My Space

As I sit and stare at the Opera House on a sunny Thursday afternoon in Sydney, my mind is taken to so many different places and spaces. I want to live in this moment again and again. I’m not sure how …

And then my laptop died. To me, a sign from the Universe to drink in that moment and write about it later. Remembering it now, it still feels like just as sweet of a space.  

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I feel as if I am neglecting my words like the VCR that slowly got replaced by the DVD player or the walkman that got tossed aside for the iPod. But every time I turn to them again it feels like an old, familiar, and comforting friend. My words are the ratty t-shirt you wear to sleep that has a hole and some permanent stains but still feels just right. Even when things steal my attention (Facebook Live) or make it difficult for me to write (broken laptop) I still know in my heart this is my purest form of expression, therapy, joy and creation. My words are my space. 

So here I am, on a Sunday night, with my ever looming to-do list and my stack of ungraded papers. My apartment is clean, my workout is complete and my inbox is empty- all of which give me great satisfaction. But my words are still looming waiting to form and reflect. My words still give me the deepest satisfaction I can ask for and that’s how I know they are my truth and my space.

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But you’re always happy..

 

There is something that happens when you begin to share your journey on a large scale with an audience whether it be through a blog, social media, Youtube, or any other online platforms. When we open up and become vulnerable with our past hardships and struggles and how we overcame them, we have a chance to sugar coat the story with hindsight, distance and almost a narrator’s perspective. Even when we share the pain, it tends to sound beautiful and meaningful.  Part of being a powerful voice and sharing your life to inspire others is the fine line of how to be open with present struggles and difficult times in your life without encroaching on your own clarity, experience or privacy.

Social media, for even the most vulnerable and open people, is meant to be a highlight reel. We get to choose what we share and what we don’t. “But you’re always happy.” False. I show you my optimistic positive self because that is who I aim to be but that does not mean I’m happy 24/7. It is extremely unattractive for people to complain and vent negatively on their social media. It is sad to see people’s private lives and matters thrown all over media outlets or Facebook and Instagram. Luckily, with the gift of creativity and inspiration, we slowly learn what pulls on our heart to share and what we know is too fragile or too personal.

I try to be an open book. It’s how I am in person and basically the only way I know how to be. I can’t lie- I feel as if I have been cheating on my writing. Ever since I have started using Facebook Live consistently to speak about topics weighing on my mind and answering questions from clients, friends or my social media circle- I’ve found it hard to write my weekly headspace. No matter who you are, how inspired you feel, how many podcasts and self-help books you are reading- we all run out of material. I read a great blog post from a friend of mine reminding me of this right when I needed to hear it. So, I feel compelled to write this.

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1,2,3… UNPLUG 

Preface: I wrote this two days ago. Since then the wifi has successfully been installed in my apartment! YES… life &a business is back in order. That same day my Mac Book Pro absolutely freaks out starts flashing a black screen and has to be taken for emergency treatment at the Genius Bar and since I am no longer under my 2 year Apple care plan this could be an extremely expensive hospital stay. My Mac Book is the center of my business, my blog, and my teaching career. 3-5 days without it is a hard pill to swallow. It makes this blog even more necessary and quite frankly ironic. Is mercury in retrograde? I know the supermoon is coming but seriously there is some STRANGE energy floating about. I’ve had so many highs this week but also many setbacks that just seem to keep on being thrown my way. It feels like a great outcry for an increase in my unplugging. I hear you universe, I’m doing my best to listen. Without further delay, here’s the original piece: 
My heart is racing because my Mac Book is at 9 % as I write this. I am down to the wire but feeling the itch of inspiration. Much like the mosquito bites I collected on my camping trip this weekend, that itch is relentless. Let’s see how much I can bang out before this beauty dies. 

For a blogger and online business owner-Wifi is pretty much my blood type. Unfortunately, the wifi is Australia proves time and time again to be stuck in the 1990’s.No offense Australia, but come on, I think I could have faster Internet if I rubbed sticks together and created my own connection. Between wifi problems at my last apartment, moving into a new apartment and getting the wifi set up (only to find out this process apparently takes 2 ½ weeks) and a 4 day adventure in the Australian promise land that is Jervis Bay I have been semi-disconnected for about a month now. Of course, I have data on my phone, I have wifi at work, I can pop to the library or a local cafe, but these all prove to be much more difficult than working from home in my Nike Pros with my apartment that serves as my home gym, office, and restaurant. Not having the access to internet is something that is annoying for most people, but for someone who coaches ONLINE this is panic inducing. For the sake of my sanity, I am trying to roll with the punches, control what I can control and keep calm waiting patiently for tomorrow. 

