Don’t Let the Depression Fool You

It is so easy to become a victim. It is so common to become the target of a crime, to experience pain at the hands of another human. It is so easy to have one hard day, week, or year and make that the new norm. Feeling broken becomes a routine. Seeking help whether professionally or just begging for a laugh and being denied becomes more common than not.

“Numb.” “Blah.” “Breathing.” “Hangin in.” All replace “well” or “fine” when asked how you are. What were once huge celebrations are now just smirks across your face. The biggest disappointments become expectations. There are no more highs and lows- it all feels the same.

Until you change how your eyes see the world around you. Until you take yourself out of the equation. We are souls renting space on this Earth for a short period of time. There are struggles, there are hardships but my god, there is so much beauty and some days, you have to look harder for it but I pinky swear- you will find something if you look hard enough.

  • Do not deny the hues of red, pink, and orange the sun grants us twice daily as he rises and sets on either side of us. 
  • Do not ignore the sound of birds chirping right after a downpour. 
  • Dogs snore in their sleep and children will laugh at a silly face. 
  • A glass of ice cold water or change in toenail polish can change the course of an emotion. 
  • There are thousands of texts filled with millions of different letter combinations that will strike the strings of your heart if you give them the chance. 
  • Do not forget that your smile is the only thing that makes your momma’s heart skip a beat or that your hair stands up on your arms when you’re cold whether you are livid or jumping for joy.

Depression is so real. It takes over our bodies and our minds like a blanket, smothering every instance of joy.

But you can break the cycle of victimization with one acknowledgement of the beauty in your life daily. It takes a lot of work. It requires becoming conscious of our emotions and actively refusing to become “blah” or “numb.”

Easier said than done. I am fighting with myself and the victim I have let myself become daily. It is an active choice each moment. And some days, I do not succeed. Some days,  I can barely get myself out of bed. But nonetheless, I acknowledge the blessings I do have and the beauty I can see even when it becomes blurred from tear-filled eyes.

Do not become a victim in your own life. Do not give up. You are more powerful than you know.

Depression will take over your life and it is up to you to fight back. Everyday is a battle- you win some, you lose some, but the war is your life. And you have the ability to decide the winner.

*Below is my personal email address for anyone to utilize. Do not be hesitant to reach out to me if today or any day is one of those unsuccessful days or where the beauty is smothered in gray. Mental health is one of the most important aspects of our existence on this planet and one that is often ignored. I will ALWAYS be available to aid in reducing the feeling of being a victim to your own life. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Flying away from Complacency

I have never particularly, been a fan of flying. There is just something about sitting in the clouds for a few hours and trusting that the force of gravity won’t increase at any given moment that has never sat completely right with me.

But most recently, it has become less about physics and more about pulled heart strings.
There is so much emotion in an airport and all of these emotions take shape as busy bodies just moving from Point A to Point B as efficiently (in most cases) as possible- vibes, energy, and thoughts being shuffled around terminals.

Then, a conglomerate of all of these emotions sit together on an airbus thousands of feet in the sky.

Some dozing off, some refusing to step away from their work, some begging their child to rest, others staring out the window. There are people who are constantly checking in with loved ones, others who strictly worry about themselves and their luggage.

Everyone has a theory about what the best way to fly is but no matter what- we all end up vulnerable and at the mercy of the wind.

It is horrifying and exhilarating all at once.

When those wheels come off the ground, I fight back tears knowing that it is a subtle and yet blatant reminder that we do not need wings to feel freedom. We are able to take the world on as far as we ourselves are willing to go.

As my ears pop, I realize my fear of flying isn’t so much about the physical phenomenon about floating in the clouds but that I am too scared to get my feet off the ground and push myself to see every corner of this planet.

It’s not about the rise in physical elevation but in elevating ourselves to be better and do better.

We as humans can do anything we put our minds to and as I sit and stare at the clouds turning that cotton candy shade of pink as the sun sets over there right wing of the plane- I am simultaneously overcoming my fear of complacency.

Versatile Blogger Award

Huge thank you and shoutout to Bernard Chinua  for nominating for the Versatile Blogger Award. It has been so fun to get this blog up and going and writing for a larger audience than myself. I have been beyond blessed with feedback and support from all my readers and I will be forever grateful for you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Rules of the Award Nomination:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog site.
  2. Nominate blogs that you have recently discovered or follow regularly.
  3. Share 7 things about yourself that people may not know.

