which I have contributed to my longstanding inability to feel pain — the dreary, yet piercing, the discomfort of my tears.  I am lost, directionless, drowning in an open sea — the sea of my own openness — desperately wishing I could trade my fearless rawness for the ability to restore my glass castle — the ability to feel, the ability to cry.

As I continue to drown in the paradox of my unflinching honesty — my inability to truly feel as I continue to shed myself — I cease my silent screams to be rescued from my ensnarement.  At long last, I resolve to rescue myself — by allowing myself to feel again.

I’m slowly learning how to cry again, in the hope that someday, I will rediscover the bittersweet taste of my own tears — the stinging salt of my teardrops cultivating the sweetness of true vulnerability.

*Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.

Kelly is an avid writer and mental health and disability advocate with a focus on personal growth. She is passionate about using her life experiences to help others. Her ultimate goal is to make a difference in the world -- no matter how small. When she is not writing or educating others about life with disability and mental illness, Kelly can be found listening to music and cuddling her cat.

Accept Yourself For Who You Are

Most people who know me are well aware of my childhood. By the age of 14, I learned how to take care of myself and my 10-year-old sister. All of the adults in my life were substance abusers and I had no choice but to figure it out for myself.

I’d say it was a sad sob story, but it turned me into someone that could never be destroyed, someone who worked hard, and someone who was admired. Things that would traumatize other people couldn’t touch me. I learned that I didn’t need anyone to survive, and no one was going to take that from me.

As I’m getting older my personality is changing from a bitter bitch to someone who cares too much. When I was young, my mother told me that tears were for the weak. You don’t cry, and if you did.. it better be in the shower or into your pillow.

Over the last few months, I have been breaking down barriers. It happened so fast and all of my emotions were just out there in the open for everyone to see. That should be great right? Wrong! I felt weak. I felt like every wall I built, everything I have done to protect myself was going out the window.

I immediately hit the panic button and I ran so fast it was like a blur. I am fully aware that I am thinking in an unhealthy way. I am aware of the person that I am striving to be, and that I am doing the opposite of what I say I want. I am aware that I am stopping myself from moving forward.

I am able to admit that I will push anything away that makes me feel emotionally uncomfortable. I have been going to some extreme measures to try to figure out why I act or think this way. I have tried to explain my way of thinking, but it has been difficult for people to understand me. I have put all of my thoughts and emotions out there, and each time I am criticized and never understood. So why say anything at all?!

I thought I was able to overcome this, but I am not ready right now. I know that this won’t work for me forever, but I can’t seem to fight it. I am so strong, but I am so weak.

I try to cut anything out that might make me feel weak, which in return makes me weak. I battle myself every day. Feeling so many emotions gives me anxiety. I destroy myself with no way out. I numb myself to everything and it is the safest feeling in the world.

I am able to envision the person I want to be. I have experienced the thoughts that make me happy, and that is my motivation to work on changing my entire mindset. Instead of putting a knife into myself every day trying to understand myself, I need to accept that I am who I am.

The positive that has come out of this entire situation, is that I am being honest with myself. I can be honest in saying that I don’t know where to start and that I am uncomfortable with change. This is the first time that I have been able to acknowledge that my actions are on purpose. Maybe this is where I start in order to change.

Overall, I make my own choices and I am responsible for myself and my actions. Taking responsibility doesn’t free me from my thoughts, but it shows me that I have the power to make changes when I’m ready.

 

 

 

 

Meghan Farr
Meghan has an Associates Degree in Human Services, Bachelor's in Human Development and Family Studies, and a Minor in Psychology.

A Sister’s Advice

The best piece of advice I ever received was from my sister in May of 2015. It was 7 in the morning and I had been texting her having a meltdown about my impending breakup. This man and I had not been good for each other. Comfort and fear were holding hands telling me to just keep giving the relationship ‘one more shot.’
I had signed a new lease in a town an hour away, insisting yet again that a fresh location would help with that fresh perspective and a clear mind. The moving date was set, the job offer had been signed and it was a matter of time before the relationship was over as well. All of my insecurities, doubts, and fears were making themselves known every morning with a new set of tears on the same tired face.
That morning my Godsend of a sister was listening to me yet again go back and forth about what to do, which direction to go, and how I was possibly going survive all of this upcoming change. She sent a text that said,
 “Take a deep breath and put yourself first.”
My sister’s advice is not one to be taken lightly. Unlike me, her smiles and words are earned. She has fought battles and demons and continued forward with still grace and dignity. She has provided me a sense of home when I could not find one within myself, and given me the courage to continue being who I am even when I have continuously shaken under my own skin. The impact of this piece of advice came with a newfound sense of gravity within my own world.
These words have continued to ring in my ears and provide comfort every time I have been unnecessarily hard on myself, overwhelmed with commitments, or been so deeply lost within my own mind. Her one sentence has helped me navigate the exhausting process of learning to be soft on myself, not just others. I will be the first person in line to soften the blow for my loved ones but am the first to throw salt on my own self-inflicted wounds.
Take a deep breath and slow down, realize that not a single person has everything figured out. Breathe and remember that we are all human and engulfed in wave after wave of thoughts, feelings, memories, hopes, and fears. Take them in one at a time and acknowledge that they are there, yearning to be felt. Put yourself first and open your eyes to the fact that if you are not your own priority, you’ll end up falling through your own cracks and picking up the pieces.
I have allowed myself to be buried in another person without the realization that I was suffocating rather than being planted. My sister has always provided me with a sense of comfort and protection. And her words provided the encouragement necessary to push forward in rearranging my priorities and placing myself at the top of that list. I have continued to take these words with me in every encounter and rely on them in the heaviest and simplest of times. I’ve offered them to others in hopes that they, too will find a sense of comfort and direction in them. Take a deep breath and put yourself first so that everything else can align and fall into place.