The lack of wifi has gracefully reminded me how ultra connected we all are at all times. Not only our wifi but just to our phones & devices in general. My boyfriend’s phone has been broken for about two weeks and seeing how inconvenient it is for him and also the people who need and want to talk to him is frightening. 

What time is it? Check your phone. Do you have that appointment tomorrow or Friday? Check your Google calendar. Need your alarm? Grab your phone. What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow? Weather app. How much money did you actually spend on your bar tab? Online banking app (if you’re brave.) Are you going to be late for dinner? Text your friend. Need directions? Google maps. Need to find a local grocery store in a new town? Google. What time does that pharmacy close? Google. 

How many times a day do we rely on our phones, wifi, internet, Google, etc. for all of life’s needs? How much do we rely that other people will have these luxuries as well? When we text someone, when expect them to reply pretty quickly. So much so that we have to apologize and explain WHY we didn’t answer even if it’s only a few hours later. 

Man, technology is AWESOME but it is also very overpowering. I am genuinely sad and scared by how dependent we are on our little devices. I live in probably the last generation who knows what it is like to live in a world without cell phones and I am still part of the crew who were infiltrated by cell phones by about 7th or 8th grade. I remember what it’s like to call someone’s house and have to ask their parents politely if you could speak to so and so. I also remember having boys call my house and my dad answering or even worse, if they called too late and he proceeded to tell them so. AOL dial up internet, YUP. These seem like they were so far away and now I can’t stand living in a world that doesn’t have 4G or 5G speed wifi. Well, I can… But I chose to start a business that is run online, so it kinda made my ties to technology even stronger. 

I admit my dependence but I don’t do this to moan and groan without a solution. I don’t do this to claim a holier than thou attitude. Parents moan about “kids these days always on their phone” and then you hang out with a group of 50 somethings and they are all clinging to their iphones with the classic one finger, reading glasses on the tip of their nose swag. It’s a societal thing…not a generation thing. And the scariest part is- the kids who are growing up in today’s world are just taking our lead.
They are following what we are doing at a much more impressionable and tender age. The job market and the business world is expanding to the online marketplace in all career fields. It is extremely common for people to have side hustles online whether it be fitness, makeup, skincare, jewelry, leggings, consulting, selling goods on Etsy, you name it. Technology is not going to stop. We need to learn how to take a stand for ourselves and our society. How do we use it as a tool to enhance our lives not a means to control it?
These are some tips that I have learned, lived, experimented with and am still trying to implement. I would love it if you joined me in a quest for a technology rich life but also a life rich life. Nothing in the world can replace actually digging your toes in the ocean, smelling fresh mountain air, bear hugging your bestie, looking in someone’s eyes and FEELIN’ them, the sound your glasses make when you clink them after an important and beautiful cheers. How can our social media, technology obsessed world take a step back and appreciate the small things right in front of our face?

Have a cut off time
. There should be a certain time at night before you go to sleep that you (and your partner if you’re in a relationship) cut the ties to your phone, iPad, laptop, or any other gadget you have. Talk to each other, cuddle, read a book, or just get to bed early. We are all guilty of scrolling and staying up late but my boyfriend and I literally will say to each other, “OKAY, NO MORE. We’re cut off.”

Take Now & Post later
. I am all about pictures. I love photography and I love capturing memories. I am always the one to ask a stranger to take a photo and also the one to shamelessly force people into a group shot. So I am not hating on the photos but I am a take now, look/ post/share later. If you are at an amazing beach, concert, mountain, or travel destination, of course you want to take a pic but take them and forget them until LATER when you’re back at the hotel, on a 10 hour bus ride, at a layover in the airport, etc. If you take it quickly now and then you look later it’s like enjoying it twice. You rule the photos, the photos don’t rule you. I hate seeing someone in an amazing location spending 25 minutes changing the filter and scrolling through pics they JUST TOOK! It’s right in front of you, look up!! 

Dinner Date= No phones
. Despite a quick snap of my brunch before I eat it (foodie probz) if I’m sharing a meal with a friend, family member or lover- I stick to a no phone policy. Why go out to eat if you aren’t going to talk to each other? Of course there are exceptions, if someone is supposed to meet you, an emergency, an SOS text, but come on for the most part everything can wait 1-2 hours until you finish the meal. Some of the best conversations and memories of my life have happened around a table, eating good food, drinking wine, talking about dreams, the universe, how to change the world and sometimes, still talking about food while we eat other food. Okay let’s be real, with my people about 80% of the time is spent also discussing food. Live in those moments. Cherish them. 

