I Need Connection

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It’s so much easier to write the resolution than the journey. But sometimes, in the moment of clarity you can see in retrospect what you needed. We continue forward, with the idea that we know what we’re doing, but often we don’t know what we were looking for until we find it.

This past week was difficult. With multiple final papers due, my schedule is wiped clean so I can sit down and write, research, repeat. I have a mixed relationship with writing essays. On one hand, there are great things to be learned in forming an idea using other people’s ideas. But mostly, this week I have denied myself most of what makes me feel whole in order to meet deadlines. And sometimes, that’s life.

This week, and many others, I forget how incredibly important it is to simply connect with another human. To be able to express the confusion and sorrow that we are feeling, and to hear that someone else feels it too. To my dear friend Anna, thank you for reminding me of what I had forgotten.

I hate loneliness. I hate it because it fills so much of our lives. It’s the reason I’ll have music playing wherever I go. It’s the reason there is always a tv on, a phone in hand, or a computer screen open. We live in a way that praises self-accomplishment, and individuality. We pride ourselves on our uniqueness, but at the same time we are terrified of being different enough that people won’t want us around. I try to find the balance everyday of satisfying the parts of me that want to be expressed fully, while trying to be normal enough so as not to stick out too much. And it’s not because I don’t know who I am. It’s because sometimes I’m not always sure who to be in the world.

But I live within this paradigm as if I understand its purpose. To achieve, to succeed, to compete, to be the best.
Because nothing, absolutely nothing is more satisfying to me than sitting across from someone who says “Yeah. I understand. I’ve been there” Nothing beats revealing the parts of you that are scared, insecure, overwhelmed and exhausted and for someone to recognize that within themselves. To be with someone in the depths of life, not just the surface. I’m so tired of walking around acting like i’ve got my shit together, like I’m on a train of amazingness and there’s no stopping me!
Or, on the other hand, connecting with others only by means of complaining. Of how life isn’t giving me what I wanted, and how I’m annoyed, angry or indifferent. When I am unable to express my real feelings and experiences with others, they get bottled up in my head and I begin not to trust myself. With no affirmation, no outward processing, no connection, I become the enemy of my own mind. I think that I must be doing something to feel this way, or else I blame the only good things in my life that I could place blame (aka my partner). I’m left up to my own devices, and let me tell you they are limited. Because I am just one experience. I am just one perspective. And I can’t fix everything myself.

I want to re-label “anxiety” with “need connection”. Because then I wouldn’t be able to cut myself short by saying “I’m going to stay in because I’m feeling anxious”. What’s really happening is I desperately need connection, but maybe i’m scared to be vulnerable. Maybe I’m convinced that I’ll figure it out on my own.

No. That’s not it Em, stop trying to be your own therapist.

I NEED CONNECTION. I need to joke about the ridiculousness of trying to write about the history of a marginalized group, as if “they” have one, a complete and documented story that can be told within 500 words. I need to talk about how I can’t stand walking into a classroom to sit beside one another to learn about how to show “empathy” when we could be connecting with one another and actually experiencing it. I need to talk about how I’ve been so emotionally overwhelmed that I try to control it by telling my partner he’s being selfish. I need to talk about how I want community, how I want to know people. I need to talk about how I don’t know how to navigate a world of “how are you” “fine” because all I want to say is “I am so freaking overwhelmed right now.”

I need connection. I need people. I need someone to say “Hey, it makes sense that you’re feeling that way, sounds like you have a lot on your plate”. Because yeah, I have a LOT going for me, and life COULD be worse, BUT THAT’S NOT A REASON TO DENY YOUR FEELINGS.

Because I am feeling. I am always, feeling. And I’m tired of just thinking about it. Labeling it “in my head” or “my mind is racing” and trying to push it away. Maybe our erratic minds and constant need to be doing something is because we are terrified to face the fact that we are lonely, and everybody else is busy.

