I’ve really struggled this month with staying positive and I’ve been feeling discouraged by a slight relapse into negative thinking patterns. I’ve also been saddened by the sudden lost a friend this week, who was a genuinely good person and had a kind authentic soul. But the other day I came across the following quote:
and later on I found this:
These quotes helped to re-frame how I’ve been thinking lately and spurred the following thoughts I jotted down in my journal last night:
“I am just realizing I have been stuck inside my head these last few weeks and started to really believe that the negative thoughts I have about myself are the truth of who I am. I need to remind myself that I don’t have to live a life where I am unhappy and dislike myself.
I am responsible for my own happiness and for creating my own reality. I want to create a life built on love- love for myself and for others- a life where I find and focus on joy and happiness in every moment instead of choosing to focus on the negative. I want to get back to the basics of life, an honest, authentic and unselfishness life invested in the happiness of the people around me- a life where I truly believe I am enough and worthy of love, worthy of happiness…A life where I choose to forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made and the hurt I’ve done to myself and where I choose forgiveness towards others that I feel have wronged me instead of holding onto anger and resentment.
I can have that life. anyone can have that life.
I just have to continually remind myself of this especially when I start to feel I am sliding into the false world I created for myself based on negative thinking and behavioral patterns.
I am more than my thoughts & there is more to life outside my head and self-obsession.
I choose to make a life of love and joy- and I choose to continue to fight for that life for as long as it takes.”
This is my mantra and affirmation for the month of January 2015.
p.s. (I’m not even sure if anyone else struggles to remember these things, but you aren’t alone if you do. )
p.p.s. sorry for the self-absorbed focus, but I guess that’s what a blog is aye?
I put together a little Holiday Themed Art Journal Idea List, some of the ideas are a bit simple but fun.
I always find myself journaling and sketching a lot over the Christmas and New Years breaks. I think it’s my way of reflecting on everything that happened over the past year as well as gearing up for the new year ahead (also because I usually like to start the new new calendar year off with a fresh journal so I try to fill up the remaining pages in the old one). Also, I am one of those people who religiously comes up with New Years Resolutions every year…The older I get, the more it’s becoming a bucket list and a reminder for me that life is moving fast. I am a big list person too…I just feel better about my lack of organizational skills when I can cross off even the most mundane tasks.
I also rounded up some of my favorite journal pages from this year….they are nothing like some of the pages I see of other artists on pinterest or tumblr…but they make me happy 🙂 Some of them can fit as examples for the Winter themed list so Ill note them if they do…
e e cummings mixed media art journal collage page
One of my favorite things to do is write down inspiring quotes, passages, poems r song lyrics I come across and then create some sort of art around it.
As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved being active. I used to follow my dad to the gym and he taught me at about 6 years old how to use the cardio machines. I’ve gone through many fitness phases throughout the years, but they always centered around a cardio machine like the elliptical or the treadmill. In my craziest fitness days, I would spend upwards of 2 hours on the elliptical or running on the treadmill- slowly watching my calories burnt. No doubt, I over did it- and with severe lower back and hip pain (and sciatica) from an early age, all of the repetitive pressure I put on my bones, I ended up completely wearing my body out. Friends, family members and my chiropractor all suggested yoga and countless times and in my stubbornness, I refused, also countless times.
This past winter I hit a brick wall physically. I was desperate to go to the gym and sweat out my issues but every time I got on a treadmill, the pain quickly became to much to continue. So, I figured, okay, let’s try this yoga bs every one is talking about. Considering myself “athletic”(I’m about as bendy as a plank of wood) I had no time for the beginner yoga videos, and went straight to intermediate- where I managed within the first 5 minutes to pull a muscle in my back.
It wasn’t until a few months later when one of my best girl friends was visiting from Oregon, that I seriously considered yoga again. When I picked her up from the airport, I immediately noticed how fit and toned she was. She radiated good health and I wanted some of that…she had been practicing yoga religiously for the past few years and it showed.Every night and every morning she practiced and even had me doing a few poses.
