When You’re at the Bottom, Look Around

Last week my car broke down and the whole contents of my savings account later I felt at the bottom of a really big mountain with no way back to the top. I had spent months climbing and climbing, only to fall back down with scraped knees and bruised elbows in one big push. In that moment, standing in a foreign driveway, watching my beat up but trusty old car being towed away, I felt incredibly lost for the first time in months.

You see, it’s so easy to feel on top of the world when everything is going your way. But when the unplanned happens, the things that you can’t pencil into your calendar, it’s not so easy to know what the next step is.

When my boyfriend and I were waiting in his car for the tow truck to arrive, after I had called him at almost nine o’clock at night and he had arrived in his PJ’s without a question, his sister offered to bring me food because I hadn’t eaten dinner yet. When I called my parents, in tears and falling apart over a composition of parts and machinery, they helped in every single way they could from hundreds of miles away. When I crawled into bed that night, my car was waiting at a garage to be examined, I knew a bill was about to be placed in my hands that I couldn’t manage, but I had a ride to work the next three days, I had parents who would do anything to make sure I could make ends meet, and I had a boyfriend who would drop anything with just one call saying that I needed him.

You see, it’s easy when you’re on top of the world to feel put together. It’s not so easy when you’ve been knocked down, to feel like you’re going to be okay.

There is no arguing that I am incredibly blessed. With little money, and a car that for a while barely ran, I still have a car. I still have enough money to buy food. I still have friends and family that would do anything for me. When I look at that, it’s hard not to feel on top of the mountain again. It’s easy to feel like you’ve been pushed down. But maybe it was just time for you to look at your life again, and realize that while you’re striving for what you want, maybe what you have isn’t really all that bad.

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When You Died I Read

When my world fell apart I went to the bookstore.

I went to the bookstore because there I am a stranger.

The aisles are just hallways and each person is just a traveler.

I went to the bookstore because the pages on the shelves

hold more stories than I ever will so within those pieces of paper

They must know greater heartbreak than what I am feeling

and there is a comfort in that

knowing that in this bookstore as I pass each title

I am not alone.

When my world crashed around me

I didn’t buy anything at the bookstore.

I wasn’t there to exchange paper for paper –

I ran my fingers down the spines of each bound cover I could never have

and I thought of your face.

What a beautiful thing you are – they are –

so far gone from me yet within finger tip distance.

I could flip through your pages but I will never get the chance

to read your novel.

 

-CM

Find Your Fight

You have a reason to live. I don’t know what it is, and since we are having this conversation, I am willing to bet you don’t know either. But I promise you, there is one. I know you feel like there is no point. Your life has been so dark for so long, and fighting has gotten beyond tiring. Your soul is tired, your body is tired, and giving up is so much easier. Believe me, I get it. But you have fought so hard for so long, giving up would just mean throwing all of that away…wouldn’t it?

So please, listen to me. Sit down, and give me just five minutes of your time.

I need you to find your fight. I know you are tired. I know you have been fighting for what seems like forever. But I need you to find the one reason to never stop fighting. I promise you, you have one. I know you have lost sight of it. But it is there – you just have to find it again.

For me, my fight started off as my parents. When my battle with depression and suicidal thoughts began, I had to search for my fight. And what I found was my parents. They didn’t deserve to lose a daughter. They had given up so much of themselves, so much time, energy and love went into making me – they didn’t deserve to lose all of that. It didn’t matter how much pain I was in – I had no right to put them through it too. I had to fight for them.

My second battle came a couple years later, and this time, though my love for my parents had in no way lessened, my fight wasn’t there anymore. I searched there first, thinking this time it would be easy, because I knew where my fight was hiding. However, depression is never that easy. This time, it took many therapy sessions and medications (that didn’t work for me) to find my fight. And this time my fight was with my sisters. Turns out, they had been keeping it safe for me the whole time. My sisters and I have always been a package deal. You get one, you get all three. We have always had each other’s backs, we have always done everything we can together – you can’t break us up. I had no right to put an end to that without asking them first. And the Lord knows if I had asked, they would have tackled me to the ground and not let me up until I had promised to keep fighting. So I chose to stay. For them. No matter how hard it was, no matter how much it hurt, my little sister didn’t deserve to lose a big sister and my big sister didn’t deserve to lose a little sister.

Now, years later, I thankfully haven’t had another battle yet. But I have already found my fight. My fight lies in the tiny hands of my nearly one year old niece, beautiful blue eyes and tiny body, but amazing soul. My fight lies in the little girl who blows kisses and tickles you, the little girl who gives hugs when she can see you are sad but doesn’t know why. I would do anything for this little girl, anything at all, and that includes finding whatever tiny bit of fight is left inside of me and making it last forever, because fighting for her will always be worth it.