I know people make a lot of empty promises these days. We make plans and cancel, we put that we “might” go to things on Facebook, and we settle for harmless, easy, conversation. But if you feel like talking about what’s really happening in you life, or what you’re feeling, or what you just realized, or what you’re really excited about, and you don’t know who to tell, I would really love to hear it. My email is emily.scott93@gmail.com, and since I am a university student, my computer is open almost all hours of the day. Feel free to email me the real “how are you” and I’d love to chat.

Alternatively, if you don’t feel like talking to me because a. you don’t know me b. you don’t want to email your feelings to someone on the internet… then please, if you need connection like I do, find the people in your life that care about you and let them know you need them. I don’t think we are good at needing people these days, but I’ll be the first to say that I do. And every area of my life starts crumbling down when I forget that.

Battling anxiety: facing fears

back in the day when I wasn’t afraid of anything

“Let Life race you out beyond your own boundaries over and over again until you are comfortable with watching the map of normal’s edge disappear behind you.
Let Life show you that it is safe to exceed your own expectations and reputation and prove that the only danger in following her into the wilderness is a loss of your own fear.
This is when we gain the warrior’s heart, the master’s eye, and the student’s mind. After that, Life holds our hand in every adventure and shows us things not possible before.”
– Jacob Nordby

The first time I talked to a therapist she basically told me I needed to confront my anxiety or it would continue to get worse. I thought she was crazy and had no idea what she was talking about. I wasn’t there to be challenged, all I wanted in that moment was to be told that I was important and my problems were valid. I wanted her to give me an answer for why I was struggling so much. Her suggestion seemed offensively simple, and impossible at the same time. I believed that instead what I needed was a diagnoses, maybe some medication, and a lot of solitude. I continued to opt out of social events, maintain minimal communication with those I lived with, and went on living life according to the roller coaster of my emotions. I let a negative voice boss me around, telling me that even eye contact with a stranger on the street was not something I could do. I convinced myself that I had just become someone who needed to be alone a lot, that my environment was toxic, it wasn’t what I wanted, it was all wrong. I let myself believe that when I didn’t hear from someone for a while, it must mean they weren’t interested in our friendship anymore. Bumping into familiar faces meant I would shuffle through small talk like it was a four-piece puzzle. Ask about school, midterms, offer some light compliments and depart.

I am aware that everyone sees anxiety a little differently, and each of our experience is unique. If it is causing significant distress in your life, please seek out professional help. In no way do I assume that my experience will look like yours.

I hate to say it, but I think she was right. Maybe she could have waited until a little later to say but it was true. I needed to face my fears. I just didn’t want to hear that yet. Because it wasn’t the fears that were the problem, I believed that I was unable to face them. I needed to challenge the negative, and question its validity. Was it providing support, or simply sorrow? Was it enlightening me, or just preventing me from trying? I can see a pattern that my mind follows, one that has led me down dangerously lonely paths. I enter without hope of a light at the end.

1. I get invited to an event, to a party, or I think of someone who I really want to see. A quiet voice states the possibilities, the opportunities within the invitation. But a louder, more familiar voice says “no”… it always says that. It grabs hold of each positive thought and twists them until all I can think of are excuses for why I can’t go. So I decline from attending with some sort of justifcaiton, or I refrain from even responding, shutting out the opportunity at the source.
2. I affirm the belief that I’m unable to go out, by not going out. By not making the first step, by hesitating. The hesitation only builds with more thought, more reasons why I was justified in saying no.
3. Anything that creates discomfort is met with agreement, and arrangements are met so those discomforts are dealt with in solitude. In an attempt to stay safe, I also manage to avoid connection.

This path is a familiar one, but I am realizing it’s never too late to change it. You can always stop, get off, and have a look around. Maybe analyze the scene a little more, maybe begin to look for something different. Maybe decide that you are worth the effort and discomfort that comes with risk.

So this is a new pattern, something that I challenge myself with almost everyday. It can be exhausting, and there are many days when I don’t have it in me. But more often then not, I am met with a reality that doesn’t match the anxiety story in my mind.