 Listen to signs
. If you can’t find wifi that works and you are traveling and you really want to ______________(insert semi emergency here) I believe the universe is telling you to LIVE IN THE MOMENT. Sure, you miss your peeps back home, you wanna check your inbox, your email, Snapchat, etc. But the world still turns without you. And you may waste your whole trip searching for wifi. Even if it is work related, it is not the end of the world if you take the day off or find wifi at a later time. 

Be purposeful. My business has been my greatest lesson for this. Most people spend some time every day online. For some people it’s on social media, online shopping, researching travel destinations, blogging, chatting about various topics, reading articles or watching YouTube videos. I don’t know about you but sometimes I actually frighten myself by how easily I can waste time on the Internet. I also have learned how to be focused and intentional with my time online. If I only have 2 hours to work my coaching business, I do the essentials- the vital things that serve my clients, my coaching team and potentials and then I GET OFF. Staying focused and being intentional about what you are doing online cuts down significantly on the amount of time you need to spend connected. 

Force yourself to unplug. Hey, maybe you can’t do it for a whole week or even a weekend but everyone can unplug for an evening or even chunks of time. Unplugging is hard for me, every single time. But every time I find clarity, inspiration and a sense of rejuvenation. I am more excited to use technology when I return to it and more aware of how beneficial it is not to be glued to something you need to charge 24/7. I am huge advocate for hikes, camping, coastal walks, etc. because being in nature is one of my favorite ways to bring me into the moment. 

Constantly Question: If you find yourself caught in a rapid stalking circle on Instagram or lost on your 37th youtube video from a blogger from Iceland who is learning how to play the guitar (not an actual example just sounds random enough for emphasis) ask yourself WHY am I doing this? What value is this adding to me? What could I be doing that is more beneficial or interesting for me? There is nothing wrong with using the internet and technology for entertainment but I personally would rather be spending it fueling my mind with positivity and inspiration than agonizing over which color bodysuit I should buy for my perfect weekend outfit for 2 hours. Don’t give in to MINDLESSNESS. 

Technology is a tool to enhance our lives not a means to control it.

And remember, like the writing goddess Anne Lamott once said, “Almost everything will work if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.”
 Let’s unplug our technology rich life more often and tune into that life rich life that is waiting for us. 1,2,3…

Corey’s Heart

Anniversaries are traditionally special days where we celebrate important events. When the anniversary represents a painful event it sings a much different tune. Regardless, anniversaries make us nostalgic, reflective and in this case sad. But like John Green said, “It hurts because it matters.”

The amount of emotion the wells up in my chest, my heart, my conscious and subconscious brain around this time of year speaks volumes for how incredibly deep of an impact Corey had on the world and everyone who knew her. The amount of people who knew her should be remaining the same, but it seems as if the numbers grow.

The years creep past and suddenly, we have arrived at the ten year anniversary of her death. Ten years. That statement is surreal to me.  I swear that I can still hear her cackling laugh and I can still picture her mannerisms. I can chose what song she would play or which boy she would think was the cutest. Ten years. A decade without her sweet, beautiful, quirky self in this world.  

When I look back at one of the first pieces I wrote and shared publicly, Four Walls, I feel so much pure pain and emotion in my words- it always brings me to tears. I return to it now because sometimes I simply can’t say it better than myself.

“We are all surrounded by a new set of four walls. The walls are all different textures and colors. The wind whipping against the window pane smells different. The walls have different stories, and the rooms have different souls. Across the world, the country, through the state lines and the highways and the driveways, we still stare at our set of four walls.

No matter where we are, that insatiable pain is still there. We wrestle with the same thoughts. We breathe the same deep breaths. The breath you breathe so deep and so long just to know that you are alive. You’re still here.

Apart, we are solid colors, red, blue, white and green. We are strong and vivacious. We make an impact, cause a laugh, contribute to the team and shock others with our brilliance. That’s what we look like up close. We are separate entities that are just fine on their own. But much like the pixels of a television screen, when you look at us from a far…we are one. We come together to make a grander and even more powerful picture.”

