How To Get Myself Unstuck (or things I keep telling myself I need to do)

As you can probably guess from my last post, the past few weeks I have been stuck in this spiral of extreme distaste for most of the things around me. I feel like I have been waiting a century for things to happen. I am angry. I am tired of being patient.

I feel hateful. Trapped. Disconnected.

Everyday I walk past this incomplete, untouched puzzle on my floor, too unmotivated to sit down and put some work in to it. But it bothers me. I think about it at work, at night, just envisioning it’s loneliness all because I can’t get myself to SIT DOWN AND WORK ON IT. It bothers me so much I contemplate throwing it away. I just want it to stop getting to me and it is better that I erase it from my life.

This has been happening over and over in my mind until recently, when I finally thought,”Stephany…..It is just a fucking puzzle. Stop pushing your feelings concerning your own self and doubts ONTO A PUZZLE. Just invite a friend over to work on the damned thing and GET OVER IT.” Yup. I often find enlightenment this way.

But it is true. These thoughts I have been having, they are real, valid, and worthy of attention. But in the end….I know it is not about the puzzle. It is one hundred percent about me, myself and I. My motivation has tanked GREATLY in the past few months. I struggle to get myself to sit down and create. Depression has been plaguing me constantly, ripping away sleep, making me want to rip off my skin. I have started to have thoughts as of late that terrify me. And why? For what purpose. The reality is something is not right in my life. Something needs to be done. When I thought this, I became overwhelmed. How? Where do I even start? What could possibly make anything better? I am unhappy. Sadness constantly makes itself at home in my body. I hate my job. I hate this state I live in. The town I live in. The community of people I have to be around every day who are so disrespectful and ignorant and SO PRIVILEGED. I hate having loan debt. Credit Card debt. Feeling indebted to those around me. Being unable to accomplish the things I want and being able to live financially comfortable without having to answer to the man and having overdraft fees and wishing I had the money to get my car fixed, for a lavender plant, for a laptop of my own, to see my sister whom I miss so much it hurts and- Whoa WHOA. Okay. Stop. Calm down. Chill the fuck out, love. Don’t do that to yourself.  

A constant spiral. What I needed to do was stop focusing on things I can’t help at the moment and focus in on the present.

First things first: I hate my job? Then I can get a new job! I have lived a lot of my life working my ass off and feeling like I had to prove myself. I had to be perfect at work. I had to do this. Had to do that. I come from very little so I can’t let them see me as someone who is incapable. Here is the thing, I am capable. I know it. But there is this anxiety that constantly lays under my ribs saying “shit. shit oh shit oh shit what are you doing? Do it right! Do something!” But that just needs to stop. I have worn myself down. I am at that point of exhaustion and quite fucking frankly I deserve to feel good. I got this job because I wanted to challenge myself and see if I would like it. Well obviously I don’t so why do I have to stay unhappy? Because I feel bad for leaving after only having been there 3 months? Because I like the management and most of my coworkers? Stop it. Just stop. That is silly. Even if it means taking a little pay cut, and making the management feel sad, I know I need something that keeps me busy and keeps me smiling.

LESSON LEARNED: A job is not worth the sacrifice of your happiness. Know when to say no. If it gives you anxiety, if you can’t stop thinking about it and stressing about it after work, step away. Don’t let a job make you act like someone you aren’t. And who am I not? A FURNITURE SALES ASSOCIATE WHO DOES NOT HAVE A PASSION FOR FURNITURE, AND WHO HAS TO SUCK UP AND BE FRIENDLY WITH CUSTOMERS WHO ARE RUDE AND A COMMUNITY I HATE. Do you know how hard it is to keep my mouth shut at times?! 

Secondly: I can’t get myself to feel motivated. I feel so overwhelmed by my daily work stress and depression that I don’t even know where to start at times. I hate that things can’t happen like POOF! MAGIC! I am suddenly making at least a part-time living on my own passions and work. But what I hate more is how hard and realistic I am with myself most of the time. I think things like This is never taking you anywhere. Everything you come up with is just stupid. Soooo healthy. I constantly think about the reality of money and time that I don’t have and BAM! I hit a wall in motivation. I think so much about these things that I constantly have to remind myself that I want to do this stuff because it makes me happy! Happiness has always been the single most important thing in my life because I deserve to feel happy!

LESSON LEARNED: What is most important now is letting yourself feel good by creating things you have always dreamed of. Yeah, you would like it to be a career but that is going to be a long process nonetheless and life is long itself so enjoy every moment of it. Commit the time it takes to create. Keep office hours. Keep a checklist. A monthly calendar. Hold yourself accountable to try everyday.

Third of all: I don’t like where I live. I hate this town. I feel like I am going to be stuck here forever. But that is the thing. I chose to stay here longer for a good reason. Yeah, it is not the greatest place. I have worked in this town for 3 years too long. The people here are not my cup of tea. I have had some really bad experiences in multiple jobs in this single, stupid town. But do I have to interact with anyone here? No. Do I have to work here. NO. Why am I here? Because I chose to be here for a particular reason. So, I need to pay attention to that particular reason. I need to stop being involved with the stuff I know I dislike and that has a negative impact on me.

LESSON LEARNED: IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY TO MY OWN SELF TO CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE AROUND ME THAT CULTIVATES HAPPINESS AND GROWTH. NOW REPEAT THAT SHIT. I am sorry. I didn’t quite hear you. SAY IT LOUDER! RAWR!!!!!!! My home is meant to be my sanctuary and I should only keep people around me that are worthy of my time. For now, I am here. But I know, that no matter what, I will ultimately choose to live in a place where I fit in. It will happen. I will be where I need to be.

Lasty: I have to recognize how seriously bad my depression is getting in the past year. I need to do something about it. Not just let it happen and wait for it to pass. I need to try new things. Learn what does work or what doesn’t work because I know that this IS a matter of life or death. I think for anyone who has depression it is important to create solid habits of self care, whether you are on medication or not. I am not. I need to work even harder at making good habits. Part of the problem is I need to exercise more to create more healthful sleep and better energy flow in my body. Next I need a job that keeps me busy and focused but not stressed. There is so much that needs to go in to it but I HAVE to put in the time.

LESSON LEARNED: You are worth the time it takes to make yourself happy. Go outside. Stretch your body. Sleep well. Eat well. Every little thing counts and as I said earlier, nothing is worth the sacrifice of your happiness. You are a whole person. Your problems are real. Give them the love and care they deserve.

That, my friends, concludes a list of lessons that I want not only to be helpful for me but also for you. I know I am not the only one out there who has these same issues. All pain is equal. I have been so upset and angry these past couple of months and I have worked so hard at things that don’t deserve my time in the past few years. I am tired. Things really built up overtime and I can say, that I wasn’t just idly letting it happen. I think I needed to take all of these feelings and dissect them. Understand the real source of my upset, anxiety and frustration. Even when I did find the source, my feelings did not immediately go away. They needed my constant time and attention to work them away without hurting me further. And then one day, very recently, that bubble of feelings just popped. Woosh! But I wasn’t left feeling like I was dumb for ever feeling the way I did. Because those feelings are real.

I don’t want to pretend that I will just get over it anymore. I know I don’t work that way. It only hurts me in the end to strong arm myself into ignorance. I think these past few years have broken me away from the honest person I am.

I partially write this post because I wanted to get some frustrations out of my head.

But I mostly wanted to write this post because I want people to feel that they are worth the time. Don’t feel stupid. Don’t feel invalid. Allow yourself to feel. Being able to feel is an amazing thing. Be grateful that you can feel that deeply. Once you know how you feel, don’t wait for others to fix it for you. You are capable. You are strong. There are always options. No matter the problem, you don’t have to adhere to social constructs. You are not required to put on a face for anyone, explain yourself or hide yourself.

Just take care of you.

-S.I. Bradley

 

Facing Opposition

OPPOSITION: 1. The action of opposing, resisting or combating. 

I am unhappy with the current happenings in my life. Frustrated. Dissatisfied on the deepest level. At odds with everything, I feel as though things have come to a standstill.  I get so angry anymore. No matter what I do, what I try, it all feels so wrong.

You don’t belong here.” “You aren’t meant to do this.” “This is not who you are.” My heart constantly whispers. These words just echo in my mind, working to drive me mad.