After that, I found myself more and more drawn to yoga and I was determined to do it and do it right. (Which was NOT easy). I bought an informative book of yoga, Hatha Yoga Illustrated by Kirk, Boon, and DiTuro, with a short history of yoga, the different practices, meditation and a large index of poses with helpful tips. I also joined in on a yoga challenge on instagram with a few friends. I found that the more I practiced, the better I felt. I woke up one morning with no back pain at all- which hasn’t happened in over 20 years. I was also pleasantly surprised at the sense of peace and calm that I found while practicing. I found that I loved practicing yoga outdoors, at night, staring at the stars and had some wonderfully blissful and content moments (which for me, is very rare).
I honestly think the world would be a much happier place if everyone practiced yoga. Hopefully, you will join me on this yoga journey! You can find me on instagram at: jessbobessyoga (I promise my account will make you feel better about your practice because I am not kidding when I say I am def. a beginner!) And as always, I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on yoga and what you find most difficult and most beneficial. Email me at: email@example.com.
Here are 8 tips I compiled to help those like me, who are starting out on their yoga journey!
I hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful super moon! A time for new beginnings!
See what I did there…With the title? Yeah, I need to get out more. Before I start in to my epic blue hair adventures, I just want to thank all of my friends, family and anyone else out there who read my last blog post: “Blessed are The Cracked…” I struggled with posting it for a long time, as it went deeper than I usually go.
But when I posted a link to the article on my Facebook page (in an outright act of shameless self-promotion, and deleted it twice before I left it there) I was so blown away by everyones kind words and encouragement. I was walking around glowing for the entire day and it was such a boost in confidence that Im surprised I didn’t sprout peacock feathers out my bum! So thanks again.
Now, I will be the first to tell you, that I get quickly excited about ideas and don’t always think my them through. I just get caught up in the moment and fail to think clearly.
I convinced myself that I was mentally prepared to dye my hair because I went so far as to create a profile on Taaz.com (a website where you can try out different hair styles and make up using pictures of yourself). My idea of “thinking this through” was to upload a picture and try out some different hair styles. I promptly found and tried the only blue hair color style available, (on the gorgeous katy Perry). This is the picture they had:
Gorgeous right? Yeah. Aaaaaaand well, here is how mine turned out….just in case you haven’t laughed today…
Me and Katy are practically twins! But really, the website was actually really great and these “virtual makeover” websites have come a long way in the years since they first came out and I did it in high school, a good 15 years ago (and I am glad those photos can never be unearthed). Taaz.com, allowed you to contour the hair style to fit better onto your head (as my head is huge and round like a basketball). but I wasn’t done yet! so my next step was to download a free iPhone app called Make With Beauty that allowed me to take a picture of myself and change the color of my hair already. I couldn’t figure out how manipulate the hair color effectively in the app and my hair always ended up looking like it would glow in the dark. but the idea was to see what I would look like with a lighter shade of blue:
Looks like I dipped my head in some radioactive goo…A little to neon/glow in the dark for me- but still closer to what I wanted.
so by now I was getting pretty pumped up about the idea…Maybe a little too excited because following morning, I woke up and went straight to Ulta, where I hastily picked up a bottle of Jerome Russell’s Punky Colour in turquoise for only $9.99.
And here is when things get sketchy…
in my haste/over-excitement… I didn’t read the directions or the label completely and carefully and what I thought was NON permanent was actually SEMI- Permanent (the back says 5-40 washes).Which is a problem because I needed my hair to be back to a natural blonde hair color by the following week for work.
The directions said to leave it in your hair for 20-40 minutes and since I wanted a lighter color of blue (that would wash out quickly) I left it in for only 15 minutes. Little did I know that my hair was the PERFECT type (damaged, bleached, blonde, dry) to absorb and hang on to allll of the turquoise color.
