Self-Care: Not Just For When You’re Fed Up

Ever think to yourself, “Fuck it. I’m so exhausted, I better take care of myself!” Well, what if you didn’t let it get to that point? What if you maintained yourself often enough that you didn’t feel like taking a bath, putting on a mud mask , and chilling was only a last ditch option after a hard week.

I know it’s not easy to take time out of your day to care for yourself. It sounds silly but some people even feel guilty for needing some time to recoup. Sometimes the thought of seeming “weak” for not being able to handle life’s stresses can make someone shy away from self-care. It’s not uncommon to see people going weeks or even months without a break. It’s what is leading to burn-out in a lot of work spaces, and what helps to worsen depression and anxiety in those that are prone to these mental illnesses. It’s especially hard when you feel like you’re alone in this need. (Spoiler: you’re not) That co-worker who always seems to have her shit together is really not all that different from you, who may feel like a walking zombie at the moment. So what can you do to avoid burn out?

First, we all need to re-think the notion of self-care. It’s often thought as a luxury, something superfluous, like getting your nails done or going to the spa. Self-care doesn’t have to be those things. Both men and women need self-care, and it doesn’t make you weak or less masculine for doing so.

Self-care is subjective. It varies greatly from one individual to the next. My form of self-care may be something that doesn’t work for you. I find that no matter how you self-care, there are a couple of guiding principles.

First, alcohol and other drugs are not self-care. I understand that many people feel more relaxed after consuming or smoking weed, but that should not be your go-to for self-care. You shouldn’t need a substance (any kind really) to make you calm. I wouldn’t object to a glass of wine or weed to help enhance your self-care routine, but you shouldn’t need  it to be relaxed.

Second, set aside time to care for yourself. Make an appointment for yourself, just like a dentist appointment and put it on your calendar. Make this a priority. Don’t skip it because it’s just for you. There are even apps or fitness trackers that have breathing exercises you can do throughout the day. Even if your life is so crazy busy, there’s no reason you can’t sneak off for 5 minutes to take some deep breaths.

Third, find a routine that works for you. For me I like doing things like putting on a mud mask, taking a hot bath, drinking tea, listening to music, and making sure I get enough food and sleep. If I do those things in a typical week, I’m feeling pretty good.

Whatever you do make it mindful. Whether you are deep-diving into a good book, sipping on tea, or taking time to get a massage, make sure you make the most of the moment by staying mindful. Stop thinking about what work you have to do next week, or that you have to go to the store, or that you feel conscious taking care of yourself. You are worth your own time. Just think, if you are so exhausted all of the time are you really even putting your best self out there? Is your work really going to be that great, if you are so stressed out about the next thing? You have the power and control over your life. I can’t say it enough. Especially in the time we live in women and men often don’t let themselves take a break. The effects of prolonged stress can cause diseases, mental illnesses, low libido, and even make you look older and shorten your life expectancy! Just think if you took 30 mins today to relax, maybe you’ll have more time to spend with your grandkids when you’re 65.

I know I’m guilty of not letting myself relax, and the first few times you do it, you might be frustrated or not able to be mindful. Just keep trekking. Over time you’ll start to focus less on the time you “wasted” taking care of yourself, and more time living in the present moment and enjoying the time you set aside for yourself. Experiment. Find out what works for you. Maybe essential oils is not your thing, or you hate yoga, but what about reading a funny novel, or sinking into a bath? Whatever you do focus on you. Don’t use your time to call a friend to bitch about your issues, while that may be therapeutic, that’s not the point of self-care. This is a time to really focus on being happy.

So how do you self-care?

What works for you, or what doesn’t?

Have you ever felt weird or guilty for taking some time for yourself? Tell me about it! I’d love to hear, and take some time this week or even right now to take care of the most important person to you: you.

