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 (:

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

Self-Appreciation Saturday. (2/18/17)

Relationships are tricky. They are either beautiful and romantic, or harsh and rough when you’re in them. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, we can all agree as soon as we started to notice the opposite sex and be attracted to them, our want or desire is to be in relationships. I mean, I had friends be in relationships just so they can be in a relationship… but that’s a different story.

Relationships is a form of commitment that take a lot of time and effort to keep healthy and stable from both parties involved. Because of that, people tend to not take care of themselves while putting their time and energy into another person.

Personally, I had to find a healthy balance between taking care of myself and being available for my partner. Being involved with someone means you’re putting in yourself, time, and dedication in someone else.

And let’s be honest, it could be draining for oneself.

Relationships deal with one of the strongest emotions we feel as people: love. If you’ve ever been in love before, you know how crazy it makes you feel, think, and behave. I guess this is where I talk about the different stages of thought in a relationship and all that and how to prevent the crazy that comes along with them.

The type of relationship you are in:

It’s 2017. Just how sexual orientation is more diverse (in a sense where you can identify as being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, queer, asexual, etc.) Relationships are also being changed in terms of identification. There’s monogamous relationships, polygamous relationships, exclusive relationships, and open relationships labeled/unlabeled relationships, and probably even more than that. What all that matters is that you and your partner know what you guys are and compromise the type of relationship you want to identify with. Remember, many people aren’t receptive of the fact that relationships are beginning to be more flexible and solely seeing anything that’s not a monogamous relationship as “not a real relationship.” Tell them to go fuck themselves. Personally for me, I’ve dealt with people, especially people who didn’t know anything about the type of relationship I have with my partner, telling me that just because my relationship isn’t officially labeled, it wasn’t real.

But what defines a real relationship? Love and affection? Dates? Support? Mutual feelings? Consistent sex with just one person? Trust and Loyalty? What if me and my partner do all of the things above? Is it still not real because it’s not labeled? You and your partner should know where you two stand and respect each other’s wishes. Knowing what you guys are is essential; you’re not left in the dark thinking that you’re one thing but it’s really something else. Just talk to your partner. Ask them what’s the deal and talk to them. It’s the only thing that’s going to give you your answer.

Toxic Relationships vs. Healthy Relationships:

Love is definitely blind, whether they are healthy or toxic for you. You may not know the differences between the two once you’re head over heels for your partner, but your intuition always knows. If something in your relationship doesn’t feel right (maybe you can’t communicate to them without feeling guilt, or see them acting weird towards you without no explanation, or whatever the case may be), then something is not right. Healthy relationships don’t have the constant doubts and worries that toxic ones do, obviously. When healthy relationships do have concerns or doubts, they are communicated with each other to work things out. Healthy relationships allow you to still be yourself, while toxic ones make you feel like you’re restricted and robotic, only doing things to please your partner or make them happy instead of making yourself happy. If you’re able to distinguish what kind of relationship you are experiencing with your partner, then you can take the next step into either bettering your relationship, or bettering yourself. In my personal experience with a toxic-relationship-esque in my past, I know just how difficult it is to let your mind take the shots without your heart influencing any say of your decision. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if the person you’re involved with helping you become a better person, or preventing you from doing so?

Self-Care while in a Relationship:

Even if you are in a relationship, it doesn’t mean that you stop taking care of yourself (and I don’t mean in a physical sense like weight or looks). Like I said previously, relationships are a commitment that involves you giving at least half of your time, love, and dedication to someone else, which can open up a lot of vulnerability. In other words, relationships can show you just how flawed you may be. I know that time and time again, I can see that the flaw of not being able to cook being immensely more important with the person I am with rather than it just being myself. By myself, I find that cooking for myself isn’t high on my list of things to do because I still live at home and eat whatever my mom decides to make. When I’m with my partner, I know that my lack of cooking skills makes me feel bad because he cooks for me, and I never could cook for him. It’ll change though. Someday. But some other people discover even bigger flaws in themselves; I know my baddest flaw I used to have was that I needed validation from my partner 24/7 or else I wouldn’t feel good about myself. Just because you are now in a relationship, doesn’t mean that other person completely owns you now. You still have to take care of yourself and keep your mind healthy in order to help keep your relationship healthy. If you’re not able to think for yourself or feel appreciated without your partner telling you so, then you have to think about if you’re ready to be in a relationship. Your partner isn’t going to want someone who can’t think for themselves or constantly needs them to baby them. You are a grown ass adult who should be thinking for your grown ass self! That babying thing was so high-school.

Consistency in a Relationship:

One thing that I learned with my partner is that consistency is key. If your partner is consistently holding you down, consistently making time to see you in person, consistently tells you what’s going on in their life, then your partner is going to put their trust in you. A partner who randomly pops in and out of your life isn’t consistent, and that’s when you start thinking about all the possibilities of why they are moving the way they are moving (especially us women). Consistency also eases your mind; instead of questioning is every Snapchat post and where they’re going and what they’re doing, you’re putting trust in your partner because their actions add up. If you have a partner who tells you they love you to the moon and back, but their actions lack of it, then something is not clicking and you will begin to question every little thing. If your partner says what they mean and mean what they say, then you don’t have to always keep tabs on them, and you can live on with your day. Putting your absolute trust in someone else is extremely risky, but you have to know the person you are dealing with and the things that they do. I know for a fact that my partner was once a party-goer. He went to every party he was invited to and stayed out for the entire night. Now that he’s older, he’s more of a home-body that stays in his room and invites a couple of his closest guy friends over to smoke and hangout and be dudes. If he does go out, he goes to the bar with the same group of friends and goes straight home when he is ready. I never have to worry about him trying to pick up other girls or hooking up with them, because his words match his actions and vice versa. Being consistent is just as important as honesty, trust, and loyalty; in a way I feel like all those things come when you and your partner are being consistent. Being consistent allows you to still be yourself and maintain a relationship, because you’re being honest with yourself and your partner, doing the normal things you usually do.

Some people are luckier than others when maintaining themselves and being themselves in relationships. Relationships are never black and white and they differ for everyone, but what’s universal is the fact that it is important to take care of yourself just as much as the person you are involved with. Relationships are just an extension of you; they don’t define who you are as a person and what your interests or hobbies are. You’re still your own person, so make sure to take care of it not just for your partner, but for you absolutely first.

-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 (: