Untangling Myself from an Emotional Rock Bottom

Originally published on Elephant Journal on 1/28/2016.

 

RG-Mermaid-2Not being able to see instant gratification from a newly-incorporated healthier lifestyle can snuff out any enthusiasm for sticking with it.

But sometimes we find ourselves in situations where there is no other choice but to stick it out for the long haul, clinging to the promise of an elusive “one day.” The alternative is to continue down a path of self destruction, whether it be emotional, physical or often times both.

A person does not suddenly wake up one morning and find themselves unexpectedly at rock bottom. The trail is paved by half-hearted attempts to integrate new routines that always seem to be sidelined by discouragement, before being forgotten for tried and true habits. The cycle repeats itself indefinitely until the build up of poor choices leads to a derailment of everyday life, serving as a gut-punching S.O.S.

Hitting rock-bottom is similar to sitting on the bottom of a swimming pool and looking straight up to the surface. At the bottom of the swimming pool, there is an awareness of sound and movement whirling above, but nothing is clear enough to be understood. Although a person may be able to avoid the wave-making commotion and chaos transpiring above, it comes at the price of never being able to experience the direct warmth of the sun.

Two years ago, I had realized that years of unresolved feelings and continuous unhealthy choices had navigated me to an emotional rock-bottom. Continue reading

33 Articles Published in 365 Days

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For me, 2015 can be described as wordy – literally! Over the past 365 days, I have had 33 essays published across multiple outlets- 20 syndicated and 13 original. Having the opportunity to allow my work to be introduced to new readers has been the best thing to happen this year.

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Finding My New Christmas Season: Trees, Ugly Sweaters, Rockettes and of Course, Cats

It’s 5 days from Christmas Day and I’m smiling. And have been for the last week everywhere I go- work meetings, doctors appointments, the grocery store. Somehow I’ve found myself being in the total opposite place I assumed I would be a month ago- filled with holiday spirit.

Honestly, I was gearing up for a mental war fare with a range of emotions with an expected battle with emotions that would leave me upset, drained and defeated by the time Santa came. You can even read about it in the piece I had published on Elite Daily earlier this month.

However it seemed that the world nor Dr. R (my therapist) would let me fall for that old trap. Maybe it’s because I’m in a strong, stable place emotionally for the first time in almost 3 years for the holiday season. Or maybe it is because I’m finally gaining confidence to start new traditions and letting go of old ones. And honestly, I think it speaks volumes to the fact that all of the self-exploration, life changes, and relationship evaluations over the past 2 years is actually paying off for the best present of all=inner peace.

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Oh, and having a cat dressed up like a reindeer doesn’t hurt either. Here are a few of the Christmas traditions and fun I’ve filled my time with over the past month:

  • 12404176_10156247093540063_327223759_nPut up a damn Christmas Tree and plugged in every night- Living in a shared house can be lonely, despite having 3 other roommates. Opposite schedules make it so that sometimes I only see one of the roommates once every few months.  With limited space and time, decorating used to be a challenge. The first Christmas I moved in, I went without my own Christmas tree which was a bad idea. Last year, I picked up a 3ft Charlie Brown tree that’s pre-lit and fits perfect on my dresser. Each night when I get home after a 10 hour day of working, the first thing I do is plug in the tree. Instantly the lights help me relax. It really has helped me remind myself that this year is full of finding my own holiday season- including my own tree! And the best part is that it goes right back in the corner of my closet in January! And after the first 2 days, Annie tries stopping to eat the branches.

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How I’ve Spent My Summer Vacation- or Lack There Of

anigif_enhanced-12676-1424726950-5It’s mid-summer, more than halfway through 2016, and my perception of time has gone out the window. Within three months of the new year, I found myself being called to rise to the occasion at my new job. An unexpected life lesson and experience allowed me to foster a whole new level of professional abilities, however it completely abandoned my path to achieve the goal of a better work/life/personal project balance.

I began to feel a self-imposed sense of guilt for shafting my own writings , despite publishing three pieces for HuffPo, xoJane, and Bustle during that 4 month period. Like a AA member who has fallen off the bandwagon, I’m back to committing to the twelve steps of life balance- which includes:

  • Being mindful to not work from 7 am-6pm every night. 
  • 2gxofvoMaking an effort to spend time doing creative writing during the week.
  • Feeding myself with healthy meals instead of ingesting food that’s convenient and liquid. 
  • Stop holding myself to self-imposed schedules and rigid to-do lists that are only upsetting to me when their not achieved.

Between dealing with the aftermath of my mom’s latest stroke, turning 26 and trying to continue to acclimate myself with my job of less than a year, other fun stuff has been happening including: Continue reading

Feed the Fire- Honoring Weston Keeton

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 12.11.45 PMI never thought a year ago I would be writing a press release and helping my friend Julie organize an event to honor the one year passing of her son, Weston. But on Monday, March 23, it will be exactly a year since I received a text message that my buddy Weston gained his wings. A year later, Weston is missed more than ever but the Keeton family continues to keep his spirit alive by paying it forward.