Find your fight. And when you do, use it. Don’t stop fighting. It will be hard. I’m not going to lie and say it will be easy. Even when you have a reason to fight, the fighting doesn’t just magically end. But it will give you a push. And it will be worth it.

-CM

Get Through It

I read an article one time about Ashley Graham, and her use of self affirmations. I loved the idea of it, of waking up and telling yourself the same thing every day until you believe it, and even on the days you don’t want to believe it, but no self affirmation I tried ever felt right. They always felt forced, like I was trying to give myself problems I didn’t really have.

However, over the past couple of weeks, my life has been going through quite a few changes. Work and personal life and all, my life has been up in the air and I have had no idea day to day what was in store for me. I am a planner, so this has been driving me crazy. One day at work, I was walking the halls after a long shift and one sentence kept running through my mind, and ever since, every morning I wake up to these words, and crazily enough, the day gets just a tiny bit easier.

Anything you go through, you can get through.

I encourage you to find a self affirmation that works for you. Something to tell yourself that will help you get through things you don’t feel you can get through. For me, I found my self affirmation after realizing that no matter how scared I have always been for certain situations, I have gotten through 100 percent of every single thing I have tried to this point in my life. And so have you. You are going to be okay. You are going to make it. But you don’t need me to tell you that. Find a way to tell yourself.

Falling In Love Early

I found my soulmate long before I even knew what romance was. Funny isn’t it? You’re just playing in the backyard with a person who laughs at the same things as you, comforting a person who cries when you cry, and all of a sudden you can’t imagine your life without them. I met my soulmate before I could even walk or talk. That’s the thing about a true soulmate. They often aren’t even romantic at all. They’ve seen you through it all. They were the one person who stayed when everyone else left. They believed in you when you didn’t even believe in yourself. They are much more than a best friend. Sure, we can simplify it and call it that, but this bond deserves a title much larger than that. You can’t really know it until you feel it, this connection that crosses boundaries. It’s almost as if you become mind readers. You know what they are going to say before they say it. You know they are in trouble before they call you. You know to message them before your phone even goes off. You can be thousands of miles apart, and you still know the exact moment that they need you. It’s almost supernatural, and that’s why it deserves a much bigger title. Sure, you’ll meet many people you love after them. You’ll fall in love and get married. You’ll have other friends. But your soulmate will always be your soulmate. No one can replace them.

-CM

Advice from the also lost

Tips from a semi-happy twenty one year old on how to live a happier life (read on if you think taking advice from an only semi-functioning semi-adult is a good idea):

1.) Start off your day with a cup of coffee. Or tea, if that’s your thing. Prepare it the way you like, with just the right amount of sweetener and milk, even if your boyfriend judges you as you tip the whole bottle of french vanilla creamer into your mug. While you drink it, watch your favorite program or read your favorite book.

2.) Wake up earlier. Don’t give me that look. I know we all love the extra five minutes the snooze button gives us, but start off by not hitting the button. And then set your alarm for ten minutes earlier, and then half an hour. I try to be up by seven every morning. I go into work at noon most days, and it’s amazing how much more you can achieve if you give yourself just a couple extra hours. What are you really getting from laying in bed tossing and turning anyway?

3.) Keep in touch with your friends and family. Only the ones you want to talk to, I don’t mean you need to daily face time Great Aunt Macy from your dad’s side. But reach out. Call your mom every day if you can, text your sisters, snap chat your best friend. It’s easy to feel lonely and isolated if you are indeed isolating yourself. People want to talk to you. Sometimes they just forget to start the conversation.

4.) Be the bigger person. I don’t mean eat tons of cake, but hey, do that too. There is nothing wrong with a few extra curves. But also, let things go. When something someone says bothers you, if it won’t matter tomorrow, just brush it off. Maybe they are having a bad day, and they unfortunately chose to take it out on you. There’s no need for you to now have a bad day too. Just be the bigger person and let it go.

5.) Wear what makes you comfortable. If six inch heels and a skin tight dress are what makes you happy, wear it. But if sweat pants and a sweater do the trick, wear that instead. There’s no point in impressing people you aren’t going to ever see again, or really even people you see every day. Dress to impress yourself, because at the end of the day, that’s the only opinion that matters.

6.) Purchase some white Christmas lights and put them around your main living space. Just trust me on this one. At night when you switch them on, you will feel so much comfier. You can thank me later.

7.) Smile at children. They don’t know yet that the world sucks. And the smile you get in return will make it suck just a little less for a few minutes.

8.) Do your best and trust that it has to be enough, then move on. Don’t stress the small stuff. It won’t matter in a year anyway.

9.) Eat whatever the heck you want. Simple.

10.) Do whatever the heck you want. Simple. If it doesn’t harm anyone else or yourself, then it shouldn’t matter. Just do it.

Those are my top ten. What are yours? Maybe from a slightly less lost individual, if those even exist.

 

-CM

If you are human, please read

If you are a human and you are struggling with day to day life, keep reading.

