Welcome back to another December issue of my biweekly interview series. Today I’m interviewing the gracious and beautiful Jackelyn Santana who was recentlymarried. She has a faith based blog here: Faith Walking Hebrews 11:1. She describes her blog using the Hebrews 1:11Bible Verse: “Now Faith Is The Assurance of Things Hoped For, The Conviction of things Not Seen.”
1. Jackelyn, Please Tell Us About Yourself?
My name is Jackelyn Santana, I am from Miami, FL, and my family is of Cuban descent.I am a child of God and passionate about my faith. I LOVE reading, blogging, and spending time with my family. I was married on November 11, 2016 and I am a mother to an amazing six-year-old and a stepmother to two beautiful young ladies.
This year has been full of blessings. To emotionally prepare myself for our marriage, I spent the year analyzing myself and I’m finally at a place where I can embrace my authenticity. I spent a good portion of my life internalizing my pain, wearing masks to cope, and believing something was wrong because I didn’t have everything as it seemed everyone around me had.
Having this frame of mind enslaved me. There wasn’t anything wrong with what I was facing, but because there’s a stigma associated with imperfection and emotional struggle, I thought it was a ‘ME’ problem. I didn’t realize the truth, my problems were natural and universal.
As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other,helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.
The most beautiful thing I’ve witnessed is a group of hopeless lost souls coming together and loving each other back to life. We found a reason to smile again. This world is in such need of healing. I would love nothing more than to help spread love and healing wherever I go in my life.
” As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other, helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.” – Jackelyn Santana
2. When Did You Begin Blogging? What Does Blogging and Writing Mean To You?
I started blogging about four months ago July 20, 2016 to be exact. Blogging means everything to me! It’s liberated me. I’m free!! The more I write about things, the less ashamed I am of what I’ve faced. With each post I’ve removed the chains of emotions and experiences I kept a secret. These emotions and experiences have lost power over me.
This has allowed me to acknowledge and celebrate my spiritual growth. I enjoy interacting with other bloggers. Blogging also gives me an inside view of my soul. Sometimes I’m shocked when I read older posts because when I wrote, I let the words flow from my soul and they expressed things I wouldn’t voice out loud.
3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation To Write?
I am inspired by my faith and other bloggers. I began blogging about one-year ago, but I didn’t think I could write posts people would want to read. I’m better at public speaking than I am at writing. A co-worker of mine kept pushing me to write.I would share advice with her and she would nudge me to put it on paper. I finally decided to test the waters by submitting a guest post on Proverbs 31 Women.
They approved my guest post one-month later and I was shocked and honored. I started writing away on my blog often. My faith in God changed my life,it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs. It’s become a way of life for me and I want to help others learn about Jesus in practical terms.
Many times when we think of the Bible we think of a standard which is too high for most of us to reach. The Bible comes across as something only ‘Holy’ people read. Or, we become intimidated by it because we find it unrelatable since The Bible was written many moons ago and times have changed.
These ideas of Christianity couldn’t be further from the truth.We need to find the right tools to break down barriers from reading God’s Word, The Bible, and help others understand faith in simpler terms.Believing in Jesus can guide us towards love and happiness. Once we understand the basics, our soul will keep searching for more – our hearts will be “homing our Heavenly home,” if you will, and we will grow spiritually.
By identifying with examples from the stories in The Bible, we can understand our obstacles are not too much, our lives can be molded in a way which allows us to serve both God, our families, and friends because they’re all related.
God acknowledges our need for connection and sent his son Jesus not only so that we could be saved, but so we could identify with Jesus and strive to imitate His way of life. As a woman, fiancee, and mother, I have been able to love more purely and unconditionally through The Bible’s teachings, making them a way of life.
Reflecting on the dark moments I’ve faced, I see how fine the line between good and evil can be — being saved or being lost; I want tohelp others be saved as I am saved through Jesus’s death and resurrection.
“My faith in God changed my life, it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs.’ – Jackelyn Santana
4. When Do You Like to Write and Do You Have Any Current Special Writing Projects?
There isn’t a time of day that inspires me the most. I write whenever my heart moves me to write. As of today I’m only blogging. My passion and dream is to help others. Perhaps join /create a traveling retreat group, or participate in spiritual workshops. This is a concept similar to a ‘Women of Faith’ tour, but on a smaller more personal level.
