Other Half

I know I don’t say these words enough, but know that they are so;

I love you and will love you until my heart beats no more.

How can I know that I love you so when I’m barely 25 and you’re two years my junior?

Well, beautiful soul, this is how I know:

I carried half of you inside my belly, and although the timing wasn’t right, the feeling was.

You’re the man of my dreams and my partner in crime. You stood by my side as my only support system when I felt as though I lost half of myself. I will forever love you for how you care for me even in my darkest times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Simplicity

The simplicity of your happiness reigns over my darkest days,

And while I’ve taught you to sit and stay, you’ve taught me of unconditional love.

I question whether man is worthy of such a companion,

When we are sad about yesterday and worried about tomorrow,

You find the joy in today.

Thank you, Marley, for teaching me to be present.

marley
In Action, photo credit: Trhippie

Inspired by the Daily Post’s daily prompt, simplicity.

In Darkness There is Light

It has been a week of ups and downs, and I spent its entirety just trying to steady the teeter-totter. It’s funny how much you can learn in a matter of days. I have so many seemingly unrelated thoughts that should (hopefully) all tie together by the end of this post.

Bear with me.


The Nature of My Blog Posts

My last few blog posts have definitely focused on some darker subject matter (The Power of ApologyThe Reality of Dreaming to name a couple). I’m overwhelmingly grateful for the love and positivity my fellow bloggers have shown me. As I’m sure you can empathize, writing on such vulnerable topics and then sharing them with the cyber-world is quite nerve-wracking, especially for an over-thinker like myself. Both of these posts were my responses to The Daily Post’s word prompts. Both times, I sat silently with the word stirring in my brain, and contemplated what the word really meant to me. In both cases, the results were dark.

But in darkness, my dear friends, one must remember to turn on the light.

My mind is in constant contemplation. I’m always thinking. My writing has always been a good indication of what my mind is working through. Lately, as is evident in my recent blog posts, I’ve been really digging deep. digging up thoughts from my childhood, exploring the depths of my sub-conscious. This is what I do, this is what I’ve always done. For example, my struggle with constantly saying I’m sorry. I can’t simply just accept the fact that I say it all the time, I need to know why. So what do I do? I go to the source. Where did this begin? Is it a recent development or has it been life-long? I think and then I write. It’s the exact same method with my tornado terror. After having that dream, I couldn’t accept the fact that somewhere inside of my consciousness, a tornado was destroying my life. I had to dig deeper, find its roots, and expose them via this blog.

Though the subject matter was heavy, I hope my readers can find the underlying positivity. I am only sharing my vulnerabilities and struggles in hopes that someone will find strength in it. Although I do have my struggles, I am overall a very happy, smiley, positive person. Writing is my escape, it’s where my over-abundance of thoughts can finally break free. Sometimes they will be joyful and light, and other times, they will expose my raw, uninhibited emotions.

I’ve noticed an unintentional pattern in my writing. It’s all a journey somewhere. Whether it’s a journey across Canada, or my ongoing journey to the self, My ultimate message is: there is light at the end of the tunnel.

This leads me to my next aching thought…

Who is theanalyzedlife?

When I revived theanalyzedlife a couple of months ago, I did a four part series on our trip across Canada. At the time I had also read some blogging tips that suggested figuring out what your blog will focus on. Will it be a travel blog? Makeup blog? Poetry? Fiction? Photography? I had been worried because I didn’t know what niche I fit into. While I dream of doing travel writing, I don’t yet have the means to travel as much as is required. I do believe that someday soon I will be able to travel this fascinating world and document it all with my words and my partner’s beautiful photographs. However, I realized very recently (today at lunch) that I’ve been longingly dreaming about the what-ifs, and I haven’t really thought of what-is:

My blog falls under many defining categories and cannot be confined to one niche. Ultimately, this is the story of a 20-something girl on a journey. The destination is uncertain, but the goal is clear: to be the greatest version of myself I can be. This is my journey to the self. I’m so happy to share my ups and downs with you, and hope that you always find the light amidst the darkness.

