Being The Wife of A Musician: The Things No One Tells You

First off- I’d like to start this post by saying I love my wife VERY much.

I remember when we first started dating I was blown away by her ability to open her mouth and project sounds that didn’t resemble a dying animal (Note: I really cannot sing). I was even more impressed when she proved she could play guitar while singing AT THE SAME TIME.

I was quickly wooed over by her angelic voice and killer instrumental skills. But, little did I know, I would eventually be a band wife. And band wives have a lot of duties and unwritten rules.

Here are the things NO ONE tells you when you start dating a musician:

  • There will rarely be quiet time again: In the shower? Singing. Trying to nap? Guitar solos trailing up the stairs. In the middle of a conversation? Singing again. In bed? Drums blasting downstairs.
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  • Your basement is no longer YOUR basement. It belongs to the music now: I’ve always been cool with her creating a recording studio space in our basements (even when we lived in tiny houses that could have benefitted from some extra space). What I didn’t expect was that she would hunt the house for every single blanket we own and create what looks like a giant blanket fort in our basement to absorb echoes and create the ultimate recording situation. Now, when I walk into the basement I am greeted by blankets hanging from the ceiling acting as doors as I make my way to the laundry room. Plus side? She has volunteered to do more laundry now.
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  • You will be expected to attend shows of people you’ve never heard of: I’m totally cool with this one… except when the people mega suck and she still suggests we see them. :’)
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  • She will spend hours in the blanket basement at one time and will request that you don’t make a sound: That means no showering. No walking around. No breathing. Okay- the last one was a joke.
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  • You may end up doubling as her Manager/Tour Planner: Again- totally cool with this one because I love planning events. I do wish I got to go on the tour though… 😉
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  • The bandmates become your great friends: Or in our case- the best men at our wedding.
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  • You’ll probably end up running the merch table… 
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  • You’ll start listening to music differently… Listen to that Vibrato damn.
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  • She’ll make you fall in love again and again with every song she writes about you. (Especially when she sings it for you at your wedding in front of everybody.)
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  • And you will especially love the way she serenades the dog. Now if only we could teach him to sing back.
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Based on this list… I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Just means I can be her biggest fan.

Why I Stopped Writing my Second Book

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while but wasn’t sure where to start.

My first book, Waves, took years to write. It was a bundle of poetry and prose written over the span of 7 years. It was a representation of personal torment and growth. Honestly, it came easily. It was burning inside my chest and I didn’t feel relief until I had it all on paper and in the hands of readers.

The words came easily. I would have dreams of ideas for poems and cool phrases and metaphors would come to me often. Of course, it was a process to write the book in its entirety, but overall the process was seamless.

But- here’s what I never talk about when discussing my writing- It kills me and brings me to life simultaneously. While I’m writing, I isolate myself behind closed doors with headphones on and dive into the darkest corners of my mind. Truly, it’s a scary place to be. But, it provides me with compelling content.

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if my writing makes me sick, or better. If it provides me serenity or traps me in a nightmare. And the conclusion I have come to is that it does both. I turn into almost a zombie when I’m writing; not showering, sitting at my desk, or more often in bed, writing and deleting and writing and deleting… I forget to go outside, forget to experience life because I’m so consumed with writing about it.

All of that being said, I’ve been taking a bit of a break from writing my new book, Undertow. Partly because I have to go out and experience things before I have content to write about, and partly because I’m so tired of writing about the past. It’s exhausting and re-traumatizing, to say the least.

Here’s what I’ve been trying to do instead of write
(in hopes that it will give me inspiration when I’m ready to write again) :

  • Seeing friends. Instead of isolating myself and writing, I’ve been trying to connect with old friends and make new ones. Each person I meet inspires me in some way and contributes to new ideas.
  • Focussing on wellness. When I write, I get into a state where I literally forget to take care of myself, no matter how hard I try to remember. It just isn’t on my radar. So lately I’ve been using this break to focus on nutrition, work & relationships.
  • Planning activities that will inspire me. I’ve been planning trips, social events, even just listening to new music, reading new books (different types and genres than I usually read) and watching new movies and tv shows to spark inspiration.
  • Actually experience my life instead of writing about it: This is a big one. For a while, I was so consumed with writing that I rarely left the house except to go to work and do groceries. Now I’m seeking out experiences, staying present in moments instead of thinking about writing of them later and focussing on goals aside from my next book.

