2022 Progress Report: Proud and Grateful

As the year slowly comes to a close, I am looking forward to continue my healing into 2023. I have learned so much about myself over this year, and I am honestly very proud of my growth. I think back to when my mother had her stroke in February, and how instead of sitting and worrying about if or when she would have another one, I instead turned to gratitude. I was grateful that she is still here, and she can function normally and on her own; she is truly blessed, and I feel the same way. If this were to have happened a few years ago, I would have spiraled for probably months, just riddled with anxiety. I am proud of the fact that I find it easier to turn to gratitude during tough times.

I also am grateful that I am getting better at communicating when I am bothered by something. A few months ago, I was able to have a conversation with a close friend about something that I felt like could have been confrontational or maybe even hurtful. Although I was anxious about it, I was able to clearly communicate my intentions and thoughts, and because she is a good friend, I felt heard and understood during that conversation! I am proud that instead of just being quiet about it and building up resentment, I decided to speak up for myself and discuss my feelings. As someone who has avoided conflict and kept quiet her whole life, that one single act felt like it broke a huge barrier for me, and for that I am proud of myself.

Throughout the year I’ve struggled with judgment; truly it’s been me judging myself for judging others, and then realizing that those judgments I had towards others were actually the judgments I had towards myself. I had read about that in a book, and I’ve also heard it on podcasts before, but it really clicked this year. Although there have been a lot of hard truths to swallow, it has also been calming in a way to release that urge to control or “rescue” others. In reality, I only have the power to control or “rescue” myself, and that is what I will continue to focus on.

I am so grateful to have access to therapy and to have found such amazing podcasts that I enjoy listening to. I also am happy that I started reading more books again this year, and I plan to read even more in 2023. I plan to dedicate time to myself each day, even if only for one minute on some days, because I deserve that love and attention from myself. I plan to be authentic and honest and speak up for myself whenever needed, and I plan to be unapologetic about setting healthy boundaries. I am planning to be less busy and live calmer and slower; after living with a dysregulated nervous system for most of my life, I want to do my absolute best to try to regulate it.

2023: More connecting with nature, less connecting with technology. More reading books, less scrolling through Instagram. More time doing what I love, less wasting time doing things that don’t align with me. More pausing and slowing down, less rushing and stressing. More focusing on my values and goals, less judging and doubting myself. I am doing only what I feel is best for me, and I won’t feel guilty about it.

Good morning, Saturday.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty rested and relieved when I remembered it is Saturday. Having Thanksgiving off and then working in the office on Friday kind of threw me off a bit, but I’m definitely glad it’s the weekend and I am grateful not to work retail. That being said, make sure you’re being kind to all of the people who are working during the holidays! And while you’re at it, be kind after the holidays are over as well!

I still find it so crazy how the brain focuses so easily on the negative, yet not the positive. I am working hard focusing on gratitude and changing my perspective to a more positive frame of mind, but as a human I also know that we should feel through our emotions and not ignore them. It’s definitely a balance, and it’s always a struggle during this wonderful time or the month, but I owe it to myself to continue working on my healing and mental health journey.

What I have been struggling with the most is letting go. As of this morning, I feel the best I have about a recent situation that has been bothering me, which makes me feel happy. I need to re-read The Four Agreements, and in the meantime I need to practice those four principles: be impeccable with my word, don’t make assumptions, don’t take anything personally, and do my best.

Truly what anyone thinks about me doesn’t matter, because I know what I think of me. Although I have times where I talk myself into feeling bad about myself, I also know that I am a human who is ever-evolving and changing. It’s okay to let go of those who no longer serve your growth and journey, or even just having some distance. It’s definitely hard when you have love for someone, yet now you can see red flags and it’s impossible to unsee.

I understand two things can be true at once: someone can be jealous of you and proud of you, but what if the jealousy outweighs the love? It’s not their fault as they have their own insecurities, but at the same time, they’re the only one who can work through those feelings. It is not my job to fix anyone, it is my job to heal myself and work on being the person I want to be in life. It is important to meet people where they are, and at the same time, sometimes it’s okay to leave them there.

I have to remember that I will not always please everybody, and I will hurt people and their feelings in setting boundaries. It is not in my control how others react or live their lives, but how I live mine and how I act is in my control. I no longer wish to interact with those who aren’t truly happy for me, and although I will continue to be nice, I will be putting myself first, because I deserve it.

(found on instagram)

Another day, Another post

Today was my second Wednesday off after starting my new schedule! I got breakfast with a good friend for her birthday this morning, and once I was home I did some dishes and laundry. I made sure to get my groceries yesterday after work instead of today, so I had the whole day free to do whatever!

I listened to a few podcasts, went on a walk, and even was able to join Gabrielle Bernstein’s zoom call where she recorded an episode of “Dear Gabby!” I honestly almost chickened out, but I was so glad I didn’t! There were about 80 participants in the meeting, all of us could chat and we remained muted unless we were picked to ask her a question!