There would be one to one interaction, healing exercises, and honest group talk. I would love to help others come out of their shells and be saved through faith in Jesus and God as I was. My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.
5. Are You Planning on Publishing Any Written Work in The Future?
I have not published anything. Perhaps later in life I will be presented the opportunity to do so, or I will submit writing drafts. With only four-months of blogging under my belt I’m focusing on identifying my writing voice, interacting with others through my writing, and improving my writing skills which are at a novice level. I would also like to study theology and I think it would further advance my writing.
“My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.”
6. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
I sit in front of my laptop or a notepad and I pray, relax, and set my soul free to express itself. When an idea pops into my mind I write it down either on my phone’s notepad, or sticky notes. I may begin draft posts that I revisit at a later time when I can give my writing undivided attention. I have about fourteen draft posts which I’ve begun and I’m saving for the future blog posts.
When I first started blogging I would write and post instantly. I’ve learned to slow down and process topics, allowing my mind to continue digging for information. I will officially post my writing after I have looked at every angle.
7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers Starting Out?
Write about topics you are passionate about. It feels great to do what you love. I love what I write about and it’s how I live my life. If you’re on the fence about writing I would suggest you take a leap of faith and see what comes from this desire.
WordPress has a wonderful community of bloggers and this community helps you grow as a writer. Don’t write posts for the sake of increasing traffic and followers, write on topics you enjoy writing about.
8. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing?
I am God’s creation, I am human, I am imperfect, and I am meant to depend on God. Read this post to learn more about me.
9. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Favorite Blog Posts:
“Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won’t tell you about themselves if they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they become the worse type of person. Unfortunately, they end up hurting themselves in the long run. They don’t want to hurt other people. It is against their very nature. They want to make amends and undo the wrong they did. Their life is a wave of highs and lows. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings. They are tortured souls that are not able to live with hatred or being hated. This type of person needs the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing, and the ones that often become activists for the broken hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved.” –Shannon L. Alder
I am on an emotional roller coaster ride.
I will not try to deny it, this is who I am, sensitivity and all. I wear my sensitivity as a badge of honor, although throughout life I have been ridiculed or further wounded because of it. I cannot control the sensitive nature of my heart. I may pretend something has not stabbed or wounded me, but more likely than not this is not the case.
For many years I have tried to harden myself, hoping that I would become immune to the blows of life, and the harsh words received from those I hold with high esteem. Despite my efforts, my sensitive nature is unchanged.
My sensitive nature is misunderstood.
Those closest to me believe they understand me and my motives. They believe they can read between the lines. Many dare to correct me when I express my intentions and motives, determined their interpretation of my position is correct. My hard and serious exterior denies me the right to ever be recognized as a victim, although, my heart tells me otherwise. Many times I find myself confused, doubting my heart, thinking that there is something severely wrong because I’m always wrong and never right about my own feelings. Maybe I am bad at the core?
One Of My Favorite Bible Verses:
“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15
In my case, I do not understand why I continue to love and care the way I do. I know better, yet I cannot help it. I continue to express my vulnerabilities to those I care about in hopes that I will be understood. The more I explain myself, the further away I get from MY truth, and the closer I get to shedding unfavorable light on myself. I allow the fighter in me to get the best of me when I feel taken advantage of. This without a doubt, is used against me as I fail to be consistent, giving in to my human frailty. I can only be silent for so long without jumping into protective mode. I can only shed so many tears without lashing out. The cruelty I spew is the cruelty I have learned through life, it is not the natural nature of my heart. I would never purposely provoke tears from anyone, not even those who have hurt me profoundly. Yet sometimes acting in this manner is the only way I can get someone to listen to my voice and believe my truth. I am neither too proud to extend an apology when deserved and make amends with those I’ve offended. My truest desire is to maintain peace.
I am not taken seriously in my tender moments; my tenderness is taken for granted. The world demands yet resents my tenderness. Should a loved one offend me, my tenderness is an inconvenience because my tears take away from focusing on the “root” of the problem, and I am forced to slog against the tears. Should I act sternly with others, not allowing my emotions to flinch, I’m accused of being cold and harsh. The combination of my emotions is never seen as right.