This isn’t to say that there won’t be another book, it’s just going to take longer than I initially thought.

Here’s to living, and experiencing.

TJ

Another Article I found Interesting:

https://www.bustle.com/articles/66871-5-reasons-why-writers-should-take-a-break-from-writing-every-now-and-then-and-what

Coping With Anxiety When Trying to Sleep

It’s no secret many of us lose sleep due to stress & anxiety. When our parents checked for monsters under our beds, I wonder if they were thinking to themselves “silly kid, they’re inside your head.”

I’ve overcome night time anxiety and nocturnal panic attacks.  I started having nocturnal panic attacks after I graduated college- likely due to the stressors of adjusting to adulthood and living on my own for the first time.

I would wake up drenched in sweat, heart racing, body shaking at least once a week, usually more. Surrounded by darkness, I would stumble out of my room and panic while trying to find my lorazepam – the ONLY thing that gave me relief during that time. Many times after those episodes, I would stay awake til the early hours of the morning watching Netflix…playing games on my phone… anything to distract my brain from the pending doom of having to go to work the next day on 3 hours of sleep.

When I wasn’t experiencing middle of the night panic, I was experiencing falling asleep anxiety. My mind would race a million miles a minute. Thoughts would float in and stick to the back of my eyelids. Each time I closed my eyes, all I could see was a thousand different worries. I would look at my partner, sleeping soundly, beside me and this only made me feel alone ( and slightly jealous that I wasn’t sleeping!)

This isn’t to say that I NEVER experience anxiety at night anymore. But it doesn’t consume me every night and leave me restless and in zombie-like states each day anymore.

Here are the strategies and lifestyle changes I’ve made to aid in healthy sleep and reduced nighttime anxiety & panic:

  • 10-10-10 Breathing: Simply inhale slowly for 10 seconds, hold for 10 seconds and exhale slowly for 10 seconds. I usually do 2 rounds whenever I need to feel grounded. Puts me right into a state of relaxation.
  • Weight: Weighted blankets are a huge trend right now…for good reason- they work! If a weighted blanket isn’t in your budget, pile a bunch of blankets on top of each other. Better yet- invite a pet to lay on you (if they’re willing!)
  • Go to bed before everyone: This one’s kind of weird- but trust me… I used to stay up later than my S/O’s in the past and would end up awake well into the early hours of the morning with racing thoughts. The idea of staying up after everyone else is asleep and binging Netflix sounds nice in theory. But, I find if I go to sleep while there’s still people awake I am comforted knowing that there’s still noise and bustle outside of my bedroom.
  • Magnesium: I find taking Magnesium pills right before bed extremely helpful. They help me stay asleep. Consult your doctor before taking them. 
  • Stick to a sleep schedule: This is a big one for me. This is the primary change in lifestyle that has helped me stop having night-time panic attacks. I go to sleep every night around 9:30 (before my wife), and wake up every day between 5:30-6:00 a.m. My body now knows when to sleep and how to sleep through the night.
  • Avoid Naps:  Anyone who knows me, knows I love naps…like if I’m on vacation or have a day off that’s what I want to do. They feel so luxurious to me. BUT, they are deadly to my sleep health. So I’ve cut them out.
  • Stay Busy During The Day:  A busy day helps me sleep at night. Even if I have the day off, I try to clean, go out or do things that help exhaust me so I don’t end up just laying in bed unable to sleep. That’s when the thoughts creep in.