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#WCW: What we need to be

I heard a little girl speaking to her mother on the elevator asking why she had to go to her classmate’s birthday party even though it wasn’t her friend. Her mother said, “We need to be kind to everyone in our class not just our friends. We need to think about how we want friends at our birthday party so we do the same for others. We need to be…” DING. The elevator door opened to their floor and I didn’t catch the end of her statement. I wanted to chase after the woman and squeeze her frail and tired body. I started creating a whole list of things in my head  that “We need to be” particularly as women. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past 6 years around groups of women. I was in a sorority in college and my coaching team is predominantly female. I’ve met and befriended women from all over the world and I have grown such a deep respect and admiration for women who are fighting the good fight. I am in several online communities in the digital world that promote women traveling, exercising, writing, and pretty much owning their personal passions.  I love women who are standing up for what they believe in, especially when it isn’t something that everyone believes in. We need more women like that.

 I am fascinated by the fact that feminism seems to be such a dirty word reserved for granola, crunchy hippies who hate men and live with 10 cats. Alright, that is a harsh generalization but I think you know what I mean by a “dirty word.” It has a  lot of stigma attached to it, such as words like racism, mental health, suicide, rich, money, conservative, business, abortion, Muslim, gay etc. All words with a stigma attached to them are  topics that are highly misunderstood, quite taboo to talk about, and generally the people who do talk about them are people who don’t represent them in the first place. I believe in strong  women, feminism and women having a voice. So, here it is. I don’t hate men. I love men. I was raised by an incredible man, grew up with two wonderful guys as my older brothers and I am currently in love with one of the good ones. But, I, in fact am a woman. And I have a voice. A voice I can proudly articulate. Today is World Gratitude Day and I am beyond grateful that I have a voice. Magic Lessons with Elizabeth GIlbert seems to be a weekly reference point lately, but I truly feel so connected to her message, her guests and somehow my life seems to coincide perfectly. Gilbert said on this week’s episode, “To be criticized is the tax that you pay for having a public voice. To be rejected is the tax that you pay for having a public voice. There is a very simple way to make sure that you are never criticized and never rejected and that is to never have a public voice.”

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Loud and Heavy

The past week was full of a lot of important and meaningful days for me. Some hold significance for whole communities and some are simply significant to me, but they have culminated and left me feeling heavy…in a good way. I share a lot about One Wave, the nonprofit surf organization, that I have become a part of since I moved to Sydney a year ago. Every Friday I head to Bondi Beach in my Fluro gear and meet up with the most genuine group of people I have met here in Sydney. We have a group chat about mental health, share stories of struggle and inspiration, bring it in for a group hug and then the surfers head out to the ocean and the yogis practice on the beach. I got involved simply because I saw a Facebook event for sunrise yoga on Bondi beach when I first moved there. I have stayed involved because not only do I love the sunrise beach yoga but I love being supported and reminded how truly important mental health awareness is. Not to mention, I’ve met some of my closest friends there and every Friday we go to brunch together and check in on each other’s week in the most fulfilling and honest way. Everyone who attends is in some way affected by mental health (either in their own experiences or the experiences of loved ones close to them) so it gives me a very safe space to discuss my struggles and to be there for my friends who also are struggling.

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Have a Mimosa

I have been in the LAX airport for almost 24 hours. My connecting flight from Chicago was delayed last night which led me to miss my connecting flight to Sydney. Little did I know that there is only flight from LAX to Sydney per day with United Airlines and thanks to poor customer service and my overtired frustration-it landed me sleeping in the airport. Around 5 am I peeled my eyes open, wiped the drool from my neck pillow and half way sleeping limped my way to the United Club lounge. I paid for the day to eat, drink, and lounge in comfy leather chairs as I wait for my flight to leave for Sydney tonight. I was sitting next to two young Australian girls in line at customer service last night who were chatting and laughing saying they were lucky their other friend went a different route home or he would have been pissed and miserable. They were in the same boat I was but just didn’t seem to be letting it phase them. I realized, although I was not their friend, and too tired to even form friendly words, I was the friend being pissed and miserable. I’ve spent 24 hours  in the airport after one of the best month vacations of my life. I’m alive, I’m in great health, my family is loving and supportive, I got to spend time with SO many people who I love dearly,  I have a sexy English boyfriend who is picking me up at the airport and the happiest little life to return to down under, WHAT THE HELL DO I HAVE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT?