1. I think to myself, I’d really like to get to know people in my classes.
2. As I sit down next to a stranger, I’m met with familiar discomfort, an inner critic saying “don’t say anything, it will be awkward”. But this time I don’t listen, and before I have the time to build up an imaginary scenario in my mind, I start with something simple, small talk, “How’s it going?”
3. The conversation usually progresses just fine, names exchanged, and sometimes small connections are made with interests, other classes, or shoe brands, who knows.
4. The fear of introduction is no longer present, because I acted on it and demonstrated that it was not enough to stop me from living my life. It has no place anymore, it has been conquered, even if just for that single moment.
5. The next time it arises, I have a past experience to draw from, knowing that in reality I am in no danger, and I will most likely be just fine. Once again I take power away from the voice that wants me to be safe, and not to take any risks.

I never wanted to believe that the way to conquer my fears was to actually conquer them. There must be another way. Maybe I’m just not meant to be social, or to achieve the things I thought I wanted. Maybe I need to look for other options. I wanted a way out, but I didn’t want to think that the way out was the way in. That everything I have told myself I couldn’t do was only doable when I… did it. It still seems too simple sometimes, too obvious to be a real solution. But as I say yes to opportunities, as I engage with people and lean in to the discomfort, I can see a difference. Instead of trusting in the fear instinct, I trust in the one that wants more. I begin to see that I have a choice in every situation, not of my circumstances, but of my perspective. I can choose to see the possible catastrophes, or I can choose to believe in success. I can choose to believe that I am capable of whatever I want. I can choose to focus on other people, rather than fearing their perception of me. I can do what I want, and not be filled with “what-ifs”.

It’s exhausting sometimes… okay lots of the time. But as long as I remember how exhausting it is to see the world as a terrifying unpredictable place, being exhausted from taking risks is a better option.

I recognize that this has been my experience, and your story looks different. But we all have fears, and sometimes they are what hinder us the most. And the worst thing we can do is simply dwell on how much we fear them. So maybe we can begin to face them, one thought at a time.

“We change our behaviour when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.” – Henry Cloud

YOU ARE WORTH IT

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You are worth it.

Every tear, every fear
every time you feel burdened to be better
every time you fight artificial reality
every hurt, unwelcomed yet accepted.

We can come to trust that life isn’t fit for us. Like we don’t belong into
the world we were brought into,
as if it was for somebody else.
That somebody else that we try to become, the one that creates a comfortably numb, lonely one with the one that is the world.
To be the same, just to be sane, confusing security with what remains.
A disconnect between who we are and what we’re not, as if the answer is in our failures until we seek them not.
As if we knew all along, but failed to comprehend.
As if it is as easy as pressing a button to be on the other side of the canyon, looking back at man like “what happened, I made it”

If this self is all we’ve got, we better learn to enjoy it.
You will never escape it no matter how much you want it.
A body to hold your soul, lest it crack under the pressure.
Let it be wholesome and treasured, like a diamond in the rough.

Life is rough, but there is beauty in it. If pleasure had no opposite, pleasurably I decline. For this life is mine to define, yet not by what I am not.

I have forgot, I have lost. Who I am right now in search of what I have not caught.
It is not a sickness to be had, nor a cure to be sought, it is an acceptance of the fact that you are worth every, single second that you got.

So stop saying you aren’t worth it.
Stop saying you aren’t good enough.
Stop saying it like you mean it, I don’t believe you
You have purpose.
Stop letting yourself be less than, what you have every right to be.
Stop forgetting that you deserve it, because you are meant to be free.
Stop saying they are better, for are they not human too?
You have the same mind to comprehend, what is equally yours too.

You are worth it.
You are loved.
You are a name, a soul, a self-seeking mystery.
You are amazing, just because you are the first to be you.
You are the purpose, for the pain,
a redeemer of shame.
You are one, who is loved.
You are all of the above.

 

Twitter: Beloved_Blog

Email: info@be-loved.net

 

I’m not making a statement, I’m just figuring out who I am

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Alright here’s a secret…
If I show up to a party with a christmas sweater in July, i’m not making a statement that we need to be festive year round. Maybe it’s just all I had left in my closet, and it’s comfortable okay?
If I’m drinking fair trade coffee in a mason jar, it’s not because i’m a ‘hipster’ that thinks large coffee corporations are evil and the world is a bad place. I just happen to like mason jars and think it’s cool that some companies choose to pay their employees enough money to live, or maybe I bought it by accident, it doesn’t matter.