After I washed out the hair dye, I took a look in the mirror and spent the next few hours washing my hair over and over in a blue blur of anxiety attacks and hyper-ventilating. I called out for help from friends on Facebook and Instagram, and read several articles for home hair color lifter remedies (I wasn’t close t0 being able to leave the house). With friends help and a great article on Wikihow (which I highly suggest looking at if you find yourself in the same position as I did) I tried all sorts of home remedies: soaking my hair in crushed vitamin C tablets, adding dish soap to my shampoo, adding laundry detergent to my shampoo, , adding baking soda to dandruff shampoo and again washing. These helped to lighten the color somewhat but left me with a new and even scarier problem: severe hair breakage!
It was during my cry for help from my friends on social media that my old college roommate introduced me to the amazing Alison and her blog The Alison Show. She had also dyed her hair a similar color, although she went the preferable route: to a hair stylist. She was so kind and reached out to me and said that she too freaked out when she first saw her hair in the mirror but that it washed out so quickly that she wished it had stayed longer.
After 48 hours of locking myself in my house and washing my hair over 10 times, I had resigned myself to my immediate future as a blue-headed smurf.
Within a few days I ended up really liking my mermaid hair and wishing I could keep it longer,
So here are some of my tips for if you want to dye your hair blue, green, pink or any other fabulous combination:
1) always READ THE LABEL carefully!
2) Before doing a semi-permanant or permanent color try something that will wash out in 2 to 3 washes such as:
3) Try out different styles using a smart phone app or Taaz.com
4) Be emotionally prepared!
5) Consider the damage level that any hair dye does to your hair
have fun and dye away. If you have any pictures or stories about your wild hair dye adventures, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with pictures and your story and I will share it!
Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Be safe and have fun!
A bright light in our world went out and now my heart feels heavy. With everything going on in the world right now: the unending riots in Ferguson, and the constant ISIS terrorist threats, just to name a few, it is Robin Williams’ unexpected suicide that I constantly find myself thinking about. I feel guilty that out of all of the chaos, death, and injustice going on around the world, it is the death of an actor that has affected me most. I asked myself why that is and I think it’s because his suicide was so unexpected and it is sad to think that someone who brought so much joy and happiness to the world, could be so unhappy himself.
The loss of any human life is painful, but something about Robin Williams’ suicide saddens me to the very core of my being. I have first hand experience with depression and feelings of hopelessness that Robin must have been feeling in order to take his life. And while I struggle with being “real” and transparent about anything serious on my blog (or any other of my social media outlets) about my life but I realized that writing posts like this were the reason I started blogging in the first place about 10 years ago and that is:
to reach out and connect to someone (anyone) who like me, often feels “different,” struggles with depression or anxiety, feels hopeless, like they don’t fit in, that are depressed…
and although I try to hide my struggle from friends and family, I think it’s pretty obvious to the people in my “World,” who try to get to know me, (my friends, family, co-workers, ect), know there is something “different” about me. I’m the friend who falls off the planet for days, weeks, months at a time, the friend who cancels plans and no one hears from, who isolates themselves, sleeps too much… my family and other loved ones kindly skirt around the issue but I struggle with depression and have since I was 15 years old.
What saddens me so much about Robin’s death is that…no one really saw it coming and I hope that he had people he could trust in his life and who loved him unconditionally- his wife, his daughter and I hope he knows he was loved.
and now finally I am getting to the point of this post….
it’s okay. I promise. I swear. It gets better. I know that’s not much, but I have been there in that dark, hopeless place where there is no light, no exit.
And while I never contemplated suicide, there were so many times in my life that I thought I could never be happy in life- where sleeping was always a better option for me than living life- that the drain of just being awake and conscious was sometimes to much-
just keep going. one foot in front of the other, baby steps. Don’t stop striving to be happy, develop your passions (no matter what they are), and when things get hard or tough, try to remember that (and this is what I wish I could tell the 12 year old version of myself, for the 16 year old version of my self, the 23 year old version of myself):
you are not alone. however helpless or alone you might feel. I can tell you because I have been in that place- a place I never thought I could leave- and I did.