Not sure how to get started? Check out some things I found on the internet about self-care!:

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/45-simple-self-care-practices-for-a-healthy-mind-body-and-soul/

https://www.ted.com/playlists/299/the_importance_of_self_care

https://www.forbes.com/sites/payout/2017/09/19/practicing-self-care-is-important-10-easy-habits-to-get-you-started/#446bc79b283a

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Part 3. of Back at it Again

 

Well, as you can guess we did date longer than just the summer. We went on a trip after he graduated with play husband, his girlfriend, and another recent grad to the coast. It was after that when I asked him if would be my boyfriend. I was so scared. I never really had a boyfriend before. I had dated, but it never got to “relationship status”. I’m pretty sure I cried. It was weird with him I felt vulnerable, but not ashamed. I was scared, but when he said, “Duh!” that all went away. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and shake myself for not just letting things be. I was always so scared I’d lose this new love I had found. I wish I could make past Bry see that this is the real thing. Capital R capital T. Obviously, he  stayed for the summer and longer.

It’s been almost 3 1/2 years now and our lives are so different from when we started out. Neither of us do theatre now, but we still remain in contact with our close friends we made in theatre. They are family to us. We moved from Oregon all the way to Chicago, and now to Washington D.C. We drove across the country together. While I never had the experience of traveling abroad by myself and having my own Eat. Pray. Love moment in my life, I am way happier at the real-life journeys I have taken. With him, I discover new things about myself daily. I’m glad I went though all that I did my 3rd and 4th year of college. I don’t let people control me anymore. I go out and get what I want now, and Ricky is right there pushing me to accomplish my dreams.

I guess the moral of my story is that this blog was a great tool for me back then as it is now. I’ve always been one to journal, I find writing down my fears and anxieties helps me to cope. Somehow seeing it on paper helps me re-evaluate what I’m feeling inside. I’m not an extrovert and so I can’t just go talking out my problems. Writing is the answer for me.

I hope this deeply personal story has helped you in some way. I don’t know how. And if nothing else, it has helped me.

I also want to put an addendum that I don’t feel like the victim in anything. I’m sure I was not always the easiest to deal with either. I understand that the feelings my old roommates had was their way of dealing. It was a scary thing that happened and none of us knew what we were doing. I’m not going to say what they did was wrong, but I just needed to do what was right for me at the time. I’m sure in their eyes I did some fucked up things too. This is just my story, a sort of cautionary tale about toxic relationships. Some people are just not meant to be around each other and I think that’s what happened here.

It feels like a million years ago now since I lived in that house. None of us talk anymore, and I honestly think that’s for the best. I don’t want to hurt anybody with my story I just want to move on and hopefully learn from it. I learned that I am stronger than anyone else gave me credit for, that I am capable of being a confident person, that I can do great things, and that I don’t need to rely on anyone to be happy. I can be happy by staying true to who I am and having supportive people in my life that only want the best for me. I’m not afraid to cut anyone out of my life that hinders me from reaching my true potential. Sometimes you just need to go though that lesson the hard way.

I am still discovering the things I have to offer on a daily basis. I am not always the mot confident person. Sometimes I fall back into neediness, as I talked about before on this blog needing others approval has always been something I struggle with. My quality of life is so much better now, and I feel like for the first time in my life I am on the right path, with an amazing partner right along with me. My goal is to go to law school and become a criminal lawyer. Something I would have never thought I could do before. Thanks to Ricky, he has helped realize that I am smart enough and capable of reaching this lofty goal. I am excited to keep growing and learning along the way. This time though, even if it sounds harsh, I’ll the be one to make my life decisions and I won’t let anyone else get in the way of my happiness.

 

Part 2. of Back at it Again

“It’s the terror of knowing what this world’s all about. Watching some good friends screaming, Let me out!'” – David Bowie from one of his hit songs: Under Pressure 

It’s funny how when you’re not looking for something, it finds you anyways. At the same time I was discovering my new confidence, who I was, and my new friends I also found love. Now let’s be clear; I was not looking for it. I was for the first time in my life purposely avoiding it. I felt that a boyfriend would be the last thing I needed to heal emotionally. I laugh now because there is no way I could have predicted the kind of amazing person that I found, right beneath my nose, who would not only help me grow, but make me a better person by believing in me and rejoicing in my accomplishments for no other reason than to see me happy. It’s a love I had never known before, and one I am so glad I have now.