It’s funny because while I was driving down to NYC with my parents, I was browsing quotes and musing about my trip and I came across a photo of a dandelion with the quote, “Some see a weed, some see a wish.” I discussed in my post how happy I was that I had the ability to see the worst scenario as a chance to grow and learn. And then, there I was in a shitty situation(a day later) feeling angry, victimized, and exhausted to the point where I contemplated a 5 year old brat meltdown as a viable option for my frustrations. I am telling you this not because I am still angry but because I want to remind myself how easy it is to let trials and tribulations in life overwhelm us. It’s funny, it was like I knew that my future self needed that advice.  It doesn’t matter how happy you are, what job you have , how much money you have in the bank- we all get overwhelmed by the stress and curveballs that life throws our way. Just because I consider myself to be a positive person, does not mean that I am immune from these feelings or situations. What it does mean is that I know how to fix these feelings… quickly.

I went to bed on the airport chairs with my tiny navy blue blankets and my possessions strategically stacked under me in case of criminals lurking in the night. I was still beyond annoyed but thinking about the chipper girls in line behind me just laughing it off and rolling with the punches, I felt even more frustrated because usually that’s me. I woke up to airport staff clearing out everyone from our section because they needed to rearrange the seats. I was startled and half asleep and felt like I was in some sort of homeless person village with all of the fellow travelers in the same boat as me. I woke up surprisingly in a better mood. I realized that this isn’t the worst thing that could happen and gave me a built in day to catch up with my clients, coaches, emails, messages, and now my blog. I’ve watched a few Ted Talks and YouTube training videos from a few entrepreneurs and people I look up to. I spent a lot of time in Podcast land. Sure, I’m a little bored but I’m using it as a positive, focused time to work on my business and myself. And, after a few mimosas life doesn’t seem so bad.  

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More is possible

In April, I promised to appear weekly with a “headspace” blog post which certainly has turned into an incredible outlet for getting out my weekly thoughts, experiences and reflections. If you are a writer, you understand the often grueling process that goes into our craft and I desired a space to express myself without fretting over my sentence structure or my word choice. Of course, I pay attention to these things but for my weekly writing the actual use of my blog as a “headspace” or a “brain dump” was much more important than the mechanics of the piece. After discovering that one of my favorite authors Elizabeth Gilbert has her own podcast (called Magic Lessons, PLEASE LISTEN) I am feeling more inspired than ever to continue my journey as a writer and push my creativity to higher levels. Coincidentally, I also got an offer to be a contributing writer to an up and coming website that is seeking to be one of the biggest blogging websites on the world wide web. I am so honored and excited because the offer to write for them is completely aligned with my aim for myself as a writer. They encouraged me to write about whatever inspires me the most and see this as an opportunity to connect to a whole new community of writers and readers. Coincidence? I think not. That my friends is the power of the universe.

After binge listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast (trust me a podcast binge is so much more fulfilling and stimulating than a Netflix one) I felt an intense pull at my heart strings to pursue and cherish the gift and the passion I have for my writing. The stories inside of me are not something that I feel as if I can survive without telling. That may sound extremely dramatic to those of you who do not have specific creative calling(that you are aware of) but to me it is plain and simple. Like the feeling of hunger, excitement, joy, or sleepiness. The feeling to create is plain and simple for me and it is relentless. The more I listen to it, the freer I feel. You can expect to see more from me in the coming months as I pursue my new venture as a contributing writer. I am honored and downright ecstatic based on the continual support I get from those around me. My mother, will always be my most faithful reader and artful critic. But I notice and appreciate every bit of feedback you give me. The truth is, I would and will write despite the fact that anyone reads or enjoys it. But the fact that you read and enjoy it channels my inner “flow” of spirit. The more genuine I am to my most inner thoughts and feelings the more my audience responds favorably. To me, that is simply a testament of this incredible gift. One of my favorite quotes, that I have included on the homepage of my blog, “Great writers remind us that more is possible”- Kiddler & Todd. Simply put, I can not think of a better mantra for what I am to aiming to bring to my readers. More is possible, in so many facets and nuances of life, writing, troubles, and happiness. More is infinitely available but impressively elusive. Let’s go find it together. 

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Life matters

My headspace is inundated by a topic that has been saturating the media like wildfire in the past few days and really for the past few years. My blog is my space and my words are intended to express my personal thoughts and beliefs. They may be opposite or different than yours, but I expect you to be able to entertain thoughts that are different from your own. If we can not attempt to understand other people’s opinions on controversial matters, we are doomed to this cycle of  hatred, violence, protest and pain. Social media has allowed people an outlet to unload their emotions before they have the time to properly reflect, educate, research and compose themselves. I don’t blame anyone who releases their emotions, especially their hurt emotions, but I do implore everyone to remember that one voice, your voice, does make a difference, whether you choose to acknowledge that or not. What you spread onto the internet has far reaching repercussions for the morale, stigmas, and social movements happening in our country and around the world. Just because some people cannot artfully and respectfully verbalize their opinion does not mean that people who can should be silenced. We need more solutions and we need more voices, stop complacently watching as this horror unfolds.