It was nice listening to other people and remembering that we are all truly so similar; imagine what we could accomplish if we’d just take the time to listen and have real conversations with others. I honestly even cried listening to her speak and answer questions, and again it was just happy tears feeling like I was where I was supposed to be!

Over the weekend I picked up a couple of Gabby’s books, one of which my mom was nice enough to get for me as an early birthday gift! We had gone out for breakfast together and went to the bookstore afterwards, and that’s where I picked up “Judgement Detox,” and then I found “Happy Days.” I was originally looking for “Happy Days,” so when I finally found it my mom said that would be my gift from her and my dad for my birthday, and I am so grateful!

I haven’t started them yet, as I am already currently reading two books, but I am ready to dedicate time to reading more again so I can move onto her books next! I have been feeling good lately and plan to keep it that way; I had to mute some accounts on instagram just to escape from some of the negativity and drama, and honestly I am proud of myself for setting that boundary.

For a while now I haven’t followed any news or radio shows, because I am tired of consuming tragedy after tragedy and feeling like everything I see is horrible. I’d rather feed my brain with positivity, growth, and happiness. I prefer to not be ignorant to the current events, but I can also seek information out on my own and try to find unbiased sources, rather than believing everything that people share on social media.

Social media definitely has major impacts on mental health (just google it), which is why I do my best to keep everything on my page positive and I like/save positive posts to help the algorithm share more of those things to my feed. We choose what we consume on a daily basis, make sure you pay attention to what you feed your brain.

Overwhelmed with Emotions.

My last post was a week ago, a day after my mother’s stroke. I am blessed to say that my mother is home now and living a normal life. She is still having some minor mobility issues with her left hand/fingers, but overall she is recovering well! I feel so grateful every day that I still have my mother here, and honestly, things have already changed a lot for her since the stroke. My mother has smoked cigarettes for decades now, and she has not had one since her stroke. She will keep an unlit cigarette by her at home and will sometimes do the motion like she is smoking it, but she still hasn’t actually smoked one. She also has only had one beer- this is the woman who has been drinking beer and hard liquor every night since I was seven years old! She hasn’t had any feelings of withdrawal, and she is doing an amazing job.

Over this week I have had a bunch of emotions come up; I found myself crying randomly at home or driving to/from work. Every time that I found myself crying, I realized that there weren’t sad tears… they were tears of joy. I was feeling so overwhelmingly grateful to the universe that my mother is okay and still gets to live a normal life. I also felt a huge sense of accomplishment for myself, because I am no longer on anxiety medication and I handled this situation better than I ever expected to. My boyfriend said to me: “I am so proud of you. I feel like if this would have happened two years ago, you would have folded up like a lawn chair” (LOL), and he is right!

In the past, I would be thinking so far into the future about “what if she has another stroke and she isn’t so lucky that time?” or “what if she stops taking her medications and starts drinking/smoking again?” To be fair, these thoughts have obviously crossed my mind, but I am able to redirect them and remind myself that we can only take life day by day. The other day when I found myself asking those hypotheticals, I said to myself: “Today my mom is alive. She has not had a cigarette, and she hasn’t had any hard alcohol; today is a good day.” I am finding it easier and easier to rewire my bad thoughts into thoughts of gratitude or positivity, and realizing that made me break down in tears (more than once).

For a long time, I truly thought I would never be able to get off of my medication. I thought I would have to rely on them forever and I would never be able to truly handle my emotions or traumas on my own. And don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being on medications for life, especially if they are working to keep you alive and well. I just always have had this goal of being able to come off of my medications and truly see if I can handle things “on my own.” For this event to occur while I have been off my medication for seven months, and for me to be able to handle it well without shutting down, feeling guilty, or continuously looping terrible future scenarios over and over again in my head, I am impressed with myself.

I always find myself choking up when I tell my boyfriend that I never thought I could handle anything like this without medication or without having panic attacks. I am insanely proud of myself for continuing therapy, reading self-help books, and listening to some eye-opening self-reflection podcasts. I honestly feel like the hard truths and hard questions are what has helped me be able to make progress in my brain. I feel like I’ve just reached this goal that I once thought was unachievable, and I just want everyone else to be able to do the same thing. I want people to cry tears of joy because they can see and feel their own progress. I want people to see life in a new, more positive light. I want everyone to do the hard work for yourself, because you are always worth it! We all truly deserve to be the best versions of ourselves, and we deserve to be proud of ourselves. I hope everyone has a great week ahead. ♡

Appreciate.

I always make sure that the ones closest to me are appreciated. My boyfriend is the person who does the most for me, and I tell him every day how much I appreciate him and make sure he feels loved. We’ve been together since we were 16, and I’m 26 now. We always make sure we are supporting one another and caring for one another. I am grateful everyday that I have him in my life, and I make him a top priority as this benefits both of us in our life together.

As we grow older, we tend to grow away from people. I see myself growing away from friendships; I am seeing which friendships are healthy and which ones aren’t. I go through a battle in my head where I debate bringing up my observations to friends in fear of offending them, but at the same time, I feel like a bad friend if I am observing a friend display some unhealthy behaviors and I never bring it to their attention.

I also know I am not a doctor or expert on mental health, but there are truly some things that are just obvious. People also love to share their lives on the internet so more people can observe these behaviors. I honestly truly feel that everyone can benefit from therapy, and especially when you have a known mental illness and/or diagnosis. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to work on yourself so you can have a better life for yourself?

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I understand that therapy isn’t something everyone can afford, but there are things we can do on our own that can help make our daily lives better. One of those things is practicing gratitude: focus on what you have and appreciate your blessings! You tend to forget how good you have it when you don’t take the time to acknowledge and appreciate.

Another good way to take care of yourself is to take social media breaks; I saw that Lush Cosmetics recently deleted all social media platforms in lieu of information that came out about how terrible instagram is for young teens’ mental health. The constant comparing yourself to others, seeing how others are “better” or “prettier” is a sure way to feel unsatisfied in your current life.

I am glad that I have been able to go to therapy and learn to practice better habits in my life. I am so blessed to have a wonderful man in my life, supportive friends/family, and my three beautiful kitties! My boyfriend and I are blessed to have good jobs, a spacious townhome, and reliable cars that we enjoy. Of course we all have struggles and tough times that come about, but it’s so important to count your blessings whenever you can.

Anniversary Weekend

Today my boyfriend and I are celebrating 10 years together! He’s currently driving us back home from our yummy lunch at P.F. Changs, and we are just going to chill together for the rest of the day. It’s so crazy to think that we started dating at 16 years old, and here we are 10 years later living the best life together.

My boyfriend and I moved out to our first apartment together when we were 19, and we bought our townhome together at 21! Over the years here we have had to update some pretty big ticket items around the house, but luckily this will benefit us later on when it’s time to sell or rent it out! There are still quite a few things we want to update around the house over the next few years, but for now we’re focusing on paying down the debts from those unexpected updates.

People are always asking when we’re going to get engaged/married/have kids/etc, and honestly it doesn’t bother me as I know we have been together for a while, but I don’t really even have an answer for anyone. I know that my boyfriend is trying to get me a ring that is too expensive, and with what we are trying to accomplish with our budget, I don’t know when that will be possible for him. He won’t budge on his decision, even though he knows I’d take a $500 ring, but that’s his choice.

I’ve always said my minimum age for having kids is 28, and I just turned 26 a couple months ago, so I am still on my timeline for that! Of course I always have that fear that I won’t be able to get pregnant, but luckily there are options like IVF and adoption! And if it comes to those options, I am blessed to have my wonderful man by my side for those times. I am so happy that we have come this far, and I know we will be able to handle anything together.

I honestly was kind shocked when I had a friend reach out to me yesterday – she told me to let her know if “anything happens” today, meaning a proposal. I let her know that it was not going to happen today, as my boyfriend and I already talked about everything, and her response was “I’m sorry.” Sorry? For what?

In my head, I was thinking “do my friends just feel bad for me? they think I’m not happy until I’m engaged?” I think it really just threw me off as she has known me for longer than I’ve been with my boyfriend, and I am very content with my life, which makes me think that she thinks I shouldn’t be. It may not be the case, I mean she’s already married and has a child, but I don’t compare my life with everyone else’s like most do, so I guess that could be why she assumed I’m unhappy? I really don’t know, it just didn’t really sit right with me.

I’ve been having a lot of thoughts and realizations lately, which is making me want to just cut off a bunch of people. I feel like it’s better to hang out with people who want to share ideas and life goals, and try to make plans to make dreams a reality. I’d rather not be around people who just want to talk about other people and judge everyone. I’ll be 100% honest, I have been a judgmental person, and I don’t want to be that way; I’d much rather take the time to understand where people are coming from and why they make the decisions that they do.

I’ve always had empathy for others, and I have always fallen in the middle of most debates and issues as I can literally see both sides of pretty much everything! I feel like that is also a majority of people, but we get lost in our social bubbles and the influences around us. I feel like it’s important to be open and understanding with all people, as when we ask questions and try to understand where people are coming from, we often learn new perspectives and ideas. Isn’t that what life is all about?

There is an overall lack of empathy and understanding in the world, and it will be detrimental to us all in the long run. I really want to do something to encourage more open discussions and ideas; my boyfriend and I have talked about doing a twitch stream and that may be where this starts. I’ll keep you posted on that! I hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Happy Sunday.