I have come up with a list of 15 things I hope will be helpful for anyone who has ever been depressed:
1. Talk to someone, anyone. A friend, family member, co-worker, or anyone you feel you can trust. It is important to get your thoughts out of your head and also a welcome relief to feel that you no longer have to struggle completely alone. Don’t feel that you have anyone to talk too? There are hotlines and chatrooms created with the sole purpose of helping people struggling with depression: http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=urgent_crisis_hotline has a list of resources. Still unsure? My email address is email@example.com, I am here.
Whatever makes you laugh, do it: silly dancing, corny jokes, baby kittens…find your happy place and visit it often. Laughing is not only a quick way to boost your mood, but the neurological process of laughing also releases endorphins and gives your body a boost of adrenaline (much like exercising), leaving you in a better mental place.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others. In today’s society, with all of our social media outlets, it is hard for me to NOT constantly be comparing myself to other people. Be content with where you are in life and who you are..stay focused on your own hopes and dreams and remain true to what makes you happy. I am not Kim Kardashian and I may not be at the same point in life where it seems many of peers are, but thats okay and I have to constantly remind myself that it is ok. This is your life, and your journey, no one else’s! One of the hardest things for me to do is to change my negative thinking patterns. I noticed that for me, most days I struggle with starting a new day with a positive frame of mind and I used to find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning…once I realized this about myself (and it took longer than you would think!) I had to start forcing myself to think positively in the morning and started coming up with (or borrowing) little phrases or mantras to “trick” myself into thinking positively. To this day, I still go back to one of my favorite mental health spokespersons:
and his favorite phrases: “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful” and “Baby steps.” Interestingly enough, when I tell myself this in the morning before I get out of bed, I end up feeling better, greater and more wonderful.
4. Spend time outdoors/ be Active.
Research has shown that sunlight is a natural mood booster and one of the easiest ways to fight depression by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. The sun is also is a rich source of Vitamin D and is also shown to help in bone health, heart health and to reduce the chance of strokes. I enjoy spend time outdoors: hiking in the woods, doing yoga or simply taking the time to be in awe of Nature by listening and looking. I have a habit of collecting leaves, feathers, branches, twigs, stones, seashells..ect…
and keep a couple of my favorite ones in a vase by my bed. I sincerely feel that spending time outdoors as one of the best ways to re-focus on whats important and to remember that beauty and life is all around me, all I have to do is pay attention to it.
5. Keep a journal.
I find this especially helpful, if you are like me and tend to be more introverted and have trouble opening up. It helps me to look back on my journals and to reflect on how far I have come. It is also a great way to motivate yourself and a place to channel your inspirations. It also gives you a place to write down positive quotes, bucket lists, and to keep track of happy memories such as: concert tickets stubs and photos.
6. Keep a daily routine. If you are like me, or the dog in the video in #`1with a case of the Mondays, this is not easy. I confess, This is one of the HARDEST things for me to do. The idea of a consistent, daily routine always scared me and I still struggle with it every day. I always made excuses for why I didn’t need a daily routine…but sometimes this is a very important step for those who struggle with depression. I love sleeping, I always have and used to put off getting up until the very last moment. But as a result, I never gave myself time to wake up, reflect on the day, focus on what i wanted to get done and to have a general sense of well-being. Even though the initial half an hour or so after I am up is a struggle, I feel better, more calm and more prepared for the day when I have given myself time in the morning before rushing off.