Thursday

The days leading up to Friday were exhausting in all areas of my life. Work had been particularly stressful as I’ve been given new responsibilities. I know we learn from our mistakes, but have you ever made consecutive mistakes at work that leave you feeling incompetent and on edge? That’s how it felt all week. My mind was so flurried with anxious thoughts that I couldn’t think with any clarity, causing even more mistakes. I was carrying this weight home with me all week.

On the home front, things haven’t been easy. My boyfriend has been dealing with depression for two years. This week he finally decided enough is enough, sought the help of a doctor and even shared his truth about depression via social media. A smile spread across my face as I read his honest post:

So, I’m going to practice what I preach.

I’m depressed. Been trying to cope with it myself for the last two years. Finally threw in the towel and decided to see a doctor.

Funny thing though, it was harder for me to get a weed card here than it was to get a Lexapro prescription………..

Anyways, I’m just saying this in hopes that people might stop hiding in the closet. Whether you’re depressed, gay, emotionless, or too emotional, stop fucking hiding from who you are.

I am not weak. Depressed people are not weak. I will use this lovely battle to build my character.

If you’ve ever battled depression, anxiety, or anything of the sort, you know how difficult it is to find any motivation at all. His progress is a huge step in the right direction. I’m unbelievably proud of his strength, but this week his depression really became real. His depression materialized in the forms of a bottle of prescription pills and a social media post. It wasn’t just words anymore. This week, his battle to conquer depression began.

The weight of it all became too much, and come Thursday, I couldn’t bear it any longer.

My day at work on Thursday was a mess. I felt as though my shitty feelings were seeping out of me without any control. I couldn’t hold myself together. I was slow and inaccurate all day. I thought I’d feel relief when I finally got home, but it only got worse. My body felt heavy. My mind was too foggy to think with clarity. After wallowing in my misery for a while, I decided to go on Word Press to distract myself. Fellow blogger My Wandering Heart had referred me to her post How I Kicked Anxiety and Depression in the Ass. Not only was the post encouraging and uplifting, she also left me a very thoughtful message on how I can find some balance in my own life. One thing she mentioned was taking up yoga. Prior to moving to Vancouver, I was doing yoga 4-5 times a week and absolutely loved the work out and the clarity it provided. As soon as I read her suggestion I thought, why the hell am I NOT doing yoga anymore? I had been so focused on my career and struggles at home that I forgot about myself. On Thursday night I made the active decision that Friday would be a good day.

And it was.

TGIF

I approached work with a completely different attitude on Friday. I didn’t let small mistakes control the course of my day. I listened, absorbed and even laughed in the face of error. It felt amazing.

My boyfriend and I met up for lunch. He had just gotten a new camera lens and I could feel the happiness in him as he talked about it. Few things make me happier than seeing him genuinely happy.

I signed up for yoga again and did a hot yoga class after work. I left feeling light, and for the first time all week, my mind felt clear.

I stopped being so hard on myself. I allowed myself to make mistakes. I allowed myself to release my stressors through physical activity.

Finally, I began writing this blog post.

It was an amazing end to an emotional whirlwind of a week.

 

I want to thank my beautiful boyfriend for his strength and perseverance. You encouraged me to take back control of my week.

I also want to thank My Wandering Heart. Your words were exactly what I needed to read, and they couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you for allowing me to put things in perspective. Thank you for mentioning yoga. I’m so glad to be back.

I am truly humbled by the beautiful people I’ve met through Word Press. There are so many genuine, kind, talented souls here and I feel as though I’m part of a community.

Thank you all.

 


Feature image of the sunset by my talented partner, Trhippie

 

 

 

 

Introspection: A Personal Look Into Introversion

I’m very picky with whom I give my energy to. I prefer to reserve my time, intensity and spirit exclusively to those who reflect sincerity. – Dau Voire

“You’re so quiet.”

“She hasn’t said anything in 20 minutes.”

“Talk! Speak!”

My throat tightens and my stomach flips when I hear these words. What the fuck is wrong with me? SAY SOMETHING! ANYTHING WILL DO! I can’t even string together a few words to save myself from this torturous situation.