It seems my sensitivity is to be used at the convenience of others. I can never be me. I’m never entitled to the beauty of my emotions. My view of my emotions is brushed off because I am overly sensitive. Yet, I cannot label the world as overly cruel, overly angry, or overly unforgiving.
I read once that instead of numbing our pain we need to identify the source of our pain and work on the problem instead of the symptom. For example, we may have a headache because we are dehydrated, hungry, or stressed. We should work on fixing those issues rather than silencing the headache calling out for attention.
The same goes for my tears. My tears, the ‘water works’ as they’ve been called, are not crocodile tears. It’s not an act or an attempt to manipulate; these statements couldn’t be further from the truth. My tears are indicators that my soul is experiencing pain, something is hurting me. To stop my pain at it’s root I need to either freeze my heart (which I have failed to accomplish) or excuse myself from the undesirable situation until I’m emotionally ready. This I can rarely accomplish without ridicule that I cannot work through a topic, without being accused of being overly dramatic.
I am always apologizing, but rarely entitled to an apology when hurt because my over-sensitivity is what causes the pain, not the actions or words of others.
When is my sensitive nature ever right for me!?
People say my tears and sensitive nature take away from the moment. I have slogged away for a good portion of my life to hide these parts of myself. I keep my tears a secret and am ashamed of my weakness.
As an adult, I find that my sensitive nature and heart are not the problem. The problem is the lack of sensitivity in the world. It’s not the compassionate who are the problem; a lack of empathy is the problem! I will continue to embrace my sensitivity, tears and all. I do not lose hope there are more sensitive people out there. I won’t (and truthfully can’t) harden myself and lose hope because I find the world to be cruel and unloving. I am who I am. I am transparent.My anger is pain masked with anger. It’s sadness for being the recipient of a pain I would never wish to inflict on others. It’s a betrayal I never foresaw. It’s the second opportunity no one else would’ve extended, yet I’ve already extended a third to my offender while knowing how the situation will likely end. It’s fighting the urge to assume the worst in others. It’s the unconditional love I am willing to give which is rarely cashed in.
It’s the product of a broken heart living in a broken world that is trying to break the best in me.
“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a “hot mess” or having “too many issues” are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.” – Anthon St. Maarten
Thank you so much Jackelyn for agreeing to be interviewed. I am thrilled to find out so much about you and hope your struggles in life have become easier to handle through your faith. I hope you have more peaceful moments, than times which stress you out. Here is one more link to Jackelyn’s Blog: Faith Walking Hebrews 11:1
Thanks for reading! If you would like to answer some interview questions about writing/blogging/poetry and your unique perspective and process on writing, I would encourage you to reach-out to me on my Contact Page. I would love to have you featured as a biweekly interviewee. See you in two-weeks!
It is a great deal easier to write about my worst qualities then my best. Mostly, because I am aware of my faults more than my best characteristics. There are two things I do that are my worst qualities:
My, first worst quality has to do with my ability to not be able to contrentrate long or be multi-functional anymore. I am not blaming my health for it; I am saying my health intensified the issue.
I can do one thing at a time and it is often frustrating when I am working on writing up a paper or blogging about a subject, and someone starts trying to have a conversation with me. It makes me angry because I can’t multi-task, the person talking to me is interrupting my ideas and line of thought. And you know how if you are a creative person, ideas often flow out of you when they do; you have to write, paint, or do whatever you do to get your burst of creativity on paper. Meanwhile, a person is still talking to you none-stop and asking you questions and it is annoying. At the same time, I feel bad about being irritated.
Often, it is my Mom who is trying to talk to me. Before, I was ever ill I remember being so mad because I would be researching, writing up a paper, or working on a spreadsheet from work and she would pepper me with questions. But I knew she only wanted to talk to someone after a busy day at work about what went on good or bad. She wanted to talk to someone who wasn’t involved in her office life and get my opinion or view on a situation. She wanted to be able to talk about the people at her work, honestly. She wanted to ‘take a load off.’
I want to be able to talk with my Mom and others. But if I am busy or worn out after doing activities all day, I will brush people off. I will tell my Mom to stop bothering me. I go to my room and finish what I’m doing or sleep if I’m tired. I want to be chatty and happy but I feel bothered and drained by people talking at me and asking countless questions at times. So my first big flaw is I am irritable and single-minded. I am working on actively being a better listener. But it is hard at the time of day everyone gets home from work because I am worn out from the day and my medication is wearing off. I want to listen more and be involved in the conversation and not tune it out or walk away. Sometimes I able to be a better listener and sometimes I’m too irritated to pay attention.
