the greatest gift of all

I have had a hell of a fucking year.

After a bitter and long fight against depression, anxiety, and PTSD, I was knocked out for the year by a bit of news I received in November. Although I still can’t share them, let’s just say my life is going to be very different from now on.

I thought to myself, “how does life just keep doing this to me?”

It was a frustrating year for me because every time I felt I was mastering a phase of my life, I was catapulted into the next by the universe. I thought to myself, “can I master something before I’m forced into the next thing?”

See, the thing is, sometimes, you cannot see all of your potential. You can’t see all of your growth. You can’t see all your greatness because… let’s admit it, sometimes we get stuck feeling down about how the changes in our lives happened instead of embracing the next step. We fail to see the why.

And that’s exactly what was going on with me. I couldn’t hold any appreciation for my struggles just yet… I was bitter.

I was bitter towards myself, family, and even some friends. I was holding on to grudges and becoming resentful. In the process of trying to heal through past pains and traumas, I became the pain. I became my own worst enemy, because I reminded myself of it all on a daily basis. And I refused to forgive people, thinking it would make me soft, something I was done being for people who would not appreciate it.

I forgot that forgiveness was for me, not for them. I forgot to keep loving even when I felt angry or offended. I forgot if you hold on to those fragments of people, you also keep the burden on your shoulders.

I forgot to let go.

I didn’t want to keep living my life repeating cycles. It felt like being a 16 year old trapped in my 24 year old body. Situations that kept repeating themselves came under my personal microscope: I asked myself, “why am I going through this again? What did I not learn last time?”

It’s been a two-month long stare into the mirror. I got answers to some of my ego’s most pressing questions:

Why did people “wrong” me?

Because I wasn’t being there for myself.

Why did I put trust in people who betrayed me?

Because I wasn’t trusting my own intuition.

Why did I keep getting disappointed?

Because I kept holding on to unrealistic expectations.

Why was I so unsatisfied with my life?

Because I was too fearful about the future to go after my goals with more passion and drive.

I know what you (might) be thinking… “Marielle, are you blaming yourself for everything that happened to you?”

Not at all. I am taking accountability for my own role in the year that I had. If I can come up with nearly ten blog pieces about how other people had me fucked up, I can certainly sit with myself long enough to figure out how had myself fucked up. What I mean by all the above is simple:

I was not seeing my worth.

I was watering myself down all the time, because I didn’t wanna shine too bright. I didn’t want to make people feel small. In the process, I made myself small. I didn’t give myself enough credit. I didn’t truly believe in my craft. I couldn’t see how my life story would turn around in time…

I was not seeing that I am an amazing, multifaceted, talented, driven, ambitious, and loving individual who is going places in life. I was forgetting that I am not perfect, and that it’s okay to make mistakes.

I was not remembering that the trials and tribulations I went through do not make me who I am–my resilience and will to forgive and continue to love, in spite of the pain, make me who I am.

I forgot that, at my core, I am a force to be reckoned with. A powerful leader and an amazing woman. And what makes me so amazing is that I am both sensitive and firm. I am both sarcastic and witty. I am intelligent and also clueless at times. I am the calm in the eye of the storm and I am a destructive ball of fire when I’m angry. I am not perfect in any way, shape, or form and now I have finally learned to embrace that.

The peace that comes with that is the greatest gift I have received this year. Nothing surpasses the feeling of being okay with everything that comes, knowing it’s only for the best.

The best gifts in life are priceless.

Happy Holidays to you all!

 

 

 

one year later: how radical self-care changed my life

One year ago, I was on my way to work beating myself up because I had promised to bring in a dish for the Thanksgiving luncheon my job was hosting for the students.

I couldn’t make the dish. I didn’t have the energy to do it. At that point, I didn’t know how I was still making it to work.

Two months into working after a 6-month break, I was back at ground zero mentally. I was having panic attacks on a daily basis. The toilet and my boyfriend were my best friends: he would pat my back as I threw up, then rub my stomach and send me off into the shower so I could feel well enough to make it to work.

Sometimes, I would get to work, throw up in the staff bathroom, clean myself up (I started carrying a toothbrush and toothpaste for this purpose), and get back to work.

Other times, I would sit at my desk going through silent panic attacks all day with severe chest pain. Completely dissociated from what was going on around me, the students would often ask if I was okay.

I wasn’t.

My living situation was far from ideal. I was not making enough money to do what I wanted to do. I was having issues at home with my family. I was going through shit in my relationship. I was learning about spirituality, and coming to face with parts of my past I never wanted to re-live or think about. I was re-evaluating all of my friendships and personal relationships. I was realizing I poured out a lot, but had very little shared with me in return.

It was one of the most difficult times of my life.

It made me realize I was not giving myself my worth. It made me realize I was insecure, seeking approval and validation, and I was unhappy with where I was in life. I had lofty goals, but no concrete plan to accomplish them. I had dreams of being a writer, but the thought of going back to school to study something that came so naturally to me was appalling.

I knew I was settling in life. I knew I could do better.

And I got tired of settling. I started to remember how much potential I had, and although I knew it would take so much work to bring my confidence up, I also knew I had to start somewhere.

I pulled out a journal that my beloved sorority sister copped me for graduation, and I started writing in it. I would write in it during my breaks at work, on the train on my way to work, at home while bae played video games. I just wrote and wrote and wrote. I spilled my guts on to paper.

It hurt me to see all the things that were putting a damper on my mental health and on my journey towards self-actualization. I felt like I was carrying too much.

I was carrying resentment, hurt, and heartbreak. I was carrying trust issues. I was carrying everybody else’s issues. I was a wreck.

But I fell in love with the mess, because I knew all of my biggest weaknesses could be turned into my greatest strengths. Eventually, my life started to mirror what my soul truly desired:

  • I started meditating and spending time in nature
  • I started this blog
  • I stopped tolerating negativity and toxicity
  • I cut people out of my life
  • I started monitoring my thoughts, transforming negative ones to positive ones
  • I worked to build a better relationship with members of my family
  • I figured out the issues in my partnership, and we worked through them
  • I became unapologetically selfish
  • I quit my job
  • I quit trying to satisfy and please others
  • I started to breathe life into my goals and plans
  • I started to say affirmations on a regular basis
  • I quit seeking validation from other people
  • I stopped living up to other people’s expectations of me
  • I stopped letting people control my narrative
  • I started allowing myself those breaks we often need–from going out, drinking, partying, answering messages 24/7, and existing solely for the pleasure of others
  • I started praying and setting intentions for my life
  • I put my trust and faith in the Universe

This is just a short list of the things I did in order to take control of my life. And after a year of consistently doing all of this–even when it was hard, even if it cost me days in bed crying, I did them. I decided to put myself first, and being my first priority is working out well for me.

It wasn’t and hasn’t been easy. It is still a work in progress. But I can effectively say I have changed my life. I have built the foundation for the life I want to live. I have gained mental and emotional strength from my journey with radical self-care.

Now the task before me is to continue evolving. Continue growing. Continue glowing.

I’m eternally grateful. Thank you, 2017, for the ass-kicking I needed.

Happy Thanksgiving ❤ 

Featured art: Alex Grey

…are you projecting?

PROJECTION.

We are all guilty. Every single one of us does it… So before I get into it–let me explain:

First of all, what is projection?

What happens when you have a whole bunch of uncomfortable, embarrassing and annoying emotions that you don’t want to consciously deal with? According to famous psychologist Sigmund Freud these emotions are projected on to other people, so that other people become carriers of our own perceived flaws. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for us, this form of emotional displacement makes it much easier to live with ourselves … because everyone else is responsible for our misery – not us!

-Aletheia Luna, “6 Examples Of Psychological Projection We All Commit”

Sound familiar?

Yup. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We all have. Shit, I’m projecting by starting a piece about this. If I’m writing about projection and it was triggered by someone else’s episode and not mine, I am simply using that person to deal with my own emotions about how project.

source

I hope I didn’t lose you. My mind is a maze…

So now, how do you know when you’re projecting? Better yet, how do you know when someone is projecting onto you? And most importantly, how do you make sure that this form of emotional displacement doesn’t cause wear and tear in your relationships?

The only way I could possibly explain this all without confusing anyone is by keeping it real.

I remember starting this blog and wanting to shelter as much of my truth as possible… but we’ve already become so comfortable — let’s talk about my messy life again!

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Recently, I was talking to a very good friend of mine who was having a hard time with school lately. He is one semester away from finishing his associate’s degree, and was questioning his why–he was wondering whether it was worth it to continue trying.

Well, let’s just say that for a few months, I wasn’t advising anyone to go to school. In fact, I was telling people to avoid school.

“Why spend your money and waste your time? All you’re going to get from it is a piece of paper saying you finished something, is that really what you care about?” These were real questions I asked…

I had to stop myself. Oh god, Marielle. You’re projecting!

You finished your degree, and felt like it wasn’t worth it. You felt you wasted your time and money! And now… you are giving advice based on salty emotions.

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Okay… digging for another example of my projection.

Here’s one. Over the past 6 months, I was the go-to girl for people who wanted to quit their jobs. I had quit 3 of them–at this point I was an expert.

However, not everyone who came to me for advice should have been quitting their job. Not everyone was in the same circumstance I was in when I decided to leave mine. I was dealing with some serious mental health issues for two entire years, and did not want to cause harm to others because of my erratic symptoms. So I left places because I needed to. Not out of impulse.