We met because my friend that I had mentioned earlier, the one that was my “play husband” was a mutual friend of ours. He told Ricky, “You know who is really cool, who I didn’t really think of before? Bry.” And they got to talking. Ricky therefore took it upon himself to get to know his best friend’s new friend. He had just gotten out of a three-year relationship, and wasn’t looking for love either. He genuinely  wanted to know me for me, and I think that made all the difference. I had known him before like my play husband, he was in my classes, he wrote a one-act I hated, he was smart, but I never took interest. I think it was because the whole time I knew him, I knew he was taken. I had also just never looked at him that way before, at the time he was just another classmate. It wasn’t until we were both supposed to meet a group of our theatre friends at Bombs Away Cafe, the place we lovingly call “Bombs”, that we actually spoke to each other one on one. It was just us two, everyone else was late. I don’t know how it happened, but we both hit it off. We started talking about theatre, our childhoods, our hopes, our dreams, and just everything! I don’t even remember all the topics we covered, but as we were sharing chips and salsa and margaritas we connected. It was like a light bulb coming to life. Looking back, we both agree that was the most pivotal moment for relationship to begin. Sometimes I wonder if we would have had that moment if all of our friends did show up on time? Against all odds, we found each other. When all of our friends did arrive, it was like a spell was broken. I was awkward and forgot to pay and had to come back. I left wondering what just happened?

The weeks following Ricky and I flirted. A veil had been lifted and I was seeing 20/20. I had hardly even noticed him before, he was just a fixture in my classes, but now I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. He’s cute! I thought. I had never realized how stunning his blonde hair and blue eyes were before. We were both directing one-acts, we both made the cut. Our class was competitive, but supportive. I started making my life-long friends in that class. He would flirt by letting me have a practice space first, or sitting in and critiquing (mostly complementing) my play. I would in turn wait for his rehearsal to be over and rush to go meet him at Bombs after. Our friends started to catch on, even though we tried to keep it secret. I still remember our first real “date”. He asked me to come over and maybe get some wine and can hang out in the park. I thought of him as a real rebel back then, a bad boy. It’s hilarious now, because he is the sweetest kindest person you’ll ever meet, he just knows how to stand up for himself. We got some ciders, put it them in 7/11 slurpee cups and went to the park. It was May and it was gorgeous out. We talked and drank. I was in a sun dress, leaning back, my hands holding me up, me legs straight out and I felt his pinky finger brush my hand. I remember feeling ecstatic! This was his little way of starting to hold hands. I reassured him by grabbing his had. We began kissing and fooling around and then we left the park to go back to his place. We were holding hands on the way back and when we arrived my play husband and his girlfriend were there. We dropped hands as soon as we saw them. They took the hint and left. We made out and then I left for home.

I was on a cloud! Even though other bits of my life was in shambles, this part was perfect. I was determined to not let the bad parts of my life affect the good. I was still living in the hell house, looking for a place of my own. Luckily,  I had a friend who  was moving and she said I could apply for her place, I just needed to give her time to move out. In the meantime, my roommates were still mad at me. They were mad I was out with Ricky. Friendemy even put a curfew on me. She said if I wasn’t home by 10 o’clock I needed to call her and let her know. I was beyond pissed. I was in my 20s. I was an adult. My own mother didn’t put a curfew on me. I hated when people attempted to control me. I knew her motivation behind the curfew was to control me and not because she cared, which is why it really stung. Ricky was one of the people who helped me stand up to them. He saw me for who I was: an independent person. That’s one thing I really appreciate about him, he has never tried to change me. He has only wanted me to grow and become better if I want to, and then he is right there cheering me along. It felt so good to have a cheerleader for once. All of my theatre friends were my cheerleaders. I felt so stupid for not getting to know these wonderful people sooner.

I tried to integrate my former best friend into my new life. I took her out to Bombs with us. She sat there uncomfortable and mostly silent. Even when people were asking he questions she would stare at the floor. It was beyond awkward. I was almost ashamed. I was going to drive us back to the house when I realized I left my keys in the classroom. It was locked naturally. We had to call friendemy to pick us up. While we were waiting she burst on me. She told me how I am out of control, I’m going out drinking every night, I’m never home, I lose things, I’m spiraling out of control. I was shocked. I wondered who put these ideas in her head? It sounded like the work of he scummy boyfriend and friendemy. I think she was just realizing that we were growing apart, maybe forever now.

As Ricky’s 3-year relationship with his girlfriend had ended, my 3-year relationship with my best friend was ending. Both ended ugly and both left scars. I think it was that pain connected us in a way too. It’s funny because at the time we were both so broken. He would often put up walls, and I would come along and tear them down. I would run from my problems, and he would make me confront them head-on. However random us getting together was, I am beyond grateful it happened.

I finally did move to my own place. I used all of my summer money, most of which I never saw returned, to pay rent on the last place. I am very thankful to my brother who was the only one to drive 2 hours to help me move all of my stuff in a place with no elevator. This was my first time living alone. I was scared, but I was ready. Ricky would visit and soon he hardly even went back to his apartment. At the time, we were both scared of getting too close to each other. We both agreed that we would be together for the summer and see how it went. I still had 1 year left of college and he had just graduated.

Part. 3 to continue

Back at it Again

 

 

Holy crap! So you know those facebook “memories” that can either be: “Awe! I remember going to the zoo lights 5 years ago!” or “Oh shit, why facebook? Why?! I never want to remember blacking out and throwing up at a frat and having photographic proof that it happened!!!!!” Yeah well, for me most of those “memories” that resurface are the latter.

 

So I just came across this blog in my facebook memories, and re-reading the old posts really did a lot for me. First, it cracked me up. I mean hell, I am one funny person, and my humor about 5 years ago makes for a cringe worthy but belly laugh kind of moment. Secondly, re-reading these posts was like a helpful snapshot in time. I was, for the most part, pretty impressed by my writing, something I’ve never thought was a skill I possessed. I was able to look back and see where I was in life and see that I was excited about college, about learning, about my potential and it showed my writing. I was also scared shitless, confused, and lonely, that also showed in my wiring. I think the part that really stuck out to me was all the drafts I didn’t publish, many of which were downright angry or negative.

I was going though a lot back then, and it showed. I can now say that yes I did graduate college, the first of my family, (yey!), and I did move away and travel. I have not yet been to Paris, but as Billy Joel says “Vienna waits for you,” I just swap out Paris for Vienna though. It was after my post “What Did You Learn?”  that I started re-gaining perspective in my life. I can’t help but laugh now because I was so melodramatic about the “break-up”. I wouldn’t even consider it a relationship now and years later we are actually great friends. Even though we’re across the county we spoke the other day and I helped him with a problem.

That situation was truly small potatoes.

The real dilemma that I was facing at the time was that my best friend and roommate for 3 years of college had decided to try to commit suicide. I remember knowing it was bound to happen, it was just a matter of time. I went to class one day and I left her in the house alone. I picked out her clothes for her because she was too depressed to get out of bed. I had a bad feeling. I remember talking to classmates about my concerns. I told one of her co-workers to call me in 10 minutes if she didn’t show up. He called. I picked up in he middle of class. Luckily, it was a small theatre class. Everyone knew my situation and my professor let me go. I ran home. Outside was her co-worker, he was crying, sobbing actually, and banging on the door. I opened it to find her with a bottle of pills open and consumed lying next to her. She was completely out of it. He was on the floor bawling. It was at that moment something else took over. I ran into action mode and called 911. It wasn’t long before an ambulance came and got her, and my stupid landlady tried to meddle, asking me a billion questions, which I remember being really annoyed at. I hoped into my car with the co-worker and we followed the ambulance. I knew that nothing would be the same again. I knew that our friendship was over. It had been over for a long time now, and this was just a clear capstone.

I didn’t cry. I didn’t even get upset. Not that I didn’t care, but I was so focused on keeping her alive, I didn’t have time for annoying emotions. Her co-worker on the other hand was a mess. I felt bad for him, but in my mind the only thing we could do was to get her to the hospital. That’s all that mattered. We stayed in the lobby as they pumped her stomach and put in charcoal in her through a tube which made her lips black. We only saw her for a moment before we were ushered away.

We stayed in the lobby for hours. Not really talking. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I know that at some point we went to see her. Her mom kept calling me from Arizona. I couldn’t answer. She decided to stay in the mental facility. She didn’t want to, but I could not have stayed home 24/7 for suicide watch, not with finals coming up. Eventually, her mom did get through. I answered. I told her what happened. She screamed at me. She told me “How could I let this happen? How could I not have told her the moment it happened?” That’s when I really cried. I remember back at home bawling on the floor of my apartment alone. I felt so helpless. I was angry too. This person I cared so much for and this person I tried to keep floating, was just going to sink herself deeper and deeper into depression. It was like it was inevitable. I could see her doing this to herself, but I was behind glass, unable to actually intervene. I knew above all else she did not want to return home to Arizona, I was scared her mom was going to come up and get her. I thought that honestly, that would kill her. Eventually she did call her mom back, and sort of straightened things out, at least her mom would let her say in Oregon.

After the suicide attempt I was in go mode. I could not and would not let the events that just happened ruin my term at school. Nothing was going to stop me from passing all of my classes with all A’s, nothing ever has. Easier said than done. I was actually impressed with how calm I was under all that stress. As the co-worker was distraught, I made it my priority to be the opposite and be the most rational person I have ever been. After the hospital we called our other friend, who was really a long time friendemy, and we all agreed the best thing for everyone was for us and the co-worker to rent a house together so we could care for our friend. She would never be alone, and she would have all of us to support her. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I remember the friendemy telling me I needed to cry, I needed to “let it out”, but that was the exact opposite of what I was feeling. All I wanted to do was to fix things. Things got more complicated as she got out of the mental hospital. I remember visiting her in the clinic, her boyfriend, who I thought was absolute scum, came with us most days. I remember looking at her and feeling awkward. Not really knowing this person I was looking at. Where were the jokes, the laughs, the sarcasm, the banter that was so natural to her? Instead she sat there with no sharp objects with everyone treating her like she was five. I had no idea who I was looking at. I felt maybe for the first time, I was looking at my friend and this is who she really was, and our whole friendship from the moment I arrived at college until now was a lie.

So all four of us moved in. The boyfriend became a live-in fixture. I hardly talked to her anymore. I felt like he was standing in the way of us. Our friendemy told me that I don’t know how to handle the situation because I’ve never been depressed before. It pained me to see her a complete shell of the witty, sharp and clever person I once knew. I felt like the real friend was under there somewhere if only I could make the right joke, or say the magic words to make her come to life and fight back. That’s what was really missing. Her ability to fight back. I had never seen anyone lose that before, and I thought that she was the last person on earth that would lose their will to fight.

I still didn’t cry. I didn’t have sob fests like the rest of the crew. It was weird seeing myself, the one that everyone considered the weakest, the most sheltered, the most sensitive taking on duties like getting groceries, paying bills, etc. I took less classes the next term and signed up for summer courses so I could still graduate on time. I signed up for a singing class to fulfill some sort of bacccore assignment. My teacher was amazing. I love singing, but I hate doing it in front of anyone else but the mirror. My instructor was kind but not lax. She had me doing scales all the time. I think she could see I was in emotional turmoil. She had me do breathing exercises, and told me that she didn’t think I had taken a deep breath in a long time. She was right. Signing was sort of therapy for me. It was cathartic. Somehow I let out my emotions though my crappy broken voice. And the scariest thing I ever did (but I am so proud of now) is sing my final in front of a group of singers (most of which were operatically trained).  I started gaining confidence. I was feeling good about myself again. Maybe for the first time. Like my instructor said, I was taking a deep breath. I felt re-born.

While I was discovering this new side of myself, my life at the house I shared with the roommates could not have been worse. I felt like a prisoner. I would only ever hangout in my room or go to the kitchen to grab a snack. That’s it. Luckily, my room had its own bathroom and was connected to the greenhouse so I had a lot of privacy. I loved taking care of my plants (all of which died eventually) practicing my singing, and rehearsing lines for the plays I was in. I got a role in A Streetcar Named Desire not as a lead, but as the comic relief character Eunice. I loved that role. My singing helped me project and become super confident in the character. I spent all of my evenings at the play. I met one of my new best friends there. He was my play husband and we would sit in the rafters before our lines and talk about everything. He told me about how great his girlfriend was  (now his wife, and one of my closest friends!), how he too had just had to break off his friendship with a close buddy, and just things going on in his life now. He was a great listener. I had “known” him for years prior talking theatre classes together, but we had never really talked. He was sort of the class clown, and I was there to learn. Now I found out he was an extremely intelligent person and a veteran. Things I never knew before, I was peeling back the layers. I felt good when I was at rehearsal. I felt surrounded by friends. People that I had taken classes with for years, but never got to know because I was so consumed with my friendship with my roommate.

I started to hate going home. When I got back I knew that friendemy #1 and my former-best friend would hound on me for “being out late”. I was rehearsing every single night and I didn’t feel like I was blowing them off, I felt like I was accomplishing something that was for me. Some nights after rehearsal I would go out and get drinks with the theatre crew. I felt like they were finally getting to know me. I felt like they liked me for who I was and didn’t try to put me down. They reveled in my accomplishments, instead of tearing them down.

I took a summer job at the theatre, one I did every year, and this year I was Stage Manager, a big step up! I focused my energies on that. I made a stipend and when all of my roomies told me they had no financial aid and no jobs to pay for rent I flipped out. I used literally all the money I had, all the money I worked for, which was hardly anything compared to the hours I put in, towards rent.  I lived with 3 other people and one of their live-in boyfriends and no one could or would help. It was that combined with a note I saw on the fridge one day that really did it for me. The note read “I can’t wait until this monster that is theatre releases Bryanna!” with some sort of a doodle. I was angry. I was red-hot. How could they not understand that I had done so much, broke my lease on my old apartment, paid for rent, worked, bought food, and more for them and now they are pissing on the one thing that actually brought me joy. It was at that time I decided to move on my own for the first time.

 

Pt. 2 to come out next

 

Thinking You Think Too Much?

 

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Analyzing is just part of who I am, part of my chemical make-up.  I was born a natural worrier and planner and with that comes excessive thinking, nitpicking, and anxiety. I am the type that finds pleasure in taking personality quizzes or breaking down a situation and figuring out the subtextual context each person was thinking about. But is all this planning and thinking harmful? At what point do I tell myself to stop, and at what point do I actually stop?

Let’s start with the bad. First of all because it is so easy and because that is what most people focus on when they think of obsessive behavior. So yes,  “over-thinking” is bad. It causes anxiety which causes a slew of medical conditions (such as high blood-pressure, weight troubles, depression, etc.). Anxiety is felt because the person doing so is often making up hypothetical situations which they can control, but in reality those situations do not play out. Or the situations they create mentally are ones that are out of their control, thus they compensate in reality by controlling things in their own grasp. The best way to describe this is that there are two different worlds in which someone who over-thinks lives: reality and the hypothetical world. Sometimes though reality can seem less “real” than the hypothetical world in which the person operates in.