I’m tired of being labeled for things that I want to just be able to do. I’m tired of having to decide if i’m feeling up for getting attention or whether I’ll just act normally and avoid it. I’m tired of having to figure out what’s normal so I can try to comply with it.

Being different isn’t about standing out, it’s about making it okay for others to be different. It’s about acting on your innate uniqueness. It’s about just being who you are, not because you are expecting other people to notice.
It’s about opening up the idea for people to express their individuality and not feel like they have to be absorbed by what’s popular. We all go through periods of really wanting to fit in, but for the vast majority struggle to feel accepted, I believe that choosing to be different can allow other people to see that it’s okay.
I often find myself in between two options:
On one hand, i don’t want to be stared at everytime I walk into a room, however I also desperately don’t want to be grouped together with every other person, until I feel like I have completely lost myself and am just a product of whomever i’m with the most.

I like being barefoot. I don’t do it because I don’t have shoes, or because I want to be ‘different’. In fact, much of the I won’t go barefoot simply because it’s not ‘normal’.
Really, I just like the feeling of the ground under my feet, and I feel more free. That’s all. Sometimes I wish I didn’t live in Canada, where for half the year that’s not possible.

If you see me around, and I’m doing or wearing something weird, no I won’t be offended if you comment about it, but just know that i’m not making a statement. Unless that statement is
“I like this so I’m wearing it.”
Many of these references include clothing, which I absolutely do not see as the ‘be all and end all’ of your identity and label. However I do think it’s the easiest for us to relate to, and I personally identify with the daily battle of deciding whether my clothing choices will be ‘ordinary’ or not.

If you’ve ever written an exam you might know the feeling of walking into a room with rows of empty desks, sitting down to the paper in front of you, along with hundreds of other students. In that moment, you are a number. you are just a student who needs a certain grade to pass this exam. Your skills, interests, passions, none of that matters at this moment. It’s all about how much you memorized, how much sleep you got, and how much information you can spew out of your mind in the allotted two hours.
I wish that our lives would look much differently. I don’t want to follow every fashion trend so that I’ll fit in, and comply with every ‘normal’ pattern of behavior just so I’m not noticed as being different.
I think that the more people know that they have the ability to do it, the less they will feel like they are ‘making a statement’ and the more you can just embrace the things that you love. If people will be so quick to assume that you are ‘making a statement’ then that’s their fault for being so close-minded.

I think we all want to experience the freedom of our uniqueness, but only some will.

It’s not about ‘trying’ to be different, because the fact is, you ARE different. You are not, and never have been, the same as everyone else so don’t feel like you need to be.
If you want to walk around in barefeet. DO IT.
If you want to have a pet penguin, DO IT. (probably not realistic, but it’d be totally cool)
If you want to [insert societally unordinary behavior here], DO IT.
It doesn’t matter what it is. Just go for it, please.
Because if everyody is trying to be the same thing we’re going to end up being nothing at all.
Yes, people will try and put a label on you. It’s what we do. We like to know how to categorize things and put them in a box. I do it too.

Not everything has to be that easy. Be free to explore what you like and who you want to be. It will be scary at first, but I promise you it will get easier.
As my friend Hannah said to me one time when I was fearful of wearing a dress and getting unwanted attention (because I normally wear grungy clothes not because I think i’ll look smokin’)
“Don’t let them put you in a box … just be yourself”

Embrace your differences, so others can do the same.

Comment here!
Tell me about a time you did something you really wanted to, even though you knew people would think it was weird, what was it and what was the outcome?
Think of something that RIGHT NOW you want to do but don’t want too stand out or be labeled. DO IT. and tell me about it!!

BE DIFFERENT. IT’S WHO YOU ARE.