I’m surrounded by people I hardly know and I feel trapped.

This is the reality of being an introvert.

Fight or Flight

Its taken me up until this point in my life to finally accept the fact that yes, I’m an introvert. I still don’t think I’ve fully grasped it, because I put myself in uncomfortable situations, hoping I will break out of my cocoon and evolve into a social butterfly.

Since moving to Vancouver, I’ve had lots of time for introspection. While I’ve known I’m an introverted person for a couple of years now, I didn’t really think about what that meant until recently. A couple of months ago, a new friend invited me out to celebrate her birthday. I knew she would be the only person I’d know in the group, but I felt completely confident and even excited because she was one of few friends I’ve been able to connect with on a mental level. Although we didn’t know each other well, we both had very similar personality traits, and one-on-one I could be myself completely.

The night of the celebration came around, and it started off very well. I met with my friend (let’s call her Kelly) and her cousin at a Sky Train station and we headed downtown together. The entire ride was full of laughter and silliness, and it was wonderful. The plan was to head to a pub downtown near Rogers Arena to meet Kelly’s other girlfriends who had just come from a Canucks-Leafs game (Leafs won that night!). Upon hearing the plan I was excited and relieved. I’m a hockey lover myself, so hearing the news that her friends had just come from a game, I already knew I’d have a talking-topic to break the ice (pun most definitely intended). When we arrived at the pub I was euphoric. The pub was filled with hockey fans who had just left the game, Kelly’s friends included. I introduced myself to the two girls, and then I said to one of them (we will name her Beatrice), “So I heard you were at the Leafs game?” She coldly said, “No. We were at the Canucks game.” I may be naive, but I didn’t immediately pick up on her sarcasm. I was thinking in my head, maybe she isn’t a huge hockey fan, does she not realize the Leafs played the Canucks? Just as this thought left my mind, she points to me while addressing the other girls and said, “She just asked me if we were at the Leafs game and I said, No. We were at the Canucks game.” This is when things began to spiral downwards for me. My confidence in this situation was completely shattered, I started to enclose myself, I started to panic. And this all happened before we even had a table.

As we were sitting down, Beatrice began her interrogation, “Who is your favourite player on the Leafs.” Yes, I ended that sentence with a period. If you’re a female sports fan, I’m sure you’ve been quizzed like this before. It’s not so much a question as it is your opportunity to prove that you are indeed a sports fan. I began explaining honestly that the Leafs as of late haven’t been very good, so I’d have to pick a retired player as my favourite, Mats Sundin. She shot back at me, “So you don’t have a favourite player.” And those were the last words she spoke to me. After this, every time I tried to interject in the conversation, there was silence and I was hardly acknowledged. This is when I began to get that all too familiar feeling again. The lump in my throat and that suffocating feeling of extreme social anxiety that wouldn’t surpass. I shut down completely, stopped talking and sat in silence. I entered fight or flight mode, and this time, I chose flight. I excused myself to the washroom and I left. The moment I exited the pub I broke down in tears, and what I can only assume was some sort of panic attack. I immediately called my boyfriend and asked if he would pick me up. I had barely been gone an hour.

I wish I had handled this situation differently, as my friend Kelly and I haven’t really spoken since. After the fact she was gracious and understanding of my selfish decision to flee her birthday celebration, but I understand why she wouldn’t want that in her life. I wouldn’t either. I should have told her honestly why I needed to leave, or just told her, “Hey I’m extremely uncomfortable and probably seem like a mute, I better take off.”I didn’t know how to say these things, because at the time I felt so shot down, so mentally drained and so trapped in my own mental battles that I felt I couldn’t speak.

My Introversion

If you aren’t an introvert you may not understand why this traumatized me for a while. I’m used to feeling mental exhaustion after a night out with friends, no matter who those friends are. That’s a reality I’ve accepted. After being busy with social events involving more than one or two people, I need alone time to recharge and recuperate. This particular bad experience had me feeling drained for much longer. Initially I was battling embarrassment from my dramatic exit coupled with disappointment in myself. I shut myself away from the world because I was scared to put myself out there and get shut down again. But as my favourite fictional character Dumbledore once said, Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.

