Self-Appreciation Saturdays

Self-Appreciation Saturday. (7/22/17)

 

There will be toxic people at some point in your life. No matter where you go, you will encounter someone who is toxic to your well-being. These people are disguised as anyone: friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, relatives, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives; you name it. Sadly, we can’t avoid these people in our lives.

I was lucky enough to cut the people who were toxic in my life when the relationship between me and the toxic people were just friends. Toxic friends damage you, but when you have the strength to put yourself first, letting go of friends is easy; you stop talking to them. But there are situations where the toxic people live in your own home, or when you’re related to them, or when you’re married or in a relationship. These type of toxic people are a different type of toxic; you care for them and worry about them even when it hurts you and your well-being. Dysfunctionality in romantic and family relationships are sadly one of the man norms in our society, but not all are toxic. But when these relationships turn toxic and stay toxic for periods of time, it could really do damage on a person’s emotions and mentality.

The sad reality about being in this situation is that there aren’t that many options on the table when it comes to taking care of yourself. No matter what route you go down on, you have some potential loss. Whether you decide to do when dealing with toxic people that you can’t necessarily escape, make sure that you don’t make moves with an angry mindset. In other words, make sure what you’re doing is rational and beneficial; don’t do anything just to do anything.

  • If you’re dealing with a toxic person in the household, make sure to find a safe space. It’s not the easiest trying to escape from a household member while they’re under the same roof as you. If you’re finding it difficult to get away from the person while they’re being “toxic”, go to an area where you can close a door. Sometimes, that barrier of a door eases your mind a bit; knowing that person is on the other side of the door. If you still hear them being toxic and whatnot, put some headphones on and try to distract yourself. Finding your safe space to go to will help you not get too indulged in the toxic person’s activities and actions.
  • Stop making excuses for the toxic person. When someone around you is toxic to you, you begin to make excuses for their behavior; some that you would usually be appalled of if it were anyone else. Toxic people make you believe and think that they are the victim in the situation. “Oh, they’re going through a rough tie in their life.” “They aren’t thinking straight.” “They don’t know what they are talking about.” Simple excuses like that will make the toxic person have power over you and instead of trying to be there for them, you’re hurting yourself. The true reality is that if a person is being toxic and they don’t do anything to help stop the toxicity spreading in their surroundings, they most likely don’t care about how you feel or what they do to you. What more do you need to stop making excuses for their behavior?
  • It’s not your fault that that toxic person is toxic. Toxic people love to blame other people for their behavior and constantly say that other people are the reason why they are the way they are. You have to realize that no one is responsible for your own actions; you make the decisions for your own life. Toxic people don’t see it like that. It’s easy to get sucked in and ask yourself “why are they acting like this towards me? What did I do? You have to remember that people live their own lives and go through their own shit, and sometimes it’s easy for them to blame their actions on other people. It’s never a person’s fault when someone is toxic.
  • Love from afar. If you’re dealing with a toxic family relative or someone in that nature, it’s hard to stop caring or loving them because of their toxicity. Although that person may be family, toxic people are a downer and they affect your decisions and outlook on life. Sometimes, your only option is to love someone from a distance. Sometimes, you have to distance your emotions from someone for the sake of your own mentality and perspective on life. There’s nothing more to it.
  • Move forward with your life. When a toxic person is in your life, sometimes it could feel like you’re stuck in one spot without any guidance or direction out of it. When you don’t have that control over your life, you feel like you have no control of the other things in your life. When dealing with toxic people, your best bet is to just completely cut them out of your life. If you’re in a situation where you can’t cut a toxic person out of your life, following any of the points above will help you move forward with your life. Take care of yourself, be your own support group. DO things that make you happy and feel like you’re progressing forward.

No matter who it is, dealing with toxic people is possibly one of the hardest things to go to, especially if it’s family or close relatives. No matter what, your life matters and your happiness should always be your number one priority. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t treat the ones around you poorly; you know how it feels to be on the other end of that line.

 

-Liz (:

Throwback Thursdays

#TBT: All About 2012.

This was me. I sometimes like to call her “dumbass Liz” because, well, you’ll find out.

I’ve experienced 23 years of life, but I can only remember 19 of those years because who can actually remember anything significant before they are four years old? I’ve had my ups and downs every year, but 2012 was a different type of year for me. Five years later and I can say this was the absolute worst year I’ve ever lived. That’s not an exaggeration.

Lemme explain.