7. Consider meditation/yoga. (dwell in the moment)
This one fits in with many of the other tips. Giving yourself time to reflect on life, or even to be still and think about nothing but your breath, helps to clear your head and give you a sense of well-being. I scoffed at the idea of quiet meditation for a long time, thinking it sounded to new age or something for me. I also have very little patience and always thought “There is no way I could ever sit still for an hour thinking about nothing.” And that thought is still true! I lowered my expectations and started timing myself of how long I could just “be still.” I don’t think I have ever made it past 60 seconds until my mind has wandered. But if you are intentional in trying and most of all, patient with yourself, you will get better at it and be better for it.
8. Make plans for the future. Have an old friend you want to visit? (Cassie, I’m coming for you!) or have you always wanted to take a road trip, visit the Lourve, eat real soul food? While spending too much time thinking about the future and not enough time in the present is not healthy, it is important to have something in your life to look forward too. It could be that you are unhappy in your career or with your health. Maybe you have always wanted to write a novel or take an art class. It could be as simple as thinking about something different and fun you always wanted to cook for dinner- just give yourself something to look forward to every day!
9. Weed out negative influences/people from your life.
easier said then done right? If you are human, chances are you come in contact with unhappy people or negative situations SEVERAL times a day. At my current customer service job, I deal with many unhappy people and even when I try to remain positive, negativity is draining and wears you down. There is a difference from coming in contact with negative people or situations and ALLOWING negative people/influences space in your life and brain. Do your best when you must deal with these situations. Be your best self and you will leave the situation with confidence and self-assurance, knowing that you did your best. But, unhappy people, generally don’t like happy people and may try to bring you down with them (misery loves company). Don’t let them- shrug them off and go your own way (frolic in the fields, hug your dog, laugh with a friend) and don’t waste any more of your time or brain space on them than is absolutely necessary. Most importantly don’t feel guilty about being happy.
10. Create something.
You don’t have to have graduated from art school to create something beautiful that brings you and others joy and happiness. Maybe you love baking cookies or always wanted to build a bird house. There is something very satisfying in creating something that took a lot of hard work and being able to look at with a sense of pride (even if it didn’t turn out the way you thought it would when you started) and thinking “I made this.” Even better if you can share it with the people in your life.
11. Take time for yourself. Again, this ties in to many of the other tips. But I just want to re-affirm that it is okay to take time for yourself, doing something that makes you happy. Many of us have spouses, children, parents, friends, co-workers that we spend most of our time and energy on and that is a good and healthy thing (see #13). But at the same time, you shouldn’t be walking around feeling like a zombie, drained of emotional and physical energy. You are your able to be your best version of yourself for others, and for you when you are re-charged and re-energized. I would love nothing more than an hour long massage by a professional massage therapist (complete with the aromatherapy candles, oils, and whale nosies playing in the background) every few days if time and money allowed. Maybe it’s getting a manicure or having a glass of wine and reading a good book for 30 minutes after everyone else in the house is asleep. These little moments will re-charge you.
12. renew your sense of purpose in life. All of us have hopes and dreams and desires for our lives. And as we get older, our lives our shaping up to be very different than what we imagined they would be when we were young and carefree (and that’s okay). While I wouldn’t change anything that has happened to me in my life (the good and the bad), because it made me who I am today..rememembering what I am passionate about gives me a greater sense of purpose in life. Don’t sell yourself short of your daydreams and don’t let anyone talk to you out of what you know you want (unless you’ve always wanted to be a gas station attendant or a tool booth worker…then we made need to talk).
13. give back/ invest in relationships.
Balance in life is so important. Too much time spent on only on yourself will cause imbalance, just as much as too much time spent on others (and not enough time for yourself) will leave you completely drained. I promise there is someone out there who feels lost and who could use you in their life. I also guarantee that there is someone out there that YOU are important to and who would love to hear from you. Maybe you are not ready to open up to people which brings me to my next point…
14. Adopt a Pet.
The best thing I did when i first moved in to my own place 8 years ago and was feeling particularly alone and easily sad was adopting my dog Henri. There is something so wonderful about always coming home and knowing that my dog missed me and is happy to see me. I don’t argue that pets are a big responsibility and you should always consider your realistic limitations (such as money, time away from home, space). If you are not in the position for a bigger animal, how about a bird, or hamster, or even a fish!