On nights I still wake up in panic mode

Though I rarely experience nocturnal panic anymore, in the event that I do, I try to use these strategies to get through them and not let it turn into a cycle.

  • GET UP. Don’t lay in bed panicking- go to another room and do something that comforts you. For me, it’s watching re-runs of old TV shows and playing dumb games on my phone until the panic passes.
  • DRINK ICE WATER or Put an ice pack on the back of your neck. Trust me, it helps shock your body to a different state. In winter I’ll even step outside.
  • TAKE SOMETHING IF YOU NEED IT. If you have a prescription for Ativan or any sort or similar drug and feel comfortable taking one, then do so. There are also natural alternatives such as GABA-T SAP that I take and find extremely helpful. Again, consult your doctor before taking anything new.
  • CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS: Try not to catastrophize your panic. Breathe through it and try to remind yourself it’s temporary and this is simply your body/mind processing something. Allow yourself time to get through it and try not to be angry at your body for the panic.

I hope these techniques can help you get a good sleep and kick the panic.

Love,

TJ

Life Update/Recovery Details

Wow.

Not quite sure where to start as I feel SO much has changed since I began my naturopathic treatment plan in early December.

For Anyone Who’s New Here

I’ve struggled with depression (possibly bi-polar according to my family doctor [who I have since left due to her lack of knowledge and bedside manner]), anxiety, OCD and insomnia since I was a pre-teen. I have been to over 20 different therapists, tried countless different coping strategies such as yoga, meditation, and grounding techniques. I have been admitted to one hospital after a suicide attempt and have come close to self-admitting more times than I can remember.

Last year, after I began seeing my naturopath, she suggested I complete the Dutch test. So, I did. I trusted her when she said, based on my symptoms and history, she believed I was suffering from a hormonal imbalance, not depression and most definitely not from bi-polar.

After completing the test (which is basically just like a few pregnancy tests that you pee on at certain times of the day/evening at a specific time in your cycle), my results came back. She was 100% right- my testosterone and estrogen were sky high and my Progesterone was absent. My body also wasn’t releasing cortisol and was “hoarding” it which apparently can happen after trauma (even years later).

At first, I was skeptical until I got to the second page of my results and saw that my Dopamine and Serotonin levels were actually elevated… Likely due to the Zoloft I’ve been taking for nearly a decade thinking I simply was deficient of those two chemicals. 

Treatment Plan:

Currently, I take over 20 pills a day. The 20 pills consist of 10 different supplements to help regulate my hormones, and a low dose of Zoloft (that I may or may not need to take forever).

Other lifestyle changes I have made as per the recommendation of my naturopath are:

  • Limiting alcohol consumption. I only drink about twice a week now (socially). Before, I was drinking 2-3 glasses of wine every night. Limiting alcohol is essential. My liver has to be at it’s prime right now as I try to heal my Estrogen dominance (the liver eliminates excess estrogen.)
  • Limiting sugar. This one is tough for me as I love sweets! But I am being mindful and trying to limit my sugar intake.
  • Engaging in low-impact exercise. Before, I would kill myself at the gym. I figured pain was good and meant I was building muscle. My naturopath recommended I stick to yoga and other low impact activities like walking and tai chi. She said most people who have hormone imbalances are absolutely depleted and their bodies are already exhausted without pushing themselves at the gym.
  • Eating a hormone balancing diet of protein, vegetables (as many as possible!), and healthy fats. Fruit in moderation as it is high in sugar. (I’m working on this one and gradually making better choices.)

*So far, my body has responded very well to the supplements. I didn’t have any adverse reactions aside from a bit of heartburn at first and can confidently say I am experiencing far more positive side effects than I thought I would.