I spent this alone time in deep self reflection, finally allowing myself happiness in my own right. I began blogging again, finally finding the confidence to share my writing and thoughts with someone other than myself. I also reconnected with an old friend who has never asked me to talk when I’m quiet, someone who has never drained me of my energy: Mother Nature. Hikes became a weekly venture, and while my body may tire and grow sore, my mind is peaceful and quiet. I’m not suggesting that all introverts need to cut themselves off from socializing, but during my own mental battle it was exactly the remedy I needed. You can look up the standard definition of introvert, but I think it’s a trait that is different for each individual. Here are a few personal traits that I associate with introversion:

  1. I experience mental exhaustion during and following social situations involving a group or people I am not familiar with.
  2. I need to “recharge” following social situations. I often don’t enjoy sleepovers because it allows me no recharge time.
  3. I have a difficult time hosting people in my house. My home is my safe zone, it’s where I can relax my brain after a long day of being surrounded by people (at work, etc).
  4. I am terrible at small talk. I am very unlikely to initiate it, but I greatly appreciate someone who can get the ball rolling.
  5. If I am talkative around you, it means I trust you and/or feel comfortable around you.
  6. I pick up on bad or negative energy right away. I also pick up on positive energy right away. If I don’t like your energy, I will find a way to escape.

I’m not writing this blog post to share my expertise on the topic. All I can share is my personal experiences and hope that someone can relate. Furthermore, if my friends or family read this, I’m hoping it will give you a little insight into why I am the way I am. For many years I didn’t understand why I didn’t want to see my friends everyday. During university I avoided short trips home because I knew that meant being surrounded by people everyday and every night. I avoided sleep overs because I knew night time was the only chance I’d have to recharge before the next day of visiting and catching up began. I know it sounds selfish, but this is my reality and it has taken me until this point to truly understand myself. I am so grateful to my friends and family for putting up with me while I’ve been trying to find myself.

Some Advice for My Fellow Introverts

If you are having a difficult time balancing your introversion with your life the way I did, I’d like to share some words of advice. I’m no psychology expert by any means, and I still struggle sometimes, but I’m still hoping I can provide some sort of guidance and support.

It’s OK to enjoy spending time with yourself rather than in large groups

I promise, it’s okay. If anything, it’s truly a blessing. Don’t worry about those people on social media who have 20 bridesmaids in their wedding or photos with different people every weekend. That’s perfectly fine too! But at the end of the day, you’re the only person you have, so if you find fulfillment in hanging out with yourself, you won’t need to seek it elsewhere.

Don’t set yourself up for failure

I’ve done this far too many times. I’ve made plans to see people a few nights in a row, and then when the time comes I’m absolutely dreading it because I haven’t allowed myself any “me” time. Don’t overwhelm yourself with more socializing than you can handle. You’ll only run yourself to the ground and disappoint your friends when you are too exhausted to follow through on your plans. On the topic of friends,

If you think you’re an introvert, it’s in your best interest to share this with your friends and family

They probably already know, but if you address it, they should have a better understanding of why you need so much alone time. Especially with your extroverted friends. I personally find that I associate better with extroverted personalities. When I’m in a room with another introvert, it’s usually horribly uncomfortable because neither of us know what to say. That being said, my extroverted friends are often let down by me because I can’t keep up with them. If you explain to them why you may not be able to hang out as much as they would like, they should understand. If you avoid expressing your introversion to them, they may take it personally and over time it will harm your relationship.

Finally…

It’s OK to not have a gaggle of friends

For far too long it upset me that I have like, 4 friends. It would have me in tears, wondering what is so wrong with me that I don’t have an army of girlfriends to see everyday? And the truth is, I’M the reason I don’t have a ton of friends. I’m sure there have been tons of opportunities which I have shot down because I’d rather be alone. Now, I am so grateful for the few amazing friends I do have. They are life long friends who I’ve bonded with on many levels, and you don’t need “filler” friends to waste your time. Cherish your wonderful friends who have been by your side through the good and the bad.