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I am involved in an incredible online community where women from all over the world join together in their love for traveling. In this extremely active community, we often address the issues of the world and breaking news in a manner that relates and reflects on how it affects us as global citizens and travelers. The conversation was sparked about the recent murders of two African American males in the past two days in the United States and as usual, many different and emotionally charged comments were presented.

Many women posted articles and opinions and a discussion formed about the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the “All Lives Matter” counter criticism. I tried to read the articles and remain open to different perspectives. I read a few articles that I believe are extremely eye opening and  beneficial to read despite your stance on the subject. In a message board on Reddit.com the user, Geek Aesthete, artfully describes that the “Black Lives Matter” movement has an implicit “too” not an implicit “only”. Another blogger, Tyler Huckabee,  at relevantmagazine.com eloquently reminds us how important context is in this campaign. Again, “Black Lives matter” does not need the answer “All lives matter” because that is negating and dismissive to the current situation and context at hand. Huckabee states,“There is a difference between true and relevant”. Charles P. Pierce on esquire.com also acknowledges that All lives matter is not infact an appropriate response or movement and Pierce says,

“ Too much All Lives Matter rhetoric has been shot through with excusing even the most egregious and deadly police misconduct because of the “dangerous job” that police have in controlling not only actual criminals, but the spectral predators in the common mind.”

After reading close to 20 different articles from a variety of platforms, authors, opinions and subject matter and a heated two hour long phone phone conversation with my mom in America, I will humbly attempt to raise my voice in hopes to make a difference.

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Leave Your Shadow

I’m passionate about discussing and sharing about difficult topics in order to allow other people to feel more at peace and beautiful within their own skin. It’s easy to talk about happy, exciting things but what we really need to talk about is the hard stuff. My thoughts today are on body image. As a health and fitness nut and coach I am constantly talking about, thinking about working on my own and helping others to have a positive body image. Self love and confidence is one of the MOST important gifts which I hope to instill and inspire in others but also one of the hardest things to attain. I think I have a very unique perspective and one I’m willing to share with you to try to expand your grasp of what it means to love yourself and the journey I went on to get there.

As a child I was the epitome of awkward; lanky, big feet, glasses, braces and of course the infamous unibrow. I was a nerd and a bookworm but genuinely a pretty warm and loving kid. I could play in my imagination for hours upon hours. Luckily, today that still is the case.

In my adolescence I realized that most girls were very concerned with how “skinny” they were. I could eat cheeseburgers, pizza, ice cream every night and nothing stuck. I’m not saying this to brag whatsoever, I am simply stating the facts. It is hilarious to me how people can poke fun at themselves for being overweight as a child or in the past but as soon as you mention the opposite problem people want to shut you up real quick. I was teased by friends and strangers about being skinny but I knew I couldn’t help it so I just laughed it off.

As I grew into a teenager I suffered the tremendous loss of my childhood best friend to suicide. She was absolutely gorgeous and “perfect” from an outsider’s perspective. I had countless people ask me, “what did SHE have to be sad about!?” Simply based on the way she looked. Why does an attractive exterior mean that you have an attractive interior? Why should struggling and feeling depressed be exclusive to people who have less appealing appearances? How can people be so ignorant as to not acknowledge that life is NOT all about how we look?

I spent the rest of high school learning what it felt like to look “pretty” and “skinny” on the outside but inside I was carrying so much grief, suffering and pain. I struggled for years trying to cope with the loss of my best friend and sure, I appeared normal and attractive on the outside but my inside soul and mind were in constant turmoil and anguish. I didn’t know what to say when people could only comment (negatively) about how lucky I was about being skinny. Or “shut up, you wouldn’t understand.” How selfish of you to exclude me from the “suffering club” based on my appearance? But, yet again, how is this something that any teenager could verbalize? Most adults still wouldn’t. But you know what, if I have learned anything about life, it’s that it is too damn short to walk on eggshells. I will bare my soul to you even if it’s about topics that are hard to discuss because real recognizes real and I simply refuse to silence my heart now that I have learned how to love myself properly.

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