However, my advice to others reflected my own experiences:

“Leave that place! If something happens to you, they wouldn’t think about it twice before they replaced you! Put in that 2-week notice!”

I caught myself once more.

Marielle, you’re projecting. Again!

Let her stay at her job and stop harassing her about it! Back up! Let people make their own decisions! 

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THE LESSON:

If there is a situation I am still healing through, it’s really not in the best interest of the people in my life for me to give advice on those subjects. If there are raw emotions that I have not processed, it is obviously going to be difficult to do that.

You don’t know the emotions are there until someone reflects a part of you that you aren’t comfortable with. 

I wouldn’t have even known anything was wrong with the advice I was giving if not for the fact that I read over both conversations weeks later with a fresh perspective. In the moment, it was unconscious. That’s exactly what projection is–an unconscious subscription of my own emotions to another person’s situation.

My own reflection led me to think about people who are projecting their experiences on to me. People who had been in dysfunctional relationships, and advised me to deal with my own relationship issues in toxic ways. Their insecurity and tendency towards conditional love did not allow them to give me the best advice, and instead I sensed a lot of envy and jealousy.

When it came to my future and to building a family, I found myself without role models. There is absolutely no one I know who has done family the way I want to do it when my turn comes. So, again, when I looked for advice and reassurance in others I was let down. And that doesn’t mean the people in my life have done anything wrong–it just means no one is me. No one would ever do things the way I would do them, because no one has been through what I have been through and no one has learned all of the same exact things I learned.

The most important thing of all is that projection can only leave a dent in your relationships if it goes unchecked. If you call someone out and say, “Hey, I understand that was your experience but I hope things will be better for me,” they may be upset for a moment but they will understand. If you say, “This is my decision and I thought about it long and hard,” or better yet, stop explaining your decisions at all, there is no way someone else’s experience can shape your future.

The key in life is to check yourself. Be accountable for your words and actions. Be accountable for the ways in which you cannot be there for other people.

You can’t be there for people in ways you haven’t been there for yourself. Your experience will taint the way you give advice to other people and the way you speak on the given subject. The bottom line is this:

If you do not monitor and control your emotions, they will control you. Suppressed emotions will always seep out somewhere else. Things that we hide only become bigger and more difficult to deal with. Get to a healthy place emotionally so that you could support yourself (and those around you) in the best way possible!

 

 

how social media kills my creative energy

Pressure.

Some of it is good. 

Too much of it suffocates. Kills. Extinguishes. 

I create pressure for myself in several ways. Sometimes, I remind myself how long I have been working towards a particular goal, and then tell myself, “you could’ve finished that by now.”  Other times, I think about people my age and all they’ve accomplished and acquired (master’s degree holders, homeowners *yes, my age*, and first promotions) and I tell myself, “if only you would’ve kept a job long enough or gone for that master’s..” 

Dealing with all of this is difficult. Managing my expectations for myself, and keeping others’ expectations out of my mind, is a daunting task. It means that I have not yet gained the confidence needed to completely walk in my purpose–people’s opinions have to matter less when you’re going into your creative lane.  Creativity is guided by intuition, and is most readily available to us when we are allowing ourselves to process our emotions. Emotional energy has a direct correlation to creative energy. This is where social media comes in:

I hate to be that person on social media whose stuff you want to swipe away from or scroll past because it’s negative or portraying some sort of strong emotion. However, as someone who shares their work mainly via these channels, authenticity had become more important than posting content I knew people would like. Authenticity is still key in what I’m doing, but I’ve also learned this: I have much more emotional agility than a lot of people I know. I can process my emotions in a way that doesn’t trigger me anymore, but I’m sure I have triggered others with my work. I have used my writing as therapy to a certain extent, and I realize that means a lot of my work is raw and hard to process. 

Social media is also a place where I have expanded my platform by serving and guiding others. I have discussed a variety of topics at length, both in my blog and via live sessions on Instagram. It’s a place where people look to me for inspiration, motivation, and reassurance. These are aspects of my platform I normally enjoy, but as of late I was finding myself drained. 

I was too busy posting on social media and trying to continue to help people that I was running on E again–like a car without gas, breaking down on the road unexpectedly. I was getting into altercations and experiencing serious fatigue followed by days of insomnia.  I wasn’t even processing my emotions. I was suppressing them in order to be able to “show up” for the people who look to me for help and guidance. Unable to work through emotions, I found myself with writer’s block all over again. 

My goals took a hit: I had to push back a personal deadline for a project, and my ego took a hit along with this deadline push. No longer clear on my immediate next steps, I went back to the drawing board. 

I checked in with myself about what needed work (within) and what I need to work on externally. What emotions need to be worked through so that I can complete this project? What stands in the way of making the next steps happen? Which obstacles are self-imposed? These were all key questions to ask myself, and the answers have given me the clarity to continue my journey in confidence. 