 

That’s all for today. If you’re a fellow introvert, extrovert, or anything in between, I’d love to hear your stories or your tips on how to find balance. Please share below, I seriously love interacting with the blogging community.

Happy Saturday 🙂

 

 

 

 

The Road to Vancouver Part 4: This is the End

Onwards and Upwards

The mountains are calling and I must go…

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Takkakaw Falls walk-in campgrounds, Yoho National Park, AB

We arrived in Medicine Hat, Alberta early on August 24th, 2015. We continued on to Calgary and decided to drive around the city for a while since I had never been there before. Jon took me to the rugby pitch he once played at, and we explored a bit of downtown. There’s something I find so calming about driving through a city’s downtown core. I feel as though it’s the window to the city’s soul, revealing beauty and chaos intertwined.

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Downtown Calgary, AB

A quick car tour of Calgary was sufficient, as our minds were focused on our next destination: Banff National Park.

Banff and Yoho National Parks

I’ve been struggling to find the words to describe our time in Banff and Yoho National Parks. Yoho is named after a Cree expression for “awe and wonder,” need I say more? The pictures I am sharing are only a glimpse into the displays of nature’s breathtaking beauty.

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Approaching Banff National Park, AB

Once we arrived at Banff National Park and paid for our day passes, we stopped at the shops near Lake Louise to stock up on food for the evening. If you’re planning a trip to Banff, I strongly suggest packing a cooler of food before entering the Park; the prices are nearly double what they would be in a regular grocery store. Our next order of business: find somewhere to camp. While Banff isn’t lacking in campgrounds, every site we found was at its capacity for the evening. Much to my dismay, the campgrounds nearest Lake Louise were full, too. Although I dreamed of camping by the stunning Lake Louise, we continued onwards toward Yoho National Park, and upwards into the mountains.

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Mountain Driving, Yoho National Park, AB

Although you can’t see over the edge, this drive was terrifying and awe-inspiring all at once. The lanes on these Rocky Mountain-roads were so tight, and if I am not mistaken, we drove upwards for about 20 minutes. Since our entire trip was impromptu, I don’t exactly know how high up we were or how long it took us to get there. We finally pulled over when we found a walk-in campground with vacancies. This campground was definitely designed for a more seasoned camper, and it was a fascinating experience. There was no office to ask questions or pay for your campsite, no showers and little guidance. We eventually figured out the protocol after talking to the other campers. Once you’ve picked an empty campsite, you fill out a card with your information and your campsite number, put the fees in an envelope, and drop it in the designated box. This trust-based system felt very Canadian.

Once we got settled in, we began exploring the area. I am forever grateful that we stumbled upon this particular campground, because it was right next to the glacier waterfall, Takkakaw Falls.

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Takkakaw Falls, Yoho National Park, AB

The sound of the falls washed away every thought, every worry, every struggle leading up to that point of our trip. The beauty of the icy-blue glacier stream was unparalleled by anything I had ever seen. Every doubt I had about moving across the country without a plan or a clue as to what was next on the horizon vanished at this moment. When you are surrounded by natural beauty of this scope, everything in life is put into perspective. These mountains have been here for millions of years. They preceded and will succeed my existence. It is truly a humbling experience that can hardly be put into words, and must be experienced to be understood.

Clueless Camping

Back to reality… It was getting cold as the day turned to evening, and we needed to build a fire. Simple enough task, right? Wrong. All of the kindling we were able to find was damp, and we were struggling to get this fire started for around an hour before a kind family next to us gave us some dry firewood. We continued to struggle because we needed some dry kindling to start the fire. Yet another family came by and provided us with some kindling. We were so amateur compared to the seasoned campers that surrounded us, but their generosity and neighbourly attitude saved us from having a cold, dark evening.

Once our fire was burning, we were joined by a fellow wandering soul. I don’t remember his name, but I will never forget his energy. He was on his own, and had been driving through the Rockies on his motorcycle for the summer, stopping to camp at various sites along the way. His story inspired me. He had found contentment and clarity in simplicity. He didn’t have a regular 9-5 lifestyle, and he wasn’t dragging around a plethora of useless stuff. It was him, his bike and the road. He did, however, share some delicious pastries with us in exchange for us sharing our fire with him. He was the true embodiment of that saying, those who wander are not lost.