Photo Attribution: Keith Chastain

Stay Inside The Lines

Here is a story. It’s about life, and how sometimes we lose our confidence to stand out. How we forget to embrace our uniqueness and live passionately. I hope you are encouraged by it!

Stay Inside The Lines

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“Here is your book, colour it as you like,” They told me.

I had crayons, colours and a wild imagination so I got to it.
I drew everywhere, in the lines, and out, it didn’t matter. Everything was beautiful, and it was mine. Each page was my canvas and the possibilities were endless.
The paper shook as I furiously scribbled, the corners crumpled as I worked, splayed out on the ground with my legs swinging back and forth. Back and forth.
I held it up proudly, and squealed with glee as it was stuck to the fridge. I did that.
My masterpiece.

“Try staying inside the lines,” They told me.

Confused, but intrigued I gave it a try. A little harder, more focused, but I did it! Inside the lines. It felt good.
I smiled as my new skill was honored over the amateur child’s play that was first to be displayed. This new one was simply incomparable.

“Great job” They told me.

And so I did it again. And again, until I forgot what it meant to go outside the lines. The perfection of the shapes when you just stayed within the guidelines, because weren’t they there so that everything would always work out in the end, if you just followed along?
It was easier, it always looked nice, though it seemed to yield the same thing over and over. But I plodded on, trying to use new colours, new strokes, new combinations.
Each page I turned was a new chance to start over, and I could grab my set and colour away. Oh the variety! There was a lion or a witch, a mermaid or a fish. There were forests and there were oceans, dogs and there were cats. All I had to do was pick my favourite and then the right colours, and it would always turn out okay.
If I just stayed inside the lines.
Pshh! how silly I once was, carelessly letting my hand fly over the page, without careful articulation, no strategic execution of each stroke. This was much better, much better I thought.
But then the shapes, they became words. The animals became paragraphs, and long lists of tasks. The books changed, and so did the colours.

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“Follow along” They told me.

So as my hand would trace the outline, so my fingers would type the right words. I just had to do what i’d always done and it would be alright.
But these weren’t my words, were they? I couldn’t recognize. If I just did as I was told no one would think otherwise. It felt odd, creating the words that were needed to finish the page, even if they weren’t the combination that I might have dreamed. My masterpiece took on a new page, and in each completion I had achieved a new meaning.

“Stay inside the lines,” They told me.

I wasn’t sure what those were anymore. I missed the shapes, the colours, and the freedom. I missed tracing the outline of his face, and shading it in to see it all come together.

“Be someone,” they told me.
“But stay inside the lines.”

Where was my book when I needed it? Where was the constant reminder of where to colour, where to not, and when I had achieved perfection? When I did just that, no one noticed anymore. Everyone else’s pages looked the same, and I wondered why mine would matter at all.
And then one day as I shut the fridge door, my picture fell down, and I looked down to see it resting on the perfectly tiled floor. It wasn’t my best work, not even close. the scribbles were evident, no heeding of lines.
The corners were crumpled, yet smoothed out with time, and the shape was unrecognizable, maybe an animal, or maybe it was the horizon.
At first I saw mistakes, carelessness and lack of skill. But then my mind wandered back to that day, the day when it was a masterpiece.
How could I have forgotten the sheer joy of colouring? the lines were there for guidance, but oh how fun it was to shatter them. That pride of completing something that I had done myself, it didn’t matter that it was messy, it was done like no one else.
I looked it over and saw it as it once was. A canvas.
I wanted it back.

A Canvas.

This thing that I had begun to avoid, for it was it blank, scary and I would have to start from scratch. no lines, no shapes, no ending point. Where do I begin? Where do I end? How do I know if I’m doing it right?
But something about it shouted masterpiece, even before I touched a brush. It was mine. It would be like nothing else. I couldn’t see yet what it would be, but in my mind I could see a thousand things.
Full of fear and apprehension, I picked up that first brush. I had my colours ready to go, all mixed up. This would be it, just like the old days.
And I coloured, I created. It was beautiful, but sometimes it was messy. I couldn’t see where it was going, but I knew where it was at this moment. Sometimes I didn’t have the right colours, or sometimes my hand slipped. Sometimes I put it down to rest, and went back at it once my inspiration clicked. But I knew no one else’s was like this, because this one was truly unique. Maybe this is what I was working towards, maybe this was the point of it all.