Nominated Blogs:

  1. Let’s Get Sober!
  2. education pathways
  3. Baffled Mum
  4. Sarah Russell Poetry
  5. Adult-ish

7 Fun Facts:

  1. I have a freckle on my left eyelid
  2. Scary movie and wine nights are my absolute favorite
  3. I have never travelled outside of the United States (but I am on my way soon!)
  4. Chapstick is a must no matter where I go
  5. Drowning is my biggest fear
  6. Libraries and old book stores make my heart sing
  7. Documentaries > anything

Thank you all so much for the likes, shares, comments, and nominations. During a time in my life where I have felt lost and bored with routine and the way things were going for me, this blog site has offered an outlet for so much love and I am beyond appreciative of that. Have a great day and make someone smile! 

Lost and Found

you can find me chasing the sun rays as they disappear behind the mountain silhouettes. you can find me waiting patiently for the constellations to connect themselves across the midnight skies. I am constantly looking for the depths of my own soul along two lane roads and corn fields. my feet are playing in the sand at any given beach while my head is playing in the clouds 14,000 feet in the sky. I am sipping coffee from foreign lands, fulfilling my taste for adventure for a few short minutes. I retreat to familiar faces, embrace hugs, and appreciate home for what it is- a place to come back to. Home for me, has never been a place to stay but rather a place to refuel. I am craving to fly and not scared to swim. I want to experience the highest highs and the lowest lows and every roller coaster loop in between. I want to meet the kindest, the rudest, the most insecure and confident people in the world. I want to know what makes people smile and what word triggers a breakdown. I am searching for a sense of nostalgia amongst brand new cities and places. I am searching for my own emotions in letter combinations others have created. Being lost is not something that scares me but something I look forward to. Amongst the wanderers and the dreamers. Amongst the people who never want to stop striving for more. Being found is not the ultimate goal. But finding someone else, somewhere else, something else. thats the goal. I am lost, trying to find anything and everything but myself.

Potential or Opportunity

“All children are born with equal potential but not with equal opportunity.”

I have heard this phrase or an alternate of it several times the last few weeks as I have been prepping professionally to work with high-risk youngsters.

And it breaks my fucking heart.

This country has always prided itself on the fact that all children start from the same distance from the finish line. Every beating heart brought onto this Earth has the chance for success. We constantly reference rags to riches success stories and those who turn their food stamps into college degrees. We have seen it happen a handful of times, therefore it’s possible and no individual should ever fall below that standard.

In this sense, we are saying that the same child who grows up in a food desert, eating nothing but hot Cheetos and Poptarts from the gas station has no excuse to not obtain all the same successes as a child who walks to Whole Foods every weekend with his parents and eats organic almond butter on his nine-grain toast every morning.

The argument for potential vs. opportunity can be outlined in numerous formats: nutrition, transportation, parental involvement, access to healthcare, access to information, biological stress levels, exposure to pollution, exposure to crime, violence, drugs, sex whether virtually or in person, city funding and subsequently school district funding, political agendas, teacher enthusiasm, clear and enticing extrinsic motivators which allows the list to continue infinitely.

The “nature vs. nurture” debate (look into behaviorism and the biological approaches of psychology if you are unfamiliar) has been, at its core, a timeless argument about whether our biology has a more relevant role than our environment in our behaviors/thoughts/ actions.

The recognition of lack of opportunity compared to potential makes a strong argument for the nurture debate in that no environment, no home life, no set of influences impacts any given child the same way. And when that environment epitomizes a “lack of,” success becomes less and less obtainable regardless of the intrinsic motivation one possesses.

Willpower, internal motivation, determination, and desire are immeasurable in their influence over our actions and the course of our lives making those few success stories possible. But they do not excuse the influence the environment has and the lack of acknowledgement our country has for the lack of equal access to success every child taking their first breath has. Children are born with the same amount of potential to change the world but are not given the same amount of resources to do so.

How can we possibly still be blaming a child for not taking advantage of an opportunity that they were never given…

We are the problem

I feel like as a society we are constantly asking why children “these days” have such little respect for authority or peers. I believe it stems from a lack of respect that they themselves receive: in terms of their ability, their wants, desires, but most importantly their needs. Instead of being granted the respect and opportunity to explore their environment based on their own terms, children are instead being put into activities full of structure and teacher guided activities. Adults do not allow children to learn solely baed on intrinsic motivation any longer because how could children possibly learn anything if we don’t give them a sticker(…). We kill children’s curiosity from an early (depressingly early) age.

“No, you cannot go play in the dirt because I don’t have time to scrub your grass stains out.”