As night fell, so did the temperature. I forgot to mention earlier that we decided not to pack sleeping bags, thinking a couple of blankets would suffice. I woke up in the middle of the night, my body completely stiff as we only had a blanket  between us, the tent and the ground, and I was freezing. Poor Marley was even shivering, which brought me to tears. The temperature must have been around 0°C or below. Jon in his brilliance decided to put the warmer blanket underneath us to create a warmer barrier between the cold, hard ground. we also brought Marley under the blanket and sandwiched him between us for more warmth. We made it through the night, but it was tough. Lesson learned: Do NOT sacrifice sleeping bags when camping in the mountains.

Final Destination: Vancouver

Although we wanted to stay in the National Parks and continue camping for a few days, we were too ill-prepared to survive sleeping in those conditions. We had one more stop before our final destination: Lake Louise.

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Marley and me, Lake Louise, AB

Before you comment on my outfit, let me explain. When we woke up that morning I was still freezing, and it was still cold outside. There was no way I was changing out of my pajamas. I was tired, bones still chilled, but euphoric nonetheless. Lake Louise’s beautiful blue and calm water with its mountainous backdrop was so incredibly picturesque it didn’t even seem real.

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Lake Louise, AB

There’s nothing more that is needed to be said about Lake Louise. If you ever have the chance to experience it, I urge you to. You won’t regret it.

The final stretch of our trip is when reality set in once more. This is it. Once we arrive, the vacation ends and we have to figure out our lives again. Although I was scared, I still didn’t have a single regret. The absolute worst case scenario was that it doesn’t work out and we go back home. Even if that were the case, I still wouldn’t have regretted this trip. In this case, it wasn’t the destination, but the journey that was the most defining part.

The drive to Vancouver was eight hours of driving through the mountains. My jaw was dropped in awe for its entirety.

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Somewhere between Alberta and British Columbia

Arriving in Vancouver was a huge feat. Although our trip had been shortened to half the time of our original plan of 10 days, it felt so good to reach our destination.

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Golden Ears Bridge, Metro Vancouver, BC

As we approached Vancouver, I booked a hotel room for the evening at the Holiday Inn Express in Richmond, BC using Hotwire, a website for getting last minute cheap hotel rates (special thanks to my sister, Kaitlin for recommending this site!). We got a room for around $67/night, which is unheard of in the Vancouver area. Much like our night in Thunder Bay, were thrilled to finally have a bed to sleep in and a shower to use. I think Marley was the most excited of the three of us.

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Marley at the Holiday Inn Express, Richmond, BC

Once we settled in at the hotel, and ordered a celebratory pizza (my favourite), we began apartment hunting on Craigslist. One ad stood out among the rest, and had only been posted a few hours previously. It was a small modern suite in our price range, and the best part was: it was dog friendly. We made an appointment to view the suite the next day, with very high hopes.

We can thank Marley for winning the hearts of the landlords, because after meeting with us three, they agreed to have us sign a lease on the suite, and they even let us move in the following day! Some may call it luck, but I call it fate. Or maybe it’s a bit of both. Jobs followed hastily and with ease. Although I miss my family and friends greatly, the transition into this new life has been surprisingly natural. Maybe it’s because we are two wandering souls hungry for adventure, maybe it’s because we forged the path ourselves. With sharing my story I hope to inspire anyone who may be on the verge of taking a leap of faith, whether it’s deciding to take a big trip, or making a big life-changing decision in general. Thank you for following my journey with me, I hope to have many more journeys and share them with my fellow bloggers and readers.

I will be writing a Part 5 of this series, it will be my final reflection piece on this trip. It will include more details about the signs preceding the trip that should have stopped us from going at all, what I would have done differently and more.