15. Don’t ever give up. Finally, and most importantly, don’t forget that there is ALWAYS hope. You can and will be happy. Life is a gift. I mean it. We have all made mistakes, but that is what it means to be alive and to be human. Today is a new day. Trust me, I know this mushy positive talk is annoying when you are depressed. But please, if you take one thing away from this post, let it be that, I know you will make it through this and you can be happy. Chances are, if you are like me, dealing with depression will likely be something I struggle seriously with again at some point- but even when that happens, there is hope.
And I leave you with this beautiful tribute to Robin Williams and his thoughts on the beauty of life:
“Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this earth. Life is fleeting. And if you are ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky, and the stars that are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting start streaks through the blackness, turning night into day, make a wish. Think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.”
– Robin Williams
All photos used in this post are mine, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use, just please credit me and link back to my blog. Thank you so much!
Lately, I have been reading the Happiness Project, a memoir by Gretchen Rubin. I picked it up, after much hesitation since I had been seeing it everywhere and was a little weary of it, for a couple of reasons. My personal life took a drastic and unexpected turn about a month ago and I was forced to reevaluate my life. I realized that I had not been happy and was not living my “best” life. Every day life had gotten ahold of me and I had stopped enjoying the little things like spending time with my loved ones, taking time to reflect and relax, and doing new and exciting things. This sparked an idea I had to come up with my own bucket list. Well, not a bucket list, but a “life list.” I started compiling a list of things that I wanted to do (not necessarily before I died) that I had been missing out on. My list included simple things like: “cooking dinner more,” “buying a bike”, “spend more time outdoors.” Things that I have always wanted to do and always told myself I would do, but never got around too. I started compiling them in a journal and it kind of took on a life of it’s own.
So far, my list is 72 items and counting.
The first thing I did on my list, was the most physically noticeable and required the least amount of effort on my part: #18: cut all my hair off! Now, let me explain why this is a big deal. The last time I cut my hair more than an inch every two months or so, was when I was in the 3rd grade (over 20 years ago!) Of course, this was pre-puberty and my peers were merciless. Even adults made comments on it. My brother told me years later that his teacher asked him that first day I came to school after my hair cut, “who is the new boy at school?”
I tried finding my year book photo but this is the closest pic I could find…another bad hair cut idea of mine (the perm)
Needless to say, I was scarred and scared to cut my hair after that so I let it go and it got looooooong.
So one Sunday morning a couple weeks ago, I was having breakfast with an old friend and told her I wanted to cut my hair. She got excited and we called around to different salons and took the first open appointment. By lunch time 21 inches of my hair was in a baggy and most of my hair was gone!
It really is amazing how doing something as simple as cutting your hair can make you feel like a new person and spark you to make changes.
Has anyone else read the Happiness Project and/or made a life/bucket list?
Due to certain recent depressing and drastic circumstances in my life over the last few days(which I wont even bring up here in my happy place…but if you want to feel better about your life…go here: http://www.blessedrthecracked.blogspot.com) I have decided come up with an ever growing list of things i want to do…I wouldn’t call it a bucket list, b.c they aren’t all things I want to do before i die; they are all things I want to do to live a happier and fulfilling life. This is what i was up working on all night since I cant sleep (due to those depressing and drastic circumstances mentioned earlier): the first page of my little “life list”:
(although I am trying to think of a better name for it) I thought my artist friends might enjoy this…Does anyone else have a “bucket list” or a life list of things they want to do soon? I would love to hear them! (and not only b.c. I can add them to my list).
If I was more organized (That day will never come) I would love to do artistic journaling- but my life and my (lack of) organization skills tends to make my most recent journal entries scribbled words and to do lists. Not so inspiring.