The second flaw I have is something I try to attend to before it becomes worse. I have a tendency if I get mad or angry to let the issues I’m upset about build-up inside me. I get stressed-out when this occurs. I will sort through issues in my head trying to solve them. “Problems to solutions that don’t even exist,” I was told once. But the issue is my problems are real and bothersome. And I attempt to be a nice kind person so I don’t usually tell someone off or ask them to stop doing something unless they are especially bothering me.
An issue arises, however; if someone is repeatedly doing a hurtful action. Or if a person keeps doing a whole bunch of bothersome and hurtful actions all the time. I try to tell myself it is no big deal. I pray about it. I practice yoga and meditate sometimes. I write a lot as you know. And often writing helps a ton. Sometimes if I write something up and even if I don’t post it because it’s too personal or mean about another person, I feel better.
But every now and then someone pushes my buttons and I explode into yelling and tears. I’m a soft spoken reasonable person so when I yell and scream people are surprised and usually offended. Maybe, they didn’t realize something was a larger issue to me then they would have thought. Maybe, I am blowing the situation out of proportion. And maybe, I genuinely have the right to be so upset at someone.
I scared and hurt a friend in Vegas once when I erupted with anger. My friend T and I needed to take L aside and talk to her before the situation got worse but neither T or I did. L had been treating T and I badly the entire summer. Not to mention, she wanted to do all these things with us in Vegas but didn’t actually have the money to pay for it so T and I ended up paying for L, on many activities we did. Also, the fact L had a wonderful boyfriend who was our friend too, and L was flirting and making out with other guys made T and I angry.
I have told this part before: while we are in a club, T became so drunk she was sick and we had to leave the bar. We tried to get L to leave because we promised to stay together, all three of us. L kept telling us to wait and I finally told her T and I had to go, the bouncer was about to carry T and I out the back exit. L chose to stay with two guys she had been flirting with all night.
We finally saw L again as we got back to the hotel room. She was angry too and tried to blame it all on us and said we had abandoned her at the club. I knew T would never stand up to L because she prefers not to handle situations head on. T used to let a person treat her badly, instead of standing up to them. Luckily, she has become better at this over time.
I was so mad about L’s behaviour all summer. I exploded. L was shocked and she asked me why I would even want to be her friend if I thought so badly of her. And I told L how bad she was treating her boyfriend and if she didn’t stop, even T said she’d tell L’s boyfriend on her. L had been treating T and I badly too. L left our room with all her stuff. She wouldn’t talk to us the rest of the trip.
L made up with T because she hadn’t yelled at her, even though L had been a bad friend to T, ditching her for guys countless time. After many emails and some time L and I were friends again three months later. I finally apologized because she wouldn’t. And funny enough, she became closer to her boyfriend. L saw how valuable he was, and ended up becoming engaged, and marrying him.
Even though, L was misbehaving, she didn’t deserve to be yelled at so loudly and L didn’t deserve to have everything T and I were mad at her for dumped on her. People are imperfect and you have to pick and choose your battles. Some things about your friends you have to accept; just as you have flaws so do they. The best friends love you after you’ve shown them your worst side and you love them after you have seen the worst of them. Ultimately, it comes down to choosing your friend or choosing to be right.
I am careful now because of this situation in Las Vegas when I was twenty-three, to not let my anger build up. If I have a big problem with someone or something they are doing, I am honest. And I try hard to tell people how I’m feeling in such a way that isn’t accusatory but rather focuses on how something is hurting me or causing me to feel a certain way. The truth is people do not always realize they are being hurtful. Often, you need to tell the person who is damaging you to stop treating you a certain way and they will listen and cease.
Not letting issues build up helps. I also have learned to let some issues go. I try to get someone else’s view on the situation, Google the general problem, or pray about it. For many situations I find looking at them from a different perspective is helpful. If you see the situation differently it won’t become a problem that will build up. I have also learned that you have to say goodbye to some people or take your issues with a person to a higher authority. But since we are adults, there is usually no higher authority, unless it is a work issue or an issue of crime.