If you are still reading and you are scared of the future, picture this: It is ten years from now. You are sitting on your sofa, a book in your lap, the person you love sitting beside you with their feet in your lap. They are smiling down at their phone about something they just saw, and you don’t feel the need to know what it was, because if it gives them that smile, it makes you happy too. It’s cold outside but it’s warm in your living room, and your space smells like chocolate chip cookies. You are whole and you are happy.

If that made your heart relax and you are stillĀ reading but you don’t know how to slow down enough to enjoy moments like this, picture this: It is next week. You have been working for two weeks straight already with no day off and your feet feel as if they are going to fall off. Your brain is running on empty, you keep forgetting the smallest of things, you are sure just a few hours of rest would restore you but you refuse to take them because you have goals. It’s early morning and you get a call. That promotion is yours. You are going to have to work another week before you get Saturday off, but it was all worth it. You finally feel enough.

If you’re still reading, and you’re not sure what you want in life, that’s okay. Picture yourself right now, in this moment. Are you happy? Good. Are you sad? That’s okay. Now picture yourself tomorrow. Are you happy? Good. Are you sad? Bake some cookies and remember that life won’t always be this way.

If you are human and you are struggling with day to day life and you are reading this, join the club. You are not alone. And that is a very good thing.

Loving The Girl in The Mirror

 

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Three years ago, looking in the mirror was the hardest part of my day. I would brush my teeth and get dressed with the lights off, only flicking them on to check that I didn’t get any tooth paste on my face, before flicking them off with a churning in my stomach. The mirror showed me a person I didn’t like to see. She wasn’t unattractive really, she just wasn’t the person I wanted to be. Feeling this way continued for over a year, and I’m honestly not sure why I let it go on for this long, but I know I’m not alone.

The girls you see on social media or in the hallways at school or walking down the street after work are not nearly as confident as they seem. The skinny girl who seems to have it all together goes home and cries, wishing stores actually sold her size, just as the girl with the curves you envy does the same. The girl with the bright blue hair that shines a smile so bright you think you’ll go blind is hiding a depression darker than even the blackest night, just as the girl wearing all black wishes she wasn’t breathing as she takes another swig from the bottle.

The mirror isn’t nice to any of us. There is no secret, no switch that will allow you to love yourself. There isn’t a single person who looks into the mirror and loves every single thing they see. I promise you that. If I can promise you anything, it is that you are not alone. It took me over a year to realize that I didn’t have to force myself to love the girl I saw every morning. I didn’t have to love her – but she had never stopped loving me. No matter how many times I turned the lights off on her, pinched her rolls between my fingers, pulled at her frizzy hair, bit her nails – she still loved me despite it all.

Today, looking in the mirror still isn’t fun some days. I dread turning on the light and seeing that one tooth that sits back too far. I know I am going to grimace at the little hairs that grow above my lips where they shouldn’t. My stomach turns at how my hair never lays flat, always sticks off in random directions. But I still do it. I still turn the lights on. I still give her a long look and a smile, and I tell her I love her.

Seasonal Happiness

Sometimes I wish I lived in a tropical paradise so that

every year as the ground begins to freeze

maybe my heart and body would have a chance.

They tell me it’s seasonal depression as the snow begins to fall

and so does my stomach but I think I would prefer to call it

seasonal happiness for me who gets

maybe two good months of easy smiles

and forces them through heartbreak the other ten.

My heart loves the Holiday spirit but my body hates the cold

my body loves the hot chocolate and festive music but my heart hates

the forced nameless sadness that makes itself home in my chest.

They tell me it’s normal and that it will pass

but for twenty one years I have lived every day

waiting for it to pass.

Maybe next year this seasonal happiness will stay.

 

-CM

Social Interactions Reincarnated

Making friends is hard for people like us with brains in our stomachs

and mouths on our hands so let’s make it easy.

I don’t want to know how your day was –

it was good, mine was good, end of conversation –

start over.

I don’t want to talk about the weather –

it’s sunny, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, it’s getting chilly, end of conversation –

start over.

I want to talk about what gives you that feeling,

you know the one –

that feeling as if you have the whole world in your palm and

you could do anything or be anyone –

I want to know what gives you that feeling so maybe

one day I can give it to you.

I want to know at what point you were your saddest –

I want to know so maybe the next time I see the signs

I will already have the warm blanket and hot chocolate waiting.

Let’s talk about love, loss, fear, anger –

let’s talk about life.

Making friends is hard so let’s make it easy.

Nice to meet you, I’m damaged goods, I wear my heart on my sleeve,

I don’t talk when I should and talk too much when I shouldn’t,

I have a lot of opinions, I don’t know exactly what I want or how to get it

but I know one day I will get it

I would do anything for my friends and do very little for myself –

Nice to meet you.

I think we’ll get along just fine.

 

-CM