Today I woke up and made breakfast for myself and my boyfriend, and we enjoyed a calm morning together. I spent most of the rest of the day crafting, preparing for my first small shop drop on September 10th! Since not too many people I know follow my blog on here, I want to share a little sneak peak of the drop items on here!

I want to do a relatively small drop for my first one, as I have no clue if people will be interested/participating on this one, and I already have 17 items available for purchase! I am excited about everything I’ve made, and I’m feeling a lot more creative and confident about my crafting!

I’ve been feeling a lot better about my decision when it comes to work, and I am excited to start my new job in a couple of weeks! The goal is to get into a new routine with my job, workout out, crafting, and reading. I want to make sure that I am progressing in life and moving toward my goals, I deserve that for myself.

I am excited for the week ahead, as I feel only good things coming up. I hope that is the same for all of you as well!

Sunny Sunday!

It’s such a beautiful day outside, yet I’ve been inside most of the day organizing and cleaning the house. Honestly it feels great, and I still have time to go on a walk as it’s only 2:30pm. I also did some crafting today; I made a couple of canvases for my living room.

I’ve been feeling like getting off of social media again. I got back on Facebook for my small business and I am back to scrolling a lot. Today I logged out so that when I pull up the app I can stop and decide if I am going on there for business or not and just get back off. Twitter is where I spend a lot of time and truly it’s kind of a hellhole, but the astrology people on there are interesting to me LOL! I like reading that stuff even if some people don’t think it’s real, I truly think it just helps with self-reflection and being aware.

I still haven’t made a decision about work, which I guess means I may be staying where I am? To be fair, my current job told me they had to talk to some people and I wouldn’t hear much until next week. Part of me still is hesitant to stay because of the drive and I don’t want to be wasting all of my time, but also the insurance is much more affordable at this job. It’s just stressful to think about, and my boyfriend’s HR won’t get back to him on if we need to be married or need a civil union or whatever. I’m honestly not really focusing on that right now, I’m trying to get the house clean and start preparing for my first crafting “drop!”

I’ve been really proud of myself for how I’ve been managing all of this stress while also no longer being on anxiety medication! It’s been over 6 weeks now, and I am honestly feeling really good! I feel my emotions again, but I also feel like I am 100% gaining more control over them. I’ve been focusing more on gratitude which is helping me to get through the negative situations. It is a lot of practice and it’s hard, but creating healthy habits is important, and I want to do this for myself.

I also am going to be more mindful about how I eat and how active I am, as I want to be healthy. I want to starting trying to have children within the next couple years, and I want to make sure that I am active and get into healthy habits so that I can continue them postpartum, and teach them to my children as well. What I choose to do today affects my future self, and I need to be mindful of that

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Rainy Monday

Today is supposed to be my productive day, and it did not start out how I planned. I had a few things on my to-do list, and this morning I was starting my day at UPS to ship off one of the orders I got over the weekend. It was raining when I left the house, and by the time I got to UPS (which was only six minutes away) it was down-pouring!

I got soaked getting out of my car and when I got in to find out shipping prices I was in shock! $45 to package and ship a couple of mugs to Miami! The girl at the counter was even shocked by the fee and said that Florida rates are high right now. Luckily the girl who ordered from me was understanding and paid for the shipping, but I was shook! Now I had to tell the other two people who made orders how much their shipping costs are and I’m waiting on their responses.

I got very lucky over the weekend and one of my cricut creations was recognized by the Official Cricut Instagram account and they shared my post to their 1.4 million followers and tagged me! I gained some followers on my crafting instagram, my etsy shop got favorited a couple of times, and I had three people place orders with me! So even though this shipping thing is annoying, I’m so grateful that this happened, and am happy to be learning the best ways to ship as a small business!

Now that they shared my work, I have been more confident and motivated and I now want to make/post at least one project weekly! I have been following more pages and hashtags to get inspiration, and I want to start making some fall items! I know it’s still summer for now, but kids are going back to school and fall is right around the corner! I’m also thinking about having a Halloween party again this year and going all out with crafting/decor!

I am going to start planning out projects and times to do certain things as I find it easier to stick to a schedule. My boyfriend and I are also making a list of updates we want to do on the house over the next couple years so we can plan for those. We are still without AC right now but it should be fixed this week- I really hope it’s soon because it’s going to be in the 90s for the next three days!

Overall I’ve had a lot of stress coming up, but also a lot of excitement! I am trying hard to focus on the positive things and be grateful, rather than let the stress bring me down. We will always have stress and not-so-great things that happen to us, but as long as we remember to practice gratitude and be aware of what we have, I feel that can only benefit us in the end.

I’m attaching the photo from instagram that was shared! If you have instagram, go ahead and check out some out the items I’ve made (@jenamadeitems)!