Some steps I took as a result: 

  • Gradually made myself less accessible to people (deleted IG from my phone, deleted my Snapchat account, allowed my phone service to be turned off, and deactivated Facebook)
  • Got back to writing in a journal 
  • Cut down the amount of time I spend on electronic devices 
  • Started a routine for working on my writing that is more synchronized with my current emotional state 

The number one thing that I struggle to remember at times is that success will not happen overnight–it is the result of consistently working towards goals and believing in the path you choose. You can have unlimited talent and potential, but you must exercise discipline, integrity, authencity, and balance in life in order to make use of it all. You have to trust and utilize your intuition. You have to ground yourself when things around you are in a state of chaos. You have to believe in your ability to execute your goals and make your dreams come true, and you have to be unapologetic about how you get to that state.  

So, shine on & take those breaks from life and people when you need them. Do it all in the name of your future. 

Sending love, light, and infinite blessings–

M

on ending toxic friendships, relationships & family ties: the truth behind why some people simply gotta go

I’ve been doing this blogging thing for close to a year. It’s been an incredibly rewarding time so far. I have been able to witness and share my growth as a writer and entrepreneur. 

I’ve made serious strides with my mental health. I am free of suicidal thoughts, panic attacks, and flashbacks. My PTSD symptoms have fallen to the wayside for the most part. I still experience symptoms of both anxiety and depression, but they’re certainly more manageable and my family/friends have been more understanding about what to do when I do slip back into a rut. 

So, do I have it all figured out? No. 

But I’m happy. 

I’m happier than I have ever been in my entire life. I’m so grateful for every single little thing that’s happened along this journey. 

And at the same time, I’m sad too. I’m sad as fuck. I’m so sad I could actually cry some times. Here’s the thing:

I WAS NEVER EVER THE TYPE OF PERSON TO CUT PEOPLE OFF. I was convinced I’d live my whole life catering to other people’s needs. In fact, I had such major self worth issues that I didn’t consider myself a worthy enough person to *not* have to help with every little thing. In short, I used to do three much. Yes, three. 

There are people who will watch you pour your entire being into sharing happiness and success with them, and they’ll kick you down to the ground with their antics. 
Their insecurity, fear, envy, jealousy, and hatred of self will not allow them to support and love you wholesomely. 

Like I’ve said before, some people weren’t raised on love. They were raised on survival. They were raised on suppressing emotions and gender roles. They were raised being taught you had to keep your head down and work. 

These people don’t wanna hear about your shmoney moves. They don’t wanna see you win. They don’t wanna see you shine. 
Not because they don’t love you–but because they don’t fully love themselves just yet. 
In essence, what I’m saying here is:

There is no such thing as cutting people off. People will arrive to your life party loaded with ammunition to kill all your fun, hopes, and dreams. Once someone does that, it isn’t just your right to walk away: it’s what you MUST do. Not just for your sanity and happiness, but also for your growth and self-esteem. You gotta scream to the universe: NA. I DESERVE BETTER TREATMENT. 

AND you’ll see.. there’s no reason to be sad or guilty over cutting people off when they handed you the scissors. 

I have no regrets. I have no grudges to hold. I still send love from afar to the people who aren’t in my life anymore. I simply won’t apologize for doing what I had to do to get to where I am today. My success is a product of a strong intuition and a renewed level of mastery and skill in my work. I owe it to my consistency and dedication, even when I was depressed and suicidal. I owe it to the nights I cried and heaved in pain knowing I wasn’t walking in my purpose. I owe it to MYSELF to enjoy this time. 

There was a time in my life when I simply couldn’t say NO. I couldn’t set boundaries with people. I couldn’t explain why I felt so strongly about my life choices, and I’d get stuck listening to someone’s advice knowing I wasn’t going to take it. I couldn’t stand up for myself as an employee, so I went months suppressing major mental health issues, as well as physical symptoms of anxiety such as chest pain, vomit, nausea, vertigo, eye twitches, and more. 

I was a shell of a person simply existing. I wasn’t living. 

So now that I am, please understand: it had to happen this way. I needed this progress and stability. I needed less drama and distractions. Less funny vibes.

Here’s to:

More love. More growth. More success. And more unapologetically using that scissor people walk around with to cut themselves off…

Love, light, and blessings-

M

O4.O2.2O1O

I’m a girl with a lot of pride; w. lots of feelings that I like to hide; but there are these things tht I cnt control; & like a fountain, out of me, they pour; how in dha world couldn’t you see, I wanted you to be wit me; it’s too late for all tht now, I’m throwing the towel in; & when u realize what chu lost it might be too late.


This piece is part of an installment I am currently working on. Stay tuned for another preview next week & sign up for my email list to catch the announcement ❤