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a beautiful morning

I’ve been struggling for awhile. I’ve felt like a fraud. I’ve felt like I was faking a smile through the day and crying in my car on the way home. (Well, that is what I did. Several times.) I’ve been sick. I’ve been wallowing in self-pity. I’ve been yelling at God. Let’s just say… it’s been rough.

But today… today was different. Today started with a beautiful morning.

Let me start by saying — nothing extraordinary happened today. There was no winning Powerball ticket, I didn’t get asked on a date, I didn’t ace an exam, I didn’t see any giraffes or pageant queens. Instead, my day was pretty normal.

I woke up to a really sweet direct message on Instagram. The sun was shining in my window. I got a great night of sleep. I heard a good podcast. I held a sweet baby. I listened to my favorite jesus jams on my way to school. I drank a smoothie with some fruits and veggies in it. I went to tap class and had a productive, sweaty session of tapping and learning (my dance class is always the highlight of my week), and then I had a couple more classes where honestly nothing could stand in my way. I was smiling ear to ear. The day rounded out with a nap, a workout, a group meeting, dreaming of visiting Boston next week, and a much needed girl chat session with girls who are like family (over Indian food, of course.)

I think that’s why I am writing this now. My day was totally, completely, normal.

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I think that today I realized that I’ve been letting situations that are out of my control and people whom I can’t control cloud the fact that I get to be the authority figure in my life. The decisions I make every day, even the small ones, impact how I feel for that entire day. Today, I took control. I took to positivity, and love, and sunshine, and tap dance, and girl talk. I accepted the blessings in my life. As one of my favorite podcasts (SHE Podcast by Jordan Lee Dooley) would say… today I was not a blessing blocker.

Today, I felt alive. I felt like myself. I felt like the sun was shining in my direction. I felt like God was answering many prayers. I laughed. I gave some hugs. And damn, did I smile. I’ve started doing the #mytruthiestlife challenge with a friend and a large group of accountability pals online. It’s a challenge started by Lisa of ‘The Well Necessities’ that encourages us to rediscover who we are and what we want out of our own life. So far, I’m loving it. Our challenge this week was to think about our values and select our top five from a list… and then make meaningful decisions this week that are fueled by our values.

I can already feel the challenge working, inspiring me to think about myself in a different way, and to make conscious decisions that benefit my mental health, my relationships, and my overall sense of self. Maybe this is why my eyes were opened to the beauty within my average Tuesday.

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I’m a pretty positive person. At least, I hope so. When I confided in my friend about feeling like a ‘fraud’ for still trying to encourage others while I was struggling in my own life and she simply responded… “Just because you cry doesn’t mean you’re fake. It means you’re real.”

So here I am… posting my feels on the interweb again.

Today, I’m going to bed with a smile. A real one. A true one. I am thankful that a friend encouraged me to do the #mytruthiestlife challenge, and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to accept my blessings and move past the outside obstacles that have blocked my path.

Maybe tomorrow will be your day… your beautiful morning that leads to a beautiful day, a part of your big beautiful life. Maybe you’ll cry in your car. Whatever you do, don’t forget just how blessed you are and that you and only you are completely in control of your own life.

always,

Alex

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+Encouragement, -Toxicity

I have a sticker on my laptop that says, “Be An Encourager.”

I see it nearly every day. It’s the perfect reminder for who I want to be right now. I have been working on myself wholeheartedly since this spring. I made a conscious decision to be a better person. Well, scratch that. Perhaps, I acted with intent to strip away the years of negative self-talk, gossip, failed friendships, daggers in the back, and held-in bitterness that harbored so much hatred and hurt in my heart to reveal the person I have always been and have always wanted to be.

As my dance instructor stated today, “You are in charge of your own authority.” What she meant by this is that I have the right, the option, the privilege, the courage, and the power to be in charge of my own life. My faith and the amazing people in my life feed me love and support and strength, yes, but I am making decisions for me. Honestly, I don’t believe that I am changing who I am. I’m just becoming a more true version of myself. This true version of myself includes empowering others to live better and more true lives by making my own life a labor of love and choosing to remove toxicity from my mind/heart/soul/life.

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• • • On being encouraging • • • 

Whenever I’m asked what my biggest pet peeve is, I answer: “when people are fake.” My favorite word will always be authenticity and I see it as a core value to who I am as a person. However, I want to be an encourager. I want to support my friends, my family, women I barely know, people I don’t know, and anyone in between.

So here I am – balancing my authentic feelings and thoughts and brokenness and healing and awesomeness and magic and beauty and emotions and mishaps with my love for people and the feeling that my purpose in life is to make others’ lives better. I will never be fake. My support, my love, my encouragement will never be fake. I have a lot of love to give. I may not comment on all your posts or message you every day or be able to provide the perfect advice… but when I feel it, you’ll know that I felt it. Support doesn’t need to be seen. It needs to be felt.

How can I encourage others? How can I make others feel loved, supported, valued, and worthy? How can I make someone else smile?

How can you?

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• • • On removing toxicity • • • 

Now, let’s switch to the flip side. Since I have begun encouraging others openly and vocally, I have concurrently found myself attempting to remove toxicity from my life. That may be physically removing people from my life, quitting negative habits, or finally deciding to unfriend/unfollow certain accounts on social media.  Honestly, the social media accounts took a long time. I would look at these accounts to stay ‘in the loop’  because I hated to be uninformed. I saw knowledge as power and power was necessary for me to maintain my hard armor shell that protects my soft and easily-hurt heart. Deep down, however, I knew that this was unhealthy behavior. It didn’t help. It didn’t protect me. It didn’t give me power. It made me hurt, it made me weak, it made me angry, bitter, jealous, and resentful.

I find it hard to balance caring so much about people (not wanting to hurt others’ feelings) and not caring what other people think (because I value myself and believe that some things are truly toxic for my own mental health.) This mental gymnastics is really hard. I wasn’t giving myself authority. Those people and my allowance for them to continue to be in my life was toxic. It was time to let go.

I finally committed to myself and made those decisions to remove myself from toxic situations. I had someone ask me today, “Do you hate _______?” after knowing that this person and I had crossed paths negatively around a year ago. He asked this question in case we would all be mingling in the same group this week for homecoming celebrations. My response was simple… “I feel that that scenario would be toxic for my mental health and I’m not going to choose to put myself in that situation, but I’ll see you around!” I am putting myself first. I am putting my mental health first. Maybe that’s selfish to some… but it’s also self-love. I don’t need to speak negatively about that person or continue to be held up on negative experiences. Sometimes the mature thing is not to make a choice between forgive and forget, but to simply acknowledge that it happened and that you don’t need to place yourself in that situation or any situation that makes you uncomfortable.

In removing toxicity, I am being my own encourager. It’s okay if other people do not understand that.

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• • • On where I am • • • 

So that’s where I am. And I’m okay with that. I do not need to let the negative things weigh on my heart when I can simply acknowledge the existence and learn to live and breathe through them. I am currently trying to live and breathe and pray and work through my heartbreaks and to encourage others that they can do the same. I am being my own encourager by removing the roadblocks of negativity and toxicity that stand in my way. I am creating a life I love and learning to fulfill my purpose. I am staying true to who I am and discovering new things about myself every day. I am still a work in progress; an imperfect girl loved by a totally perfect God.

So, today and every day: I challenge you to encourage others but do not forget to encourage yourself and make ‘selfish’ decisions that benefit your heart, soul, and mind.

always,

Alex

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