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Uncomfortable, For Now.

**I posted this blog on March 23rd, and accidentally deleted it while editing** Repost**
March 23rd, 2018

I hate where I live.

Yesterday, as a group, we were told that we would be on lockdown. For three weeks. Three weeks trapped in the house, being punished for the actions of the other women I live with.
I feel angry, so incredibly angry.
And I want to scream and be juvenile; I feel the strong urge to act out, show them how stupid and senseless this is.
But I am trying so very hard to resist this urge.
I am reminding myself that what is most important, is my daughter, and her wellbeing. I am going to remind myself that she will not realize how unhappy I am unless I show her. But I am struggling.

I live in a shelter, and I am constantly being judged based on the assumption that I have wound up here by some wrong-doing I have committed.
In reality, I came here as a result of domestic violence.

I lived in my own apartment, paid my bills, and had a savings account.
And then my relationship changed. Or maybe it didn’t really change, maybe I just woke up one day.
My awakening happened so gradually that I rejected each sign that I should leave.
And when I tried to look at it, it was only for a moment.

Slowly, the savings account disappeared. My belongings were taken or broken. I was convinced that my friends and family were horrible and no good for me. And I was no good, too.
I was promiscuous, crazy, a druggie. I flirted with everyone I spoke with. Said too much, was so embarrassing and stupid. Dramatic. I was so lucky to be loved by him and would never be loved by anyone else. I was so hard to love, I wasn’t too likeable. He was special for putting up with me.
And sometimes, I was a good mom, I tried my best, even though I was usually still bad. I was good company sometimes.
I believed it all, and never questioned it.

He handed me a mask, and I taped it to my face without any thought. At some point, I forgot it was just a mask.
Then I realized I was unhappy, and as I realized one thing was off, it all suddenly came slamming down in front of me.

And then something scary happened.
It wasn’t the first time.
But it pushed me out, I had been looking for a good excuse to leave anyways, but this was a reason to run.
And so I did.

I looked back a lot at first.
And now, months later, I feel happy. I’m feel proud. I am beginning to feel like myself again.
I still see him, talk to him, I still think of him as my friend, sometimes I think maybe I love him. Sometimes I hate him, so much. But things feel weirdly normal, and I am ok.

I cannot wait to leave this place, this dark angry place. This shelter is hard to be at.
But I remember that nothing lasts forever.

I remember staying up late at night, crying, laying next my sleeping baby because I felt so trapped. And I wanted to escape, and get out but I didn’t know how and I didn’t even know if I had the right to feel that way. And then, slowly but suddenly, I did. I set my intention, and I left. And I know that nothing lasts forever, and that is especially true for things that are painful and uncomfortable.

Life is not supposed to be good always.

And it is not bad always, and it won’t be. One day soon, Willow and I will wake up in our own bed, in our own home and we will be happy and comfortable and at peace.

(My beautiful Bear a few months ago around Christmas)

What boosts your self-esteem?

Hi everybody! February is ‘Boost Your Self-Esteem’ Month! But if you have our calendar, then you already know that! With this month beginning to come to a close, I want to know, what do you guys do that makes you love yourself?

I think we can all list many things about ourselves we wish were different, but how many times a day do we stop and recognize how wonderful we are? Do you ever speak kindly to yourself, simply because you are an amazing person and deserve it? How often do you do something special for yourself, ‘just because’?

So, with that being said, I want to know:
1. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your self-esteem? How high do you wish it were?
2. What are your three favorite things about yourself?
3. What are two things you do for yourself everyday?
4. What is one thing you need to do for yourself (either daily, occasionally, or just once!)?

I’ll go first:
1. I’d say my self esteem is a 6.5. I would like to get to a solid 7, then we’ll go from there!
2. I like that I’m different- I dress differently, like a lot of different music, and I draw unique things! (This used to be something I was very self-conscious about); I like that I have a lot of empathy for others; I think I’m funny! Definitely not all the time- and not always out loud haha, but I like my sense of humor and I say some pretty hilarious things in my head… so that counts!
3.I feed myself and don’t feel guilty about it! Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder before will understand this is a big one! And I try to forgive myself for things and speak kindly to myself throughout the day.
4. I need to do more nice “self-care” things. Its hard to prioritize a hair cut or manicure with a young child (and I’ve never been the ‘nails done all the time’ type of girl), but it’s so important to treat yourself to things that feel good!!

My Attitude and My Outlook

I am tired of the ever-mind-numbing question, 

“Are you okay?”

I’m even more tired of meekly replying,

“Is anyone?”

Most days I have to put on my “socialization doesn’t terrify me” costume, and pretend that the world and its inhabitants don’t horrify me.
The days are growing darker earlier, and if that isn’t a metaphor for my depression, I don’t know what is.

I read a post this morning that said, “There is a difference between being happy and being distracted from sadness.”
So, so often I find myself falling victim to this truth. For a few hours a day, I’m able to distract myself from the depression that sleeps on my left shoulder. Sometimes it’s by reading, or dancing, or even working. But for the other (approx.) 19.75 hours, my brain is thinking of all the reasons that I am sad. Or anxious. Or nervous. Or curious. Or obsessive. Or irritated. Or angry.
For no particular reason.

19.75 hours of the day, my depression sleeping on my left shoulder battles the anxiety that is screaming at the top of her lungs on my right shoulder.
They fight.
My brain is a war zone. It is a battlefield.
I am caught in the middle of their aggressive altercations.
I am the collateral damage that is left behind after my mental illnesses have exhausted themselves by arguing.

I wish I was able to see myself as the rest of the world sees me. I have an unbelievable support system that make me the person I am. The encouragement I receive from my Earth Angels is the closest thing to magic I will ever have. I am able to wrap myself in their love and kindness, and most of the time, that is enough protection from the Dementors that linger around me.

I have not always had this overwhelming support. I didn’t always have a place where I felt I could fit in. I battled many, many years seemingly alone. I spent many, many days dreaming of a better world, a world that accepted everyone for exactly who they were- a world that embraced the differences that make us so beautiful.

But I am living proof that help is given to those who ask for it. So today, know that you are worth getting help. Know that you are worth being happy. You are worth the whole world.
And if you know someone who maybe, like me, needs people to lean on- reach out to them. Let them know you are thinking about them. Or tell them a joke you heard. Or send them a picture of a cat. That will always work for me.

What is Beauty?

Check out this video:

Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and shades. Beauty comes from within. Beauty is the compassion you have within for yourself and for the people around you.

10 Songs to UP your self-esteem and empower self-love

1. Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

2. Fly by Nicki Minaj featuring Rihanna

3. Born this Way by Lady Gaga

4. Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

5 Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys

6. Flawless by Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj

7. Run the World (Girls) by Beyoncé

8. Superwoman by Alicia Keys

9. Secrets by Mary Lambert

10. “You Learn” by Alanis Morissette

Being Authentic

What does it mean to “be authentic”? How do you know if you are being authentic? Is this a quality that you look for in others? Do you think it takes time to learn how to be your “authentic self”?

Body Image!!!!

How do you guys feel about the way that females are portrayed in the media today? I believe it has improved a great deal over the past decade or so with awareness campaigns, more awareness about photoshopping, and more real-looking models. This TED Talk sheds light on a lot of issues related to the modeling industry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM4Xe6Dlp0Y

What can we do as girls do improve our self-esteem?? If being a model is the top .001% of the world, then what do the rest of us do who feel the pressure to live up to that standard? How do you all get comfortable in your skin?? HELP!