Wednesday, November 29, 2017

OOTD: What I'm Not Thankful For

I am thankful for so much. I am also pointedly not thankful for some of the things in my life.
Whenever I'm confronted with something inconvenient or difficult for me, my initial reaction is to be bitter and/or feel sorry for myself. Unfortunately, neither of those emotions help me or the situation.
It's important to acknowledge and validate my initial emotional reactions, but I don't need to give them any more power than they deserve. This is easier said than done, but it's true nonetheless.

My parents always told me that if I don't like something, instead of moping or whining about it, I should change it. Problem-solving is a useful tool to use when confronted with something that makes life more difficult, but it's not the only tool. Accepting that which you do not like is important both in situations when you can make a change and when you can't. 

When you can change what you don't like in your life, acceptance is the first step to acknowledging something is off in your life. From there, you can truly address the problem head-on.
When you can't change what you don't like in your life or the changes you can make are slow to take effect, acceptance can help you go through life without being bogged down.

When my therapist first started talking to me about acceptance, I had a hard time accepting (lol) this as a method for dealing with things that make my life harder. For one, it sounds like it means you have to invalidate your emotions. For another, it sounds a lot like giving up.
True acceptance is neither invalidating nor giving up. Society often preaches ignorance disguised as acceptance, but that is not true acceptance. True acceptance does not mean ignoring your feelings or the problem. It means openly acknowledging and validating your feelings, being honest about the problem, and accepting the reality of the situation. From there, you can start to live without being weighed down by the misery of a problem you can neither solve nor, in your mind, live with.

This was supposed to be my Thanksgiving week post. The Monday before Thanksgiving, however, I was put into a really difficult situation with the lease on my apartment. What it boiled down to was that I would need to move out the week of December 1st, a full month before I was expecting to have to move out. I'd been leisurely looking for roommates and apartments under the impression that I had until the end of my lease at the end of December, but I hadn't even so much as arranged to meet anyone or see anything yet. I felt scared, angry, and hopeless at the prospect of having to move out in 12 days without anywhere to go.

Luckily, this was a difficult situation I could change. I could (and did) look at a number of apartments before the real estate offices closed for Thanksgiving. I could (and did) arrange a fall-back option if I couldn't find a place to sign a lease. But before I could do any of those things, I had to stop wasting all my energy by thinking about how I didn't want to leave my apartment, how I wasn't ready to look for places, that I was scared I wouldn't have enough time to find the right place or the right roommates, that I was angry I had to do any of this in the first place. I had to accept the situation I was in so I had the energy and mindset to be able to find myself (and Luxe) a place to live. Even though I didn't want to, I had to move, and I had to move soon. Accepting that made it so much easier for me to look for a place in a time crunch and start packing up to move with so little time.

Acceptance is a tool I'm still working on. However, it's something I feel content to put the energy into, because it's a tool that really helps me so often.

This belt was provided by Top Tier Style. If you would like to purchase your own, use the coupon code BLOG15 for 15% OFF everything on their store!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

OOTD: 23

Photography by Cassidy Hopkins

I celebrated my 23rd birthday last Friday. Another year of my life marked, another sappy post contemplating the meaning of life and my time on Earth.
*Trigger warning: suicide, depression, and themes of mental illness*

This was the year I realized how long life is. A strange side effect of being suicidal, for however long, is that you develop tunnel vision when it comes to thinking about the future. Except there's no light at the end of the tunnel, so you're left unable to see, fumbling around in the darkness, only able to perceive the immediate steps you're about to take.

When you unwillingly spend your time and energy desperately wishing for your life to be over, it becomes impossible to truly conceptualize your future. You may not realize it, but you don't think you have a future. Your brain simply can't comprehend how to think about something so impossible.

I've always thought I'm good at planning for my future. So far, I've completed some pretty significant parts of my life plan: I've studied in Spain, attended a private university, and moved to New York. Without my realizing it, though, I'd slipped into accepting that my life would be cut short.

I'd think a couple months, maybe a couple years into the future, but the best I could do was have kinda fuzzy ideas about what my long-term future looked like (I like to write, right? People retire, right? Dogs?).

In all honesty, the experience of being unable to think into the future isn't uncommon in people my age. In the process of developing a sense of self, many teens and young adults unconsciously come to perceive themselves as invincible. They simply cannot conceptualize their future, because their concept of self has not evolved past the present.

My fuzzy concept of the future was a combo of both depressive symptoms and age. Since being hospitalized 2 years ago and subsequently attending intensive therapy, I've turned the corner and committed myself to not acting on my suicidal urges. That, as well as simply growing older, has left me struck with just how LONG life is. 

I could own several dogs! I could live in so many cities! I could have several different career paths! I could go back to school! I could reach a point in my life where I want to work out! Suddenly, 23 doesn't feel so weighty. 

I've also started taking care of myself little by little. I've been adding veggies to my diet and cutting back on meals consisting simply of candy. I've started saving money not because that's what my parents have always told me to do, but because I'd like to have money to travel and to retire. I go to the doctor for preventative care instead of just to take care of immediate ailments.

Without even realizing it, I've committed to sticking around. I didn't even realize I wasn't committed until my treatment regimen pushed me to truly conceptualize a future. I'm another year older, and truly thrilled to live out my future and continue to work towards it.

On the note of living out my future, I'm already planning all the ways I can wear this floral romper soon — it's definitely coming down to Arizona with me next month. The piece was provided by Top Tier Style. If you would like to purchase your own, use the coupon code BLOG15 for 15% OFF everything on their store!