I am so angry.

But that is a topic for another day. Today, we are here to talk about opposition. We often refer to this word when someone is against us or in our way. The thing that makes us hold back. That employer in the way of your dream job, unwilling to call or even glance at your application. That family member disgracing your life decisions because they “always knew you weren’t fit to find your own way“.

Currently, I am working hard to unfold the very things that stand in my way. I ask myself, “What are my oppositions?” It feels so important, with the alarms ringing in my ears to dig deep and discover that which prevents me from moving forward. Where did this begin? Where is it stemming from? Who is doing this to me?

So, I reflect. After months of being mistreated by my previous employer, I quit. I didn’t have a replacement but I knew without a doubt that I could not handle to stay in that pit of snakes any longer. After my ups and downs of last month and being unemployed, I grew angry. The truth is that I had really wanted to work there and still desire to do so. But they ruined it for me. Over and over I think, They ruined everything for me. I could then say, here, this is an opposition. But is it really? They did not force me to leave. I chose to leave. I could have stayed. Fought more. But I had honestly grown tired and ran out of fight. They no longer deserved my time and I recognized that, packed my things and was on my way.

In the past month, I have felt everything has been against me. Why? Why does it need to be this difficult for me to achieve? I have learned in this time more of who I am, what I have been missing. I realized that now was the time I wanted to make my life happen EXACTLY the way I want. Be who I deserve to be.

What are my oppositions?

Money? Yeah that has been tight and a great source of stress. Work? I don’t enjoy the job I just started even though it is not too bad. I just don’t feel any passion for it. What is in my way? Are there people really standing in my way? Circumstances stopping me from getting to where I want to be? That answer is simply NO. And if someone were to oppose me, I would knock them down without hesitation.

The only thing in my way is my own self.  It is an internal fight. Doubting and degrading my capability. Part of it is fear. But why should I feel fear about doing the things that I love?

That is a reality I need to wake up to. That no matter what stands in my way, I am the only one who can truly stop me from doing what I know is right. I put up the barriers. I shut the gates. I take no action. I am the opposition.

But just the same, I am the key.

I am the gatekeeper. I am as strong as I am wise. I am my own creator.

And these are the words I wish everyone lived by. When things are hard. Impossible. You can make it happen. You can create your way. Stop being your opposition.

Be as beautiful, dynamic and great as you know deep down you really are.

Ask yourself, what is holding you back? That answer will always be: You.

A Refusal To Stay Still (even though I am ill as heck)

Here I am, sick as a dog for the first time in a long time, sitting in front of my computer and realizing how MUCH of a pain in the ass I am.

In this moment, I guess I am sort of at the bottom in a lot of ways. After months of planning and attempts at pushing myself towards the things I want to do in life, I have accomplished nothing. I hate myself for my lack of motivation so deeply.

But, it is only now:

+When I am ridiculously sick, my voice and body functions taken away,

+When I am going to be without a job in a week, with no replacement in sight,

+At the point where my financial burdens are closing in on me,

That I start to realize how fucking ridiculous I have been with putting things off constantly. “I will do it at the start of this month” or “Oh, I guess it can wait until next week” and here we are, farther down the road with very little to show for it.

Honestly, this last year was really rocky. I struggled emotionally and physically. I over worked myself, got very little sleep, and was constantly abused by my work place. I had the worst bout of deep depression that I have ever had that spawned a length of insomnia that drove me MAD. I worked hard to deal with those personal issues, still continued to be abused by my work place and trying to manage a healthy relationship at the same time. At some point my senses came ’round and I started figuring out the path I want to set for my life. These plans became realistic, inspiring, and beautiful (EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER WANTED) but STILL, I lacked the motivation to get myself in gear.

Everything turned in to a huge mess last week when I was finally pushed to turn in my two weeks to free myself from this hell of a job and then BAM! SICKNESS! And if there is one thing above ANYTHING that will turn me in to a blubbering child, it is being sick. It hit me so fast! These past couple of days I have barely been able to move or speak, and IT IS SO FRUSTRATING! GAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! THIS MORTAL PRISON IS SO WEAK!!!!