What I’ve Noticed so Far: 

  • Better sleep: I used to wake up every night, multiple times. I’d wake up in cold sweats, often with my heart racing and would often have middle of the night panic attacks. Now, I sleep through the night most nights and feel more rested.
  • Fewer panic attacks in general: I haven’t had a full-blown panic attack since I started taking the supplements (so more than a month free of panic attacks which means I also haven’t had to use Lorazepam!)
  • Increased Energy: For the first time in a long time, I feel human! Before I felt like a zombie, just wandering mindlessly through the motions, completely exhausted. Now, I have a lot more energy (like enough energy to clean the house and do things I used to put off for weeks.) This could be due to better sleep, but I also think my body is just recovering.
  • Fewer Cravings: I used to crave sugar like crazy. Now, I feel like I’m craving savory foods and foods that are high in fat. Not sure what this means yet!
  • Less severe PMS symptoms: I used to experience the worst PMS symptoms like acne, depression, almost constant anxiety, and panic attacks, and cramping so bad I would have to curl into the fetal position. Now, I still experience these symptoms, but on a much smaller scale.

Next Steps

Now that my body has gotten used to the supplements, I am going to get a bit more serious about my lifestyle changes. I’m going to be really conscious of the food I put into my body and try my hardest to stick to a hormone balancing diet (and try to eliminate or strictly limit carbs aka sugar).

I’m also planning to try different forms of gentle exercise and make it a more prominent part of my treatment plan (because I miss going hard at the gym.)

In another month, I will go back to my naturopath for a follow-up appointment where we will discuss how I have been feeling, and what she thinks our next steps should be. Ideally, in 6 months to a year, we will re-test my hormones and see some progress

If you Think you Might Have a Hormone Imbalance

I would strongly suggest you bring it up with your family doctor. See if you can get your hormones tested. If they aren’t receptive and blame your symptoms on mental illness (like my family doctor did) I’d urge you to get a second opinion and see a naturopath.

Love,

TJ

Self-Care Doesn’t Mean Putting Yourself Into Debt

My First Experience With Self-Care

I first heard the term “self-care” when I was in college studying Child and Youth Care. Our profs would tell us constantly how important self-care is in our profession and how it will ultimately prevent burnout. We would have conversations of what self-care meant, and how to fit it into our busy lives of being students and juggling placement and working.

So What is it, Really?

Self-Care, in it’s most basic form, is “The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”

Nowhere does that definition state self-care being the obligation to buy an 8$ bath bomb or $100 yoga mat each time we feel depleted. Or “treating ourselves” (don’t get me started on how much I despise the term “Treat Yo Self.”) to a 7$ Macchiato (jam-packed with sugar that will likely NOT help whatever mental/physical exhaustion you’re feeling) from Starbucks as a reward for going to class despite the lack of sleep and calling it self-care.

It’s Become Pure Consumerism

Self-care has been hi-jacked by retail companies, preying on people who just want to FEEL better. They target their products towards mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted individuals and charge insane prices because they know, we’ll buy the products just to try and feel better.

Our generation (Millenials) is obsessed with the $10billion self-care industry. Search the web for self-care and you’ll find hundreds of articles surrounding self-care, many of which encourage you to buy something that is likely overpriced and out of your budget (I mean common, we’re all in our 20’s here…none of us can afford $100 pillows and the daily $7 Starbucks Drink)

Here is my current favorite cringe-worthy example of “Self-Care” product marketing.

Chapters/Indigo:

Chapters/Indigo has a new “New You” Section on their website jacked with overpriced products such as bath salts loaded with chemicals and packaged beautifully, Luxury loungewear and white-noise machines. All things I’m sure we’d love to purchase, but realistically, these purchases won’t solve our inability to relax or sleep… They just convince us they will.
Like really how is buying a $48.00 towel really going to help? Go back to what you know- selling books.

Self-Care keeps us in a perpetual state of consumerism. Buy the next self-help book. Buy that organic smoothie (but eat McDonald’s an hour later). Buy that bath bomb. Buy that soft overpriced sweater and claim it’s self-care. None of this is self-care. This is consumerism and we justify our over-spending by convincing ourselves it will benefit our health…But does it really?

So… What is Self-Care if it isn’t Spending Money?