Many parents cannot even fathom what the Keeton family has gone through. Yet Julie and Adam Keeton are showing that it is okay to honor the ‘angel-versery’ of their son. Since Weston adored firefighters, the Keeton family planned a special event called ‘Feed the Fire’. They have asked supporters from across the country to adopt their local fire house, by donating meals, supplies and snacks. Over 62 fire houses will be ‘adopted’ on Monday, March 23.

Myself and my friend Jen will be adopting Manoa Fire Company in Havertown,PA.  You can click here to read the press release.

98.1 WOGL interviewed Julie and I for this awesome piece promoting the event. You can click here to read it. 

Julie was also interviewed on WJHL last week. You can click here to watch the clip.

To learn more about Weston and Feed the Fire, visit www.westonswarriors.com.

Stay tuned for a recap of the event!

Happy Birthday to the Highly Intelligent Cat

A year ago today I woke up after spending all of Christmas Day crying because of how awful I felt. It also was the same day I was surprised with a little fur ball. Annie became my cat at the right time in my life because most of 2014 was hell- but she did more for me than any pill, therapist or liquor could. Now she’s my faithful photobomber and is slowly becoming a viral sensation! A year later she has caused controversy as the highly intelligent cat in my dating profile and has made it onto xoJane and HuffPo! Happy birthday Annie Cat! 

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I asked for Online Dating help- and XOJANE Comments Exploded

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 10.12.51 AMWriting my online reject article for xoJane was a shot in the dark- it was a personal experience that I thought a few people would be interested in, or maybe relate to. When it was published yesterday afternoon- all comment hell broke loose. I’m not going to lie- I spent Friday night pouring through the array of feedback in the comments section. Many uplifiting, and full of valid advice. Others made me want to drink tequila and cry into the fur of my mentioned (and must discussed) ‘highly intelligent cat’. 

I woke up to this—all this in less than 20 hours. Continue reading

How I’m Surviving In Survival Mode During a Severe Depression Relapse

420df4dbf230b2969cc405eb8ecb380eOver the past several months, it had been easy justifying why I had been tired, a bit anti-social and melancholy. A hectic work schedule, feeling run down, and family obligations were my staple cop-outs to give to myself or anyone else who questioned my actions. The truth was that my insecurities were creeping back into my daily life again, this time with a vengeance through changes in my personal and professional life.
 
I started a new job after an unpleasant exit from my former place of employment. I was immediately thrown into the busy season in a matter of weeks. Doubts about my career choices stemming from the previous employment mishap were still raw as I grappled with learning the ropes of a fast-paced workplace in a new industry. As much as my new colleagues were assuring me that I was a fantastic addition to the team, my perfectionist personality constantly critiqued my learning curve. 

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My Tribute to My Grandfather Is My Writing, Which Was His Gift to Me

Originally seen on Huffington Post. Published 05/10/2012

1528464_10154060284585063_8283555084608657545_nMy grandfather would have been 83 years old today. If he were alive right now, I would probably be putting the final touches on his birthday cake and trying to rush around to find the last-minute perfect gift. Most likely, it would have been something for his kitchen, since 90 percent of my memories with him revolved around the kitchen table. Me gobbling up his pancakes or tomato salad as he told me stories of growing up in upstate Pennsylvania. Or how when I would turn down a piece a fruit after breakfast, he would remind me that when he was growing up, fruit was a treat. He would only receive an orange in his stocking at Christmas, so I should be so lucky to be able to have one each day!

I never did find out of that story was true (in fact, most of his stories were exaggerated), but that doesn’t matter now.

Instead of stressing about last-minute present preparation like I do for most loved one’s birthdays (I take card shopping very seriously. I’m the woman that spends a good half hour reading cards till I find one that makes me cry), I’m reflecting on his life and his continuous influence on it. Continue reading

Bullying is Much More Than Child’s Play

Originally seen on Huffington Post. Published 11/20/2010

images (2)Bullying may seem like child’s play to some adults or as just one of those areas that everyone goes through. With the recent outburst of cyberbullying, and teenage suicide deaths around the country, it is about time that people understand bullying is not just a kid thing; it’s a serious issue that can affect a person’s entire life. The act of bullying is based on the harsh words and actions against another person, for simply being in existence. The psychological impact of being ridiculed for just being ones self is devastating, especially to the development child, or young adult’s psyche.

Young people across the country are afraid to get an education because they are terrified of what flaw a classmate is going to pick apart on them today. Instead of learning about American history, or nurturing their passion in creative writing, victims are sitting in their desks, waiting for an ambush. Praying that they can survive till 3:00 p.m. without being noticed by anyone, that is how the victims of bullying spend their school day, 180 days a year. Continue reading