“Don’t worry about throwing away your food and rinsing your plate off because its easier if I do it.”

“Wear tennis shoes with velcro instead of shoe laces because I don’t have time to help you learn to tie them yourself.”

We have started treating children and their needs as a chore on our “to-do” list, another thing to take care during our daily regiment. What we (and by we I mean parents, teachers, everyone in our child-filled society) are forgetting is that this living, breathing, thinking soul on our bullshit daily checklist is actually a tiny being that is somehow shaping the world with each breath he or she takes and when we treat this living, breathing, thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing being as a check box, we (again, everyone  on planet earth) are not providing he or she with respect. So how can we possibly expect any form of respect in return? We (operationally defined previously) constantly discuss discipline strategies, parent un-involvement, women/mothers working more so but in my opinion, respect is a two-lane road. And for me, respect is automatically given and revoked when it is no longer deserved. Children are born dependent on adults for just about everything and in every domain of development. This is a form of respect and trust in itself. It is as they age and ask to see/explore the world and are denied the opportunity to do so, that the trust and respect they have for adults is lost and is represented through what some may call “unacceptable social behavior” or just basic courtesy.

Children are active, engaged, and curious from the very beginning of their lives and they similarly offer a level of respect for everyone they encounter from the start. It is when they ask to learn and seek to test their naive knowledge about the world and receive demeaning, sarcastic responses from the adults they trust in return that their behavior begins to change.

SO how do we start changing nearly two decades of disrespectful behavior? Start providing a positive model of what respectful behavior is. Pull your two year old out of summer math courses and let your seven year old pick one sport instead putting him in four different clubs to keep him busy. Not every little girl wants to do ballet and young boys should have the opportunity to play dress up. Provide a variety of exposure. Don’t choose a child’s destiny before they are even conscious of the immensity of their options. Respect children by respecting their curiosity and their naive thoughts about people, love, and pain. Respect children by letting them play without structure, whistles, wins or losses. Let little boys make guns out of legos and let the marker scribbles hang on your fridge. Respect children by respecting their individuality and unique desires and needs. Discipline, figures of authority, right and wrong are things children need to understand and acknowledge but I honestly believe that if children feel respected, discipline becomes easier, authority is granted and right and wrong are learned through experience. Respect is mutual and little people deserve so much more than what they are being given

Swing Life Away

Kick forward, pull back. Kick forward, pull back. Kick forward, pull back. It’s easy. Back and forth, up and down. There is something about sitting on that black leather seat and grabbing hold of those two rusty chains that demolishes every fear and every worry. No matter your profession, your stresses, or your pride, walking toward the swing set, letting your hair down, and kicking off your shoes liberates you from the life you live, the responsibilities you have. We were once on the same playing field, all of us. It didn’t matter what car your parents drove to the park that day or what you were eating at the picnic table, we were all kids and that old rusty swing set was the heartbeat of the playground we crawled all over.

It’s the place where we all figured out what kind of person we were. For me, I was fearless. I wanted to be at the top. I wanted to go so high that my butt bounced off as I came back down. I wanted to be above everyone else and when I jumped off, I wanted to be further than any other kid on that playground. I wanted to leave my mark. Some days.

And other days, I wanted less. I wanted to have my feet in the sand, I wanted to be closer to the ground where I knew it was safe. I wanted to lean backwards and know that I was taking a risk but not one that could hurt me.

That swing set helped me understand that there is nothing wrong with aiming for the stars, for taking a risk, and letting loose. But it also taught me that you can be low key too. You don’t have to be on top of the world forever. In fact, you can leave your mark just as well from home base as you can a yard from the swing. Either way, your mark was left. I am still very much that same person today. Some days, I have no problem hopping on life’s swing set and kicking my feet as hard as I can, maybe leaning backward while I’m in the clouds. Some days I need that thrill in order to know that I am alive and that God put me on this Earth to make a difference. And some days, I want to put my hair up and draw lines in the sand. Some days I want to fly so far off the seat that it rocks back and forth until the next kid comes along. And some days I want to be able to just stand up and walk away still knowing that at least the next person who has a seat will see my footsteps in the sand and know that I was there.

When we wake up in the morning, we have to decide which way we want to approach the swing set of life. We have to decide which strategy will make the most difference. Will leaving a thrilling legacy change the world or will one simple mark inspire someone? It’s impossible to know so for now, we have to approach life as we each do the playground centerpiece: kick off our shoes and enjoy the ride. There is nothing wrong with having your feet on the ground while your head is in the clouds.