 

 

 

National Poetry Month: The Worrier

I just found this poem I wrote at a really difficult time in my life. My mental state was dark, I was constantly worrying and living with deep rooted anxiety. Enjoy 🙂

The Worrier

(July 28th, 2013) Live for yourself, not for fear,

because fear is the pain that keeps you here;

In a life of worry, sadness and pain,

but at the end you lose, and push away what you’ve gained.

Scared of life, love and everything in between,

This is desperately who you don’t want to be.

But running and pretending won’t help you escape,

When what you’re hiding from is in your own head.

Your thoughts have become the root of all your problems,

but luckily you have the power to be your solution.

Stay positive, stay happy and live for today,

ending your worrying is the only way.

On Confidence

When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t. – Jodi Picoult.

I have to be honest- I totally googled “Confidence quotes,” and this was amongst the quotes I found. Whoever Jodi is, what she said is spot on, and truly resonates with me. This is something I battle with frequently- and I’m sure tons of others do too. a million people could give me positive reinforcement, but it’s always the one negative comment that I dwell on. My last blog focused on having confidence in your appearance, but today I want to dive deeper, and write on total self-confidence. Confidence is something I still have to work on everyday; it doesn’t come naturally yet. Some people just live and breathe confidence, it’s not something they have to read or write about, it’s just innate. Just as confidence in my outer beauty was, inner confidence has been, and continues to be, something I consciously think about and try to enforce in myself. While it’s still a work in progress, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned over the years.

1. Stop trying to please everyone else without considering your own happiness.

I’m the worst for this, but I try everyday to get better. And being a people-pleaser does relate to self-confidence. As a people-pleaser, you become absolutely blinded by what the people around you want, whether it’s your colleagues, your superiors, or your loved ones. It can become so blinding, that you lose the ability to think for yourself, without realizing it. For example, all throughout high school I was certain I would go to university for some sort of arts degree, specifically focused in writing. It’s always been my passion and I always excelled in my English classes, unlike math class which was absolute torture. When it came time to make the decision of where to apply, I discussed it with my family, guidance counsellors, teachers, everybody around me was involved in this decision. Much to my dismay, I received a ton of negative feedback when I told people that I wanted to pursue the arts. I was told that the only way to make money was to get my math grades up and go into business. As a people-pleaser, I thought this was the only way, so I took a summer math course with the hopes of boosting my grade and from there, getting accepted to a good business school. Well, that math grade ended up being pretty terrible even though I dedicated hours per day to it, and while I was researching business schools, I realized that this wasn’t what I wanted at all, it was what everyone else wanted me to do. When I began actually looking into arts programs around Canada, I knew instantly that it was exactly what I wanted.

You may wonder how a big decision like this and confidence relate. Going against the grain and doing something other than what’s expected of you takes a ton of self-confidence. For me, I had to look within myself to realize that business wasn’t for me, despite a ton of outer influences. I followed a path that I forged myself, and there can be no regret in that. That was one personal feat I had in terms of confidence.

2. Sometimes the only person who will believe in you, is you.

 Everyone has dreams, and I don’t mean the ones that happen while you sleep. I mean those so called “pipe-dreams”. Whether your dream is to go to the Olympics, move away to a deserted island, or to do anything else that’s out of the ordinary, these are all things that are considered pipe-dreams; they are dreams or goals that people have that seem impractical or impossible. Everyone’s definition of “ordinary” is different, but from a western society’s perspective, the typical norm is something along the lines of: Get a degree, get a “real” 9-5 job, buy a house, get married, have children, retire, die. I’m not putting down anyone who lives this life, or anyone who wants to. It is a shame, however, that this lifestyle has become so mainstream, that the people who want to live lives that don’t fit the western mold are constantly discouraged and immediately discredited. While it is extremely hard to do what you want to do rather than what’s expected of you, the people who have the most inner confidence and peace are the ones who followed their own paths. It won’t be easy to follow your own dreams, as cynical people will try to break you down and deter you from the road less travelled. Just remember, the people who laugh in your face had dreams once too, and it’s most likely that they too had someone laugh in their face and tell them their dreams were stupid. It takes confidence to ignore the nay-sayers and to continue strong on your own path. You are the source of your confidence, not the jerk who forgot how to dream. Always remember that.