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This was me on my 18th birthday. My birthday was on a school day, and for the most part, I had many people show love to me and wish me a Happy Birthday. After school, I went out with a person who was really into and infatuated with, and we both had an amazing time out and about around the city.

A week later, everything turned upside down.

I am not going to sit here and tell you what happened (it’s all on my Tuesday post on the Importance of Mental Health) but I am also not going to sit here and play myself as a victim, because I wasn’t. I will take responsibility for the things I’ve done, for the people I hurt, and for the lies that I’ve told. I wasn’t the greatest person in the world. Not only was I starting to become depressed, I started to make drastic changes without any second thought about it.

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In March, I made this huge transition to being completely blonde for the first time. The process of stripping out my brunette hair color to this pale yellow/platinum blonde literally took my sister 6 hours to do. I came to school that next morning and had everyone turntheir heads towards me. I can’t lie, becoming blonde was something I enjoyed doing because it was something different and something new, and nobody in my grade had the guts to even put bleach in their natural hair. I started to stand out in the crowd, and shortly after, I started to be in more social settings. 

Despite still feeling the aftermath of what happened earlier that year, 2012 was my senior year of high-school which meant “Senior Spirit Week” was a thing:

Since I went to a performing arts high school, I was also in the vocal program; a member of the highest ranking choir within the entire program: Performing Choir. 

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It was my third and final year being a part of such an amazing choir with amazingly talented people. (Fun fact: Ariel Tejada, aka Kylie Jenner’s Make-Up Artist, was a member of Performing Choir as well.) Performing Choir traveled around these different places and performed at different locations over the years. In 2012 specifically, we performed at Carnegie Hall, Temple University in Philadelphia, The Statue of Liberty on ABC’s Good Morning America , and in Connecticut to some place that I totally don’t remember where exactly. In the midst of my depression, Performing Choir was really the only reason why I got up in the mornings to go to school. It was my way of focusing on something that wasn’t my thoughts and problems.

Urban Word’s Brooklyn Open Mic Night @ Brooklyn Public Library.

In an attempt to cure my depression, I took on a new hobby, which was spoken poetry. I became apart of an organization called Urban Word NYC, a place where teens were allowed to go to workshops and express themselves through writing and sharing poetry. For the most part, my craft in poetry was improving a lot and I finally felt like I belonged. To this day, I feel like some of my greatest poetry came out of this era, and sadly it’s one of the reasons why I don’t write poetry anymore. It reminds me of the dark times in my life.

But like everything else, my depression and my need for someone to heal me took over. I made mistakes that hurt the very few people who still cared about me after all that happened, and I decided to leave. I haven’t been back since… I want to say October 2012.

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Prom 2012. (PC: DSP)
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Graduation 2012.

High-school finally ended, which meant I was finally going to part ways with old and toxic friendships and head into college with a fresh start.

Boy was I wrong.

My first semester in college was horrific. This new stress piled on top of lingering old stress and issues made it hard for me to focus in school. Although I passed my classes at the end, it didn’t mean it felt good barely passing. By the end of 2012, I wanted to drop out. By the end of 2012, I let go of the little hope I had for myself and simply began to just be there in dead space. I wasn’t me anymore and by this time, I was still holding on to toxic and abusive friendships, and all the help people try providing for me began to vanish.

Central Park. (PC: Leona Lee)

The majority of my 2012 was me trying to simply fit into groups and places that I normally wouldn’t fit into and fake a smile along the way. 2012 was simply the start of my depression, and the start of one of the hardest process to live through. You see a smile on my face here, but this is what depression disguises itself to be.  I look back at this and remember what I was going through this time of my life. I was on the verge of academic probation, the person who I was still infatuated with began to treat me like shit, my friendship with Obie was on its last legs, and I was still living in someone else’s shadow for my own protection.

I sometimes miss this girl because of how thinner, creative, and talented she was. But I know I don’t really miss her. I don’t miss spending my senior year of high-school crying on the bathroom floor when everyone else was out celebrating. I don’t miss seeing Obie, the person I was always secretly in love with, being with another woman and slow-dancing with her at Prom. I don’t miss the constant paranoia for my life. I don’t miss seeing myself as this awful person. I don’t miss the suicidal thoughts and self-harming sessions.

2012 was the absolute worst year I’ve experienced, but it’s the year that made me who I am today. Because of that, I am forever grateful to had experienced it that year.

-Liz (: