Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Putting the Last Few Months Behind Me

Well kids, the shit definitely hit the fan right after I returned from my (amazingly awesome) vacation to Cabo at the end of February. 

The Universe decided to hit me with relationship issues, financial woes and big time life lessons all at the same time.  The last three months have been a roller coaster ride for me.  Just like when I ride actual roller coasters, my body, mind and spirit have all been shouting “OH NO FUCKING WAY IS THIS GONNA HAPPEN!!” for months now. 

Suffice it to say, writing has been a bit difficult.  In order to keep myself from slipping into the depression that was earnestly trying to pull me down, I had to suck up every glimmer of positive energy I could generate to keep myself moving forward. 

Luckily, I was able to keep myself out of despair and have gleaned some important life lessons from what has happened.  And of course, because I love each and every one of you, I want to share those lessons with you!

  1. Don’t let others drag you down with them.  People don’t say, “Misery loves company” just because the words feel nice as they’re coming out of their mouths.  People say that shit because it’s true!  If someone is feeling miserable, they’re going to do everything they can to get at least one other person down in the dumps with them – oftentimes this will be the person they care about the most.  But luckily for you, just like every other party you’re invited to, the invite to the Pity Party is just as easy to decline.  Now, I’m not saying you should turn your back on your loved ones in their time of need, but you do need to realize when your help is actually helping and when it’s just enabling a person to dwell more on the “woe is me”.  When your friend keeps complaining about the same things over and over again but takes no steps to improve the situation, it’s time for you to spend your energy elsewhere.
  2. Fuck those negative fuckers.  Taking #1 just a step further, sometimes you have to realize when negative thoughts are engraved into the core of someone you care about.  I have a friend who always says, “You’ll never be happy at the job you work.”  To this I always say a resounding “WTF?”  You work something like 1/3 of your living hours (yes, that is a made up statistic).  Do you really think that your only option is to spend 1/3 of your life being miserable?  When people are resigned to accepting the crap that life throws at them they stop progressing –stop moving forward in their lives.  It’s important to be able to pinpoint who these people are in your life and either a) get them out of your life, or b) realize that these are not the people you want to go to when you need help getting over a bump in the road.  The most successful people in the world are people who surround themselves with other positive and uplifting people.  Try to remove negative influences from your circle as much as possible.
  3. Don’t try to change other people.  I’ve been making this mistake a lot lately.  Just because I think I know what someone is doing wrong in their life and just because I think I can see solutions for their problems doesn’t mean I’m right and most importantly, it doesn’t mean I stand a chance of actually helping them to change.  Thankfully I have a good friend who reminded me of this point recently.  He helped me to remember that people are who they are and there is nothing I can do to force them to be anyone else.  I’ll continue to be a cheerleader for their self-improvement but I’m not going to hang my happiness on the contingency that they actually make any of the changes I suggest.
  4. Most importantly, keep on being you.  As long as you’re not hurting other people, don’t let the negativity others hurl at you keep you from being the amazingly kick-ass person you are.  Some of us are extremely empathetic so it’s hard not to let the negativity that surrounds us drag us down too.  When you encounter these situations it’s important to remember the good things in your life.  Make a list of the things you love about yourself and keep it posted somewhere if you need a visual reminder.
So my life is turning around.  I’ve got some great things going for me and I feel confident that the darkness of the last few months is now behind me.  Sure, there are days that I wake up and just want to say, “Fuck it!” to life, but they’re fewer and farther between.  I’m going to keep my eyes focused on the goals I have and continue to soak up the positive energy of the people who love me and want the best for me.

Sending positive energy to you all!

Love and kisses,
Annie J

PS - I have internet at my apt now!  Posting should be more regular from here on out :-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

I Try To Be My Best

A while ago, I decided I wasn’t going to censor myself anymore. 

For my early 20’s I spent a lot of time trying to be perfect.  I wanted to be the perfect employee, friend, girlfriend, daughter, writer, singer, and renaissance woman.  What ended up happening is that I ended up being pretty good at a couple of those things (employee and friend) and really shitty at the rest.  My relationship with my family was stunted; my writing was lackluster and void of life; my singing was painful; and my many skills were rarely practiced.  I tried so hard to be someone I’m not that I ended up being only a fraction of myself. 

The best example of this is how I used to act around my family.  Because I was an angtsy and angry teenager/early-20-something, I would begrudgingly put in the obligatory time with them like weekly dinners and holidays but I would never feel like I was truly connected with any of them.  I was always censoring myself.  I wouldn’t talk to them the same way I talked to my friends; I talked to them as I would talk to a church pastor.  I hid parts of my life from them out of fear of their judgment and by doing so I couldn’t find a way to bond with any of my family. 

It wasn’t until I adopted a “love me as I am” view of life that I began to truly enjoy time spent with my family.  Now I’ll tell them about my adventures and share my opinions.  I’m not afraid to shock them and I’m not afraid they’ll judge me.  I’m sure they do judge, but because I’m unapologetic about my lifestyle and am (mostly) supporting myself in a decent life, I know that they don’t hold any of those judgments against me.  Now, the times I spend with my family are some of my most-cherished.

The people who are meant to love you will love you for who you are, not for who you pretend to be – I think I finally understand this.

I’ve also stopped apologizing for my emotions.  While I (typically) always try to be rational and logical, I’ve stopped trying to hide the less rational or logical parts of myself. 

This is not to say that I now routinely go around screaming at people when they’re rude to me or curling up into a ball and crying when they’re cruel to me.  Now, when I have an intense emotion, I share it – but in a calm and rational way.  Whereas the Annie Jay of the past would have either completely hidden the feelings and shied meekly away from whatever was causing the reaction or had a melodramatic breakdown for the entire world to see, the Annie Jay of today presents her feelings as facts to be weighed for consideration by other people. 

Wow I feel like a robot even typing the last part of that sentence, but I swear, it’s more freeing than it sounds.  Let me give you an example -

Instead of tearfully spitting out: I FUCKING HATE YOU, YOU GIANT DOUCHE CANOE!
Now, I take a deep breath (or 500 deep breaths depending on the circumstance) and say: I understand that you and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things.  Because of that, I have a hard time relating to you without my feelings getting hurt.  What can we do to get through this together?

It doesn’t always work (because – hey, I’m human) but I try over and over again to be honest about my feelings without alienating the people I’m trying to share them with.  I try to look at emotions as opportunities to experience personal growth. 

I especially try not to hide my positive feelings from people.  Sometimes I feel like positive feelings are hidden away more often than negative ones.  Perhaps this is because we’ve been taught by society not to boast and to be self-depricating instead of gracious.  Praise is seldom shared or accepted wholly.  I try very hard to spread the love instead of bogarting it.

If I love you, I will tell you I love you.  If you did something I liked, I will tell you that you did.  If I’m proud of you, I will tell you I am.  If I’m happy for your success, I will tell you I am (this one is hard when I feel that evil bitch “jealousy” sneak up on me, but even in those instances, I want my friends/family to know I’m happy for their success).  There is enough negativity bringing down the people in my life, I always want to be something to bring them back up. 

So how about you?  Are you still trying to be someone you think you ought to be instead of just trying to be the best YOU you can be?  Or do you have any tips that will help other people to be the best them they can be?  I’d love to hear from you.

Kissy faces,
Annie Jay

PS: Because you're all awesome, I'm guessing you've seen Joss Whedon's beautiful (but short-lived as always...) creation Dollhouse which is where my title comes from.  If you haven't seen it - check it out!