So for instance, I had trouble with a girl who was editor of a magazine I volunteered to write for. She didn’t understand why I was upset about her editing my articles to sound entirely as if they were in her voice. Some of her other editors were being taught to do the same. I didn’t find out until later when I took actual editing courses, what this editor was doing was incorrect and rude. You always try to preserve the voice of the writer and the way the article is written as much as you can. I was confident enough in my writing skills, my BA in English Literature, and the couple hundred articles I had written for her magazine previously. My ideas and my writing style wasn’t bad but my grammar and spelling needed work.
The editor wrote me a letter saying I had to work on my grammar and spelling, which was true. And she had tried to let me improve but I wasn’t, so she increasingly, cut down my article writing until I was only writing one article a week; before I was writing nothing. I exploded to her letter with a nasty email. She thought this was exactly how I was going to react. She probably had the same issue come up with past contributers to her magazine. I ended up apologizing to her for being ageist because she was more than five years younger then me with no degree, so I didn’t trust her writing or editing experience. Honestly, I had good instincts with her, despite my hasty email.
In truth, she was being manipulative and I finally recognized, she didn’t like my writing style. She was looking for people who wrote how she wrote on her personal blog and in her articles. And she didn’t want me to write for her magazine even when she needed writers. I was offended but I knew I didn’t want to be a writer like her or for her. She said the magazine was expanding and the writers had to expand or become better with it. I agreed but still had problems with how she chose to write and what she focused on in her magazines.
I didn’t like how she regularly wrote about cheating with men and women and ruining relationships. Although I support LBGT people, I was offended that she rarily had articles pertaining to man and woman couples, boyfriends and girlfriends. I found this editor to be selfish, micro -managing, and immature despite her attempts to appear professional.
She didn’t want my writing but wanted to use my blogs to tweet and post. She wanted to stay friends but didn’t want me to write for her because I was offended by her note. I had every right to be.
So, I let her go. I stopped supporting the magazine by buying the quarterly issues. I wouldn’t let her use any of my writing for her magazine. I unfriended her on Facebook and Twitter. I stopped taking her text messages and didn’t give her my new number when it changed. I unsubscribed from her blog and anything related to the magazine. It was a great decision.
I don’t know where she is at now. I hope she is well and has worked out some of her life and issues with the magazine such as finding writers. It was mean of me to write her a nasty reply to her email. She didn’t deserve it, even if she lacked a degree or experience. But I couldn’t be friends with her after how she talked about my writing, how she treated my skills as if suddenly they were useless. I knew from professors, writing articles in the Edmonton Journal in University, and even strangers my writing was good. It didn’t mean my writing didn’t require improvement (it still does and will forever) but I didn’t like how she belittled my skills and my person. I let her go.
So, I have learned some tricks to working off stress and dealing with problems before they become so large I explode in tears and screaming. Every once in a long awhile, I can’t help it but I am getting better. We cannot always overcome our flaws but we can try to manage them.
I have often wondered if in these modern times, we are becoming to busy for our own good. By that I mean, do we actually need to be involved in activities and busy most moments of our lives. Or, is it a better idea for us to take some sit back and just spend some time thinking or just doing nothing. Have we become so busy and involved that we’re forgetting to be meaningfully social and on a hands on level helping others. Or, is it okay to not know your neighbours, the person your sitting next to at work, and take a hands off approach in aiding others such as those in need in our own families even. Have we forgotten ourselves along the way through life’s hustle and bustle, have we forgotten to be human?
When I was a little girl my parents had a 2 activity limit for my brothers and I. I think those two activities were piano and youth group. I remember being forever resentful that I had to be in piano and couldn’t play soccer or some other sport. But sports were expensive and my parents didn’t want to be involved in Bingo night every weekend to raise money for sports.
Even though I wanted to play sports, I thought it was a great thing later on that my parents allowed us time just to play and be kids. Sometimes we were bored but being bored meant that we learned how to keep ourselves occupied.
In short, our minds became a playground of activity (not just the actual playground) and I wonder now today if enough kids have the opportunity to just play and learn to occupy their time when they have nothing to do. Isn’t it important to learn to think for yourself, to makeup games and stories, and most of all, to be creative. Creativity isn’t made by having every moment of your life planned out for you. Creativity is made by having the time to just think and be inspired.