During this time, when I physically and mentally am not capable of any form of action, anger has seeped in to my body. But the only person I am angry with is myself. How can I have allowed myself to be so stagnant when during those times I was perfectly capable of creating my way to happiness and improvement. As I age, will I always have that opportunity? Will I physically be capable in the future? Mentally capable? Is it right for me to waste away my time? Allowing myself to be unhappy, letting that seep into every part of my life? Allowing my body to become so weak and my mind depressed? I let myself lose sleep, lose health and lose will-power by every day of non-action. That is just pathetic. That is NOT who I want myself to be.

I always try to treat myself kindly and like to remind others of that too. Yet, there is a time to BUCK THE FUCK UP and MAKE SHIT HAPPEN. A little harsh but quite frankly, I need it. I am sick. I am stressed. I have no idea if I am going to be able to pay my rent next month. That DOES NOT mean I should become still. I am very ill, yes, but I will get better. I may struggle financially for a little while but if every single day I work hard to find a job, that struggle will lessen. There is a chance that once again I will dislike my job or get abused by my workplace. But if I actually put in 100% of my effort and time towards the plans to create my own career, the length of time that I have to endure that crap gets shorter.

WHY? WHY WOULD I NOT WANT THAT?

In the end, I guess this is that little kick in the arse I needed to wake up. A little bit of panic mode. Okay, maybe more than a little. I just want to be happy and I have to remind myself that doing the things I love and trying to make a career out of it MAKES ME HAPPY. The only thing standing in the way is myself when I should not be standing at all.

Now it is time to take some more medicine and try to warble words at my boyfriend to get him to cuddle me.

Excuse me.

-Stephany

Finding Your Corner of the World (and a simple relationship with Yoga)

Back when I was 15 and 16, I had a deep love for Yoga. I have always been ridiculously spiritual but yoga brought to me an ability to express my emotions through a physical extension I had yet experienced in my young age.

Yes, I like to dance (something I love even more now), but my unhealthy teen body was awkward in all of it’s untrained movement and my self-esteem was way too low for me to stand watching myself attempt it for any long period of time.

I cannot remember exactly when I was first introduced to yoga. I had known of it for a long while, I guess, and it is quite possible that I read of it in the 4th Grade. During this time I would often hide in the library during breaks and lunch, burying myself in the most obscure works of non-fiction (from Classic Chinese Poetry to Nail Care, I would read it all). But I do remember my first interaction with the actual want to better understand the way I moved at the age of 12. During the summer, my Aunt was kind enough to drop me off at the library occasionally, where I would grab hold on to books of Flower Language, Hypnotism, Stephen King’s ‘It’, Chakras, and most particularly a book on Stretching. That gave me my first insight to the need to care for my body on a deeper level. This then led me to reading up on yoga along with all of it’s principles and foundings.

Between 15 and 16, yoga brought me moments of peace that I was often unable to find when my emotions were constantly screaming in pain and the anger at the hand life was dealing would wash over me. I got in to buying Yoga Journal Magazine and reading through it’s articles with such intensity. It brought an awareness to both sides of what the yoga community was. Yes, for some it was just a physical practice, but for many others it was a spiritual one. For myself, it was most definitely the latter.

When I look back, I was definitely not the greatest at it. It was ridiculously difficult for me to lay my hands flat on the floor in a forward bend or to keep my balance in Tree Pose. Hahahaha but, man, I sure tried. What I loved the most out of being involved with yoga was the way it made my mind think. I would do my best to attempt the sequences in the monthly magazine but most of my involvement is the way the instructor wanted the sequence to effect you. Whether it was to bring relaxation, fluidity, or to help you rise with the sun, I loved dropping my consciousness into the hands of deeper thought. I have always been a deep thinker and would often try to find a deeper understanding of most things in life but at the time I had reality and stress constantly pulling at my attention from all directions. Before bed on school nights, I would turn the light off in my room and practice with only the light from my tiny TV that was playing this calming ‘Chinese Garden’ instrumental CD (that I seriously bought at the Dollar Store) that was mixed with the sounds of my old PS 1 that was trying ridiculously hard to work.