Now that I’ve come clean about my dislike for the commercialism of self-care, I’ll tell you what I think self-care truly is and should be.

  • Accessible to everyone: Fresh Air, Staying Hydrated, Spending time with people who lift you up, allowing yourself to sleep in once in a while, balancing your work-home life. 
  • Cheap/Free: Self-care shouldn’t put you in debt or prevent you from saving money.  Notice nothing above costs money.
  • Good for the body, mind, and soul: Home yoga videos (My fave is yogawithAdriene), spending time with animals (visit a shelter if you don’t have one), Learning a new skill (new recipes are an easy go-to).

Self-Care Isn’t Just the Fun Stuff 

Though I would much rather buy another self-help book and read it in bed while sipping my overpriced smoothie. I know self-care is so much more than that. Self-care is the tough stuff. The boring and mundane.

Self-care is going to therapy and then actually DOING THE HOMEWORK so you don’t have to continue spending $100-250 a pop to listen to your therapist tell you the same shit.

And it’s paying your bills on time, putting money into savings so you can actually enjoy your life down the road, cleaning your space, sleeping when you need sleep, cooking healthy meals, reading self-help books (or better yet just reading about self-improvement online) and then DOING THE WORK instead of perpetually buying the books searching for deeper meaning, spending time with people who make you feel good.

Self-care is so much more than a retail experience.

Other Articles About Self-Care 

http://thefederalist.com/2017/06/13/is-self-care-healthy-or-the-ultimate-in-millennial-narcissism-yes/


https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/02/self-care-apps-are-booming/

https://thethirty.byrdie.com/self-care-status-symbol

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/self-care-is-hard#6

Cheap/Free Self-Care Articles

https://acleanbake.com/self-care-ideas/


https://www.continuumcollective.org/blog/2017/3/7/5-self-care-strategies-that-arent-fucking-mani-pedis


https://www.bustle.com/p/21-quick-life-changing-self-care-hacks-that-dont-cost-you-anything-7842786


I hope you can create a cost-free/cheap self-care routine ’cause you know going into debt and running from your problems isn’t self-care.

Love,
TJ

Shit I Learned in 2018

2018 was a year for the books. It brought me the greatest highs I’ve ever experienced and also brought about the deepest depression and anxiety I’ve ever known. Here are a few things I learned along the way.

  • Quit anything that hurts your soul. I have spent so much time and effort working jobs, maintaining friendships and pursuing hobbies that brought me absolutely nothing but anxiety and grief. In 2018, I really tried to hone in on what I want for my life… how I want it to feel. And I ditched anything that didn’t feel the way I wanted to feel. (I stopped killing myself at the gym for aesthetic purposes, I left a job that continuously back-tracked any mental health progress I made and I stopped putting effort into friendships that weren’t 2-way-streets.)
  • Being absolutely terrified doesn’t mean you aren’t absolutely ready. I spent a large part of 2018 being scared shitless, literally unable to eat from anxiety and constantly shaking. I was terrified to get married in front of 100+ people, to go to a foreign country (and to get on a plane), to buy a house in fear of making the wrong choice and regret it later… You get the point. I was terrified during all of these events. But let me tell you, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t ready. These events brought me the most happiness I’ve ever experienced. It’s okay to feel terrified. This year I leaned into the fear, challenged it and faced it.
  • Therapy is only going to work if you work. I’ve spent so many hours of my life in and out of waiting rooms and talking to strangers hoping they can give me the magic words I need to hear to make my mental illness vanish. It took me a long time to get really tired of constantly feeling sorry for myself and put in the time and effort to get better. Putting in the effort looks different for everyone, but for me, it was doing my homework, changing my distorted thinking patterns, keeping thought journals and changing what I was putting into my body (copious amounts of red wine weren’t helping my anxiety.)
  • Mental health is strongly connected to physical health. My mental health is strongly connected to my physical health. If I take my supplements, eat clean and get outside, exercise moderately and meditate/do yoga I feel clear and well. If I drink alcohol every night, eat crap and stay in the house for days I feel depressed and anxious. This year I really started taking care of myself. I’m not perfect, there are days where I slip up and don’t eat as great as I should or forget to stretch…But I’m mindful of how my physical health impacts my mental health now.
  • Don’t trust someone just because they’re a helping professional. Not all doctors have an intensive understanding of mental illness. Not all doctors are willing to try to get to the bottom of your issues and will turn to prescription pills before anything else. If you don’t like your doctor, take steps to find a new one. If you need more help, consider a naturopath or a life coach (I know, expensive…but worth it if you can fit it into your budget).