“But where are the lines?” They asked me.

Those lines were invisible before, now they didn’t even exist.

What does your life look like right now?
Are you colouring inside the lines? Are you trying to do what’s been asked of you?
Are you stepping out to create a masterpiece of your own?
We all did it at one point, maybe it’s time to realize our ability to create again.

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Email: info@be-loved.net

Blog Title Photo Attribution: Mykl Roventine

Blog Content Photo Attribution: Young Doo

I Thought You Didn’t Like Me! 10 Things We Want to Say But Don’t

ImageDon’t we all love that magical moment when you and a friend finally have that conversation where you both realize you were intimidated by each other but didn’t want to say it? That maybe you had doubts about how that person felt about you, so you were wary of being your complete self around them. Perhaps they came across to you as very confident, so you weren’t willing to share your insecurities. Maybe you overanalyzed parts of the relationship, thinking that certain things they did must mean that they don’t care about your friendship as much as you do, even if you were in your own head making those assumptions.
There have been so many times I have had those conversations and while they are fun and exciting and “eye-opening”, they always make me feel like I need to make up for lost time.
Like I need to make up for that time they thought I didn’t like them, or the times I thought they couldn’t possibly like me.
It makes me sad that we can build friendships that are built on so much doubt, that it can take months before you discover that you were both in the same space of doubt, but no one wanted to be the first to say it.
In the poll I have going at the bottom of this blog, you guys answered saying that it’s hardest to believe that ‘my friends genuinely love me for who I am’. I agree with that. It is hard.

Why is it so hard?

What if we broke out of our own shell of insecurities and doubts and were the first to express our love to our friends?

What if we just said what we thought about them?

It’s strange that this can be such a common thing, and it happens between friends, not just strangers. We can care enough to spend time with each other, to get to know each other, but still have our guard up, because what if they don’t actually like me? I don’t want to have to be the first to say something, what if I look stupid?

If I could have it my way, I would hope that no one ever thought I was too busy for them, or that I didn’t like them, because chances are, unless there is some huge pressing issue or reason I wouldn’t, I probably think you’re great. And I probably want to tell you that, but within myself is this desire to be in control, and being courageous enough to speak your mind can feel the opposite.

I wish we could say these things to each other, and give each other confidence. I wish we could validate our own friendships and tell each other the good things we see in them, I wish we would never have to have that conversation “oh, I thought you didn’t like me!”

So if I know you, or if I don’t, here is what I want to say but don’t. Here is what I think you need to say, because there’s probably someone who needs to hear it.

Hey [Insert name here],

  1. I think you’re awesome. I really do.
  2. I don’t always tell you because it seems like you already know it yourself.
  3. Sometimes i’m intimidated by your confidence
  4. Sometimes I wonder if you really like me, and I get in my head thinking maybe you don’t.
  5. I love spending time with you, I think you are an incredible person who brings so much to our friendship.
  6. Even if I appear busy, i’m probably making it look that way, when in reality I would jump at the chance to hang out with you.
  7. I don’t want to be the person who’s ‘more’ invested in the relationship, so sometimes I won’t initiate anything, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be friends, it just means I’m scared to need it more than you.
  8. I want to share in our doubts together, I want to work through our struggles together
  9. I love you for who you are. You don’t need to be anything.
  10. I’m insecure. Just so you know. In case that’s not obvious.

Please, call out the good in your friends. If you’re scared, that’s okay. But I can guarantee you that they aren’t as confident as you think they are, and you affirming them will probably make them feel good. Give them another reason to be confident.

Be loved challenge:
If any of the above 10 things resonated with you, I challenge you to SAY it to someone, even if it takes a bit of courage. And then comment below or send an email to info@be-loved.net to share what happened!!

As always, you can follow this blog to get new posts each week, and send an email if you’d like me to write about anything at all.

BE loved today.

Original Photo Attribution: tracerbullet999