I also think we learn to help others on a more personal level when we take the time to be less selfish. Suddenly, it’s not all about what I want to do with my time but how can I use my time to be social and work with/aid others.
It is very easy to throw money at a problem and sometimes that is the best solution but as much as we need money for education and helping children, isn’t it more hands on and personal to tutor kids or help them learn or work on their reading skills.
Doing something like this (as an example) does a couple of different things: it allows a child to work on their reading and allows them to develop a relationship with you socially, maybe as a parent or a community member. In turn, this may encourage kids to want to help other children at present and later on in their lives in an impactful way. It teaches kids not be selfish and that helps the community as a whole.
Hopefully, it also teaches social skills so that children learn to talk about what their reading and share that with their mentor. Additionally, it is impactful on the mentor who gains benefits from teaching a child.
Lastly, taking time for ourselves in a busy world can help us avoid stress and some mental illness. Last night on the news I heard that 60 some percent of people suffer from mental illness, exponentially more, then the amount of people who suffered from heart disease or diabetes. But I imagine a lessening of stress might have a huge impact on these 2 other physical illnesses.
But most people don’t understand that mental illness can be as physical as heart disease or stroke. I experience this myself. Depression and anxiety for instance, can make a person extremely tired, cause them to not want to get out of bed they are so tired, and make a person physically fatigued. Not to mention the fact that depression happens in the brain, an organ, makes it as physical as cancer.
Moreover, we don’t take good care of ourselves when we are to busy not to think about ourselves. If we don’t eat healthy, get proper exercise, get proper rest, this effects our entire lives.
This is why I wonder why everyone wants to be so busy, are they afraid they might miss out on something? A lot of the time, this is probably not the truth. Every one thinks they’re missing out something but that is entirely relevant to any number of aspects such as your mood, the success of the event, and the people who attend.
And it seems to me anyways, that it would be a greater use of our time if we had time to think, help others, and ourselves. The consequences of not having this time is hurtful to everyone in society, hurtful to humanity.
Things have not been alright lately if I am honest with you and you probably got that from my last post. But I am always surprised how life can come up behind you and surprise you and just be better than you ever thought possible in your lowest times. My revelation has not come from other people, it has not come from some huge event happening in my life, and it has not come from a place I expected to come from. Instead, my epiphany, has come from the little things in life and moving from day to day experiencing life. I have just had these tiny pinpoints in time where I have felt relieved and not tense and for a moment at peace.
First, I think having a pet you can cuddle up into helps anybody. Having your dog lay beside you or on top of you (as pets will do) can cause the strangest sense of peace in your body. My mom swears she will never get another dog after our family pet Nikki but I contest, especially if I am still living at home (and indebt as I am I just may!). She may be hairy and go crazy whenever someone goes by our house but one pet down her coat and one lick on my cheek from her and I am okay – the stress of the moment is released and I go back to my work feeling completely comfy and not so alone because of the fury little thing sitting next to me.
One of the other little things I appreciate is prayer. Maybe atheists think I am talking to no one when I pray to God but when I pray to him “God, I am overwhelmed please take my problems and my life and be in control,” it feels to me as if the biggest weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders. I can breath easy and relax. I believe that it is God helping me get through a tough situation but you also might consider the fact that just saying aloud that you can’t handle things and that you need help can be a huge relief on you. The Truth of everything becomes something you do not have to carry inside anymore, it is out in the open even if you never even really never told anybody.
Another thing that has lead to some stress relief is well relief from the stress of shopping. I have learnt something about myself that like a druggie in some respects, I am always looking for that high in life for those good time feelings. I do not do drugs and occasionally I have a night of some fun drinking with some friends but what I am referring to is those natural pleasurable endorphins that you may get from heart pumping exercise, sudden and short-term bursts of stress, sex, and for me shopping too. Everybody has their thing; but I am just so happy to be free of shopping. Not to feel like I have to buy something every time I see something I like, not to be ruled by those feelings. It is actually nice to look at stuff on the internet and say ” No Thank You” in my head, ” I don’t need that right now, I have lots.” It is a release from pressure to keep up with the latest fashion trends and go back to who I am, just the girl who likes to dress classy and be a little trendy. You know chic but on a budget. I do not have to be embarrassed by all the clothes or shoes I am buying and a lot of what I have I can just wear again. Now the time may come when I curse this, and say well I really need this but cannot afford it. But just like anything incentive in shopping is key. When you have the incentive to save up for something it holds a whole lot more meaning for you and you wear that item more and care about that item more. Plus, you waste less money on things that really are not right for you and just end up in the Goodwill bag anyways. As my mom says, clothes go away, fashion is always changing, and I have found sight of a woman who has control over her shopping habits and can say no. Now I think I will have to find my endorphins somewhere else, I am not sure yet but I have some ideas! Then again maybe we only need endorphins once and awhile and for the rest of the time their is chocolate and dogs.