Ultimately, trust your gut. Soul-search. Don’t feel guilty for taking time to better yourself. And, don’t stop moving forward.

What do you mean I might not be mentally ill?

If you were to ask me 10 years ago where I would be at 25, “I don’t know if I’ll make it to 25.”

My mental illness (diagnosed as depression, anxiety & OCD) has been a shadow following me since I was 12. I remember the first time I thought there might be something wrong was when I started coming home from school at 4, sleeping until 7, eating and then sleeping till morning. No amount of sleep could cure the exhaustion.

It has stuck with me ever since. It has grown and morphed and squeezed into every single aspect of my life despite my best efforts to shield myself from it. It has progressed into a monster that I undoubtedly am no match for.

Now, at 25 I am married to a woman I adore, in a house I love with a dog I can’t imagine my life without. But, my “mental illness” has been worse than ever before. It has manifested into what my family doctor referred to as “probably bi-polar”, and has consumed me entirely as I tried to find ways to cope with it.

I’ve tried diet changes, medications (including an anti-psychotic for my “probably bi-polar“, exercise, socializing more, staying busier, taking time to rest, going on sick-leaves from work, life-coaching, therapist after therapist after therapist… To say the least, it has been exhausting and completely debilitating.

I have burnt bridges professionally, lost friends, and questioned my purpose during what I thought was “mania.” I have felt so enlightened and determined that I wrote half of a book in one sitting. A rollercoaster could not compete with the twisty ride my brain was on.

But, the one helping professional who has empowered me and helped me fight for answers is my naturopath. I’ve been seeing her for a year, and in that time, she has dug down to the roots of my being. She has asked questions no doctor ever thought to ask and wanted a full picture of my life (right down to when I go to the bathroom.)

So, when she suggested that I might not actually have a mental illness, but that it is a symptom of a larger problem, I believed she could be right. 

She then proceeded to tell me that she wanted me to take a test that tests the hormone, serotonin, dopamine, and neurotransmitters in the body called the Dutch Test
I trusted her. I trusted her wholeheartedly because I so badly needed an answer for why my depression and anxiety/OCD had morphed into this bi-polar like illness that was eating me alive.

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So- I took the test. I peed on little flaps of papers at certain times a day at a certain day in my cycle and then mailed it off in hopes that I would find relief. Nearly a month later, my results came back. I met with my naturopath who had taken the time to analyze the tests and what she told me frightened and enlightened me. “Your mental illness is a symptom of a hormone imbalance.” She also informed me that my serotonin levels, dopamine levels, and neurotransmitters were in the normal-high range. But that all of my basic hormones, including my cortisol, were not.

THANK GOD” were the first two words that popped into my head. Next were “who am I without it?” 

I never realized how heavily I identified as someone who is depressed, who is anxious, who has OCD. I never imagined it could be anything else. So now, I’m here. Sitting with the feelings that accompany my new diagnosis of having a “hormone imbalance” while not letting it have too much power over me (though I cannot wait to get my hormones back to a healthy level.)

For the next while, my posts will likely be about my experiences surrounding recovery & hormone balance, as well as my emotions surrounding this entire experience.

Love

 

 

 

 

 

My Dogs Birthday

Note: This post will be written by no other than Doby, the dog (@dobythedawg on Instagram