I may not have had the stresses of adulthood to think about ,but when you are young, your mind is growing at an almost alarming rate that creates constant confusion within yourself. Yesterday you felt one way about the world, but with constant new experiences of just 24 hours, Today you feel differently. It can be upsetting. You feel as though your own body and mind is foreign and without the proper vocabulary to express those feelings that only time can provide, they get locked up and fester.

With Yoga, I was given a chance to connect with my inner self in a way that did not require the verbal expression I was not quite given yet. By reading the Yoga Journal Magazines, I often had the chance to GAIN the verbal expression I needed. I may not have been a part of any community physically, but mentally I was there.

I was devoted to reading this magazine many years after and I believe sometime around 18 years old there was this article about what the Yogi Way of Life meant to this author. It was quite lovely and very well written but there was this particular bit where she started talking about how yoga made her understand the need to find her own corner of the world that she could improve for others and herself. Rather than stressing about all of the things one measly person can’t do in a life time, she was more focused on being a help to an area of life that she knew she had the ability to improve. She went on to talk about how if everyone focused on their own corner of the world, it would have the greatest, most positive, collective impact on lives of people everywhere. Whether it be a long time devotion to a charity, a community, a hobby, your family, nature conservation, animal welfare,  it would all make a difference.

I was hit by the truth in her statement. What was MY corner of the world? What could I do that would be beneficial to those who are around me or cross my path? I have always had many aspirations and interests on how to improve MY life and the life of those I consider my family. I always knew that my successes would be their successes as well. But even then I knew that I would meet many people in my life time and considered what affect I would have on them, especially because a lot of my interests lay in businesses I would like to create one day. I would have employees, co-workers, business relationships and more. Like many business owners, would I only harm them with my scrutinizing, unscrupulous tactics just for success? I hated that very idea. I knew it would take time for me to discover what my corner was.

But as years passed by, I watched as the people I loved would struggle financially and have little chance at finding jobs, respect, and happiness. There were no opportunities where I came from. The economy was bad and my community was not properly educated or equipped with the skills and resources to be successful. I have always wanted to live in South Korea and was determined to make it happen, so when I was 20 I traveled to Seoul for the first time and fell in love. I thought over and over how I could get a job there. In time I learned how hard it was for the younger generation to get any jobs at all and that the poverty rate was rising. I wondered how I could allow myself as a foreigner to take their precious jobs away from them? I visited for a second time at 22 and met many knew friends. A very common topic that arose was what we wanted to do with our lives. I realized throughout that, that above just having career goals, I wanted to get my loved ones out of the vicious cycle of poverty they were in. I wanted to give them opportunities. Give them chances. And in this last year I realized that is exactly what I want to do for people in my life. I want to create work, I want to create prosperity, I want to create happiness but most importantly I want to create OPPORTUNITIES that no one else will provide for those who try so hard to get a leg up on life. I want to live and work in korea, but not at the expense of those who were there before me. I want to make sure that if I take one job, I create 100 more jobs for those around me.

But I know that my Corner of the World is still currently very small, so I will have to start at my feet. I always listen to the passions my loved ones have and their ideas for jobs, businesses and the careers that they have practically given up on. If I can start by helping pay my sisters gas when she is struggling to catch up on bill’s, if I can buy her a gallon of milk when she cannot afford it, then eventually I can help pay for her cell phone or for her electricity or be there for her when her car breaks down. All of these little things, these little goals will drive me to then be able to work hard to help her finish her schooling so that she can stop working at a simple hourly job and then do something rewarding that she also loves that pays the bills easily and inspires her children to dream big and grow in life and to accomplish what may seem impossible. All of these little things mean something to someone. And eventually I wish to create some huge things that make a difference to many.

This is my Corner of the World: To create opportunity.

I hope you can find yours.

First Things First

The problem is not that I can’t achieve my dreams .

It is that I struggle to get past myself to start them. My body is so weighed down by sadness that there is almost no energy to think about those great big beautiful things that make me who I am.

Myself. That beautiful Rose. That big Blossom. That Garden.

All that I can do and need to do is keep moving. Make the effort no matter no matter how hard, until it becomes second nature. Soon that light will flood back into my body and it’s growth will resume.

When faced with depression, I must remember that beautiful things can also grow in the dark.

-S.I.Bradley