Now after that…the benefits. I would not like to condone over-analysing to the point of mental exhaustion, but thinking things over once of twice is actually a good thing. I think that people who over-think have the romantic ideal to be more spontaneous and care-free is to be perfectly happy. It’s good to let go once in a while, but having the conscious mind to think things over before you have to make a decision is a blessing. A lot of people don’t have that quality. Amongst my friends, I’m always the one that looks at a situation with a critical eye before making a decision. It has saved us a few headaches.

Thinking is okay it’s human, but don’t let it lead you down the pathway to over-analysing where anxiety and helplessness are just around the corner. Use your natural ability and discretion to analyze a situation to be beneficial rather than self-destructive.

 

Stubborn Not Ignorant

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Ever been likened to a donkey? Not in THAT way…but meaning that you are stubborn and unyielding. Either way, being likened to  smelly animal that resembles an ugly horse is not the ego boosting compliment you hoped to receive. But nay (or yee-haw) being stubborn can actually be a good thing as long as you don’t allow yourself to be short-sighted and ignorant.

The donkey has been famously mentioned and personified throughout theology, mythology, and is famously the US national symbol for Democrats. What makes this bucking wild thing so alluring? Well the pure brash temper and unyielding nature of the animal has made the donkey famous, but donkeys rarely show this side of themselves unless pushed to.

My point is that if you are called stubborn or find that  in life you just don’t want to change your opinion, then that is perfectly okay. It is when you refuse to hear the oppositional side with a non-bias, or without at least giving the oppositional side time to be voiced. I have noticed in my life I  can look back on times when I was just plain stubborn and it was obnoxious. It was obnoxious because I was also ignorant of the other side. I did not want to hear nor did I care (apathy: another deadly attribute that sometimes gets associated with stubbornness) what anyone else had to say about a subject if I did not agree.

Being stubborn can be a positive thing as long as you don’t associate other negative attitudes with it, such as, apathy, carelessness, ignorance, anger, and cockiness to name a few. Instead, focus on associating positive attitudes with your stubborn qualities like; well-educated, powerful, wise, confident, and self-assured as starters. When you decide to be stubborn about something first ask yourself: Why am I feeling stubborn about this topic? Then evaluate and ask yourself: Would I ever change my answer, if so what would it take for me to change my opinion? Gather all of the facts and opinions of the opposition. By taking time to reflect decide what is most important, you may decide to change your mind about a topic or you might be  committed to your opinion right now and realize that could change. If it doesn’t that’s fine too, you don’t need to change your opinion, just make sure if you stick with your initial opinion you are educated about your opposition so that if you do decide to behave like a braying ass you can defend your side with facts rather than relying solely on your opinion. Also, just the knowledge that you gained from learning about another opinion could be helpful in understanding and being empathetic with the other opinion which you may have never before thought about in that way.

Either way, be stubborn but do not be ignorant.

Round and Round We Go

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“Let’s go. Yes, Let’s go.”

– Waiting for Godot

Life has a way of becoming cyclical. You think you are making progress, but you end up turned back around to the same problems you thought you got over. Ever find yourself thinking, hey I’m old enough I thought I was over caring what people thought about me? Yeah, well the good thing is that we don’t have to be confined to a never-ending tail-chase. Even if our problems seem the same hopefully our perspective about the problem has changed, and the ways in which we have solved it has changed.

I find myself coming across the same types of problems, but maturity and experience has shaped my perception of the problem. For example, my response and reaction when asked the life-long question of: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I have in the past tried to ignore it, tried to cover it up, tried to make a decision I thought my family or friends or other people might want to hear,and just claimed ignorance. None of these work…obviously. Instead, making my own decision has been the most important.

When I start to feel like I am fighting the same battles over again, I try to stop for a moment and reflect. Why am I learning this lesson again, and what can I do to learn differently from it this time? Maybe I have not learned my lesson yet and there is a reason why I am still pursing these questions.