Another of the little happy everyday things that make me happy our my friends. I have been so stressed out by this CAD course I have been taking and the impending work I would have had to do to get into my Master’s program, I have not really had the time to see them a whole lot. So I am excited to be having a friend over for a wine night, and having a birthday at the Druid with some friends, and spending time with my boyfriend who is just coming up to Edmonton as we speak. When I get all stressed out and madly text or call my boyfriend who works up North, he always tells me ” Everything is going to be alright.” And those words are the best words in the world, cause immediately I feel safe and secure and I know exactly why I am dating him and not the other plethora of men who are out there right now.
Being thankful for the little things in life, going back to the basics can ease stress tremendously. Life is never going to be stress free and there will be times when that stress is worse than other’s but if you think of the small and good things in your life and focus on them I think you will feel much better and be able to handle your stress that much more.
What can I say about these last two weeks, well it has been busy but relaxing at the same time. Call it a working vacation. I had two weeks off before Interior Design courses began for spring semester and now that time is almost at an end. In the past I was a person who had to just go, go, go. I liked it that way but that kind of intensity made me very sick for a time. I have found that sometimes that when we as people give life everything, every little peace of ourselves, cracks begin to show in our exterior. An exhausted, disturbed, and drained alter-ego begins to show through.
Once in university, I found myself going to work in a great mood during exam time only to find myself breaking down in front of my boss at work telling her she was expecting too much of me and putting too much pressure on me. That was my exhausted alter-ego peeking through. For awhile I was crying and suddenly, I was fine able to handle anything and everything again. I had a very understanding boss; she is a good friend to this day. She gave me an important insight into myself that I have to stop putting so much pressure on myself and that I have to say something before I explode. You see I can be quite an introvert and that can be dangerous. Turns out not only was my boss expecting more out of me, her 5th year Bookstore veteran, and not only did I have finals, but I was dealing with my baba being very ill, trying to pick things up at home while my mom dealt with her. I was trying to be an adult but I was also really stressing myself out in the process and no amount of weekend partying was freeing me from this stress.
These days I have learnt a thing or two. After, having my own depressive episode, hearing about everyone else’s different breakdowns subsequently, and then dealing with the reality of my own life (only being able to physically concentrate for around half a day, and not physically work my body for longer than my mind can handle) I now know that whoever you are, whatever you work at, you need to take it easy; balance is essential in life. Even if you do not think so, your body, your mind, your spirituality, does.
Are so many people afraid just to take a few days or even a part of the day for their selves? It can be as simple as getting a massage or your nails done, taking off for the weekend to just hang in Banff, staying at home and reading all day, doing 15 minutes of Yoga, going for a walk or run, taking a class so you can get away from the kids, taking 5 mommy minutes to breathe, or actually taking your break at work. What I have realized is that we often have these huge expectations for ourselves. Now, it is okay to aim high in life but you have to be reasonable. You have to know your body, your mind, your soul enough to know what you can handle.
So I am left thinking of the quote: “Know thyself.” Perhaps, it is most important to tune out the noise of life and look inside yourself, find what you can achieve, what you can handle out of life. And when your in a place that you cannot handle life in, ask for help. Do not let the cracks of your depressed alter-ego show through. Acknowledge those feelings, find a solution.But do not leave yourself in a place where you mentally, physically, or spiritually cannot live in your life anymore and become compromised – stressed out or ill. You are the best help to everyone else in your life if you take care of yourself to some degree first. This is what I have learned from my own experiences and I hope they help you to think about your life and find some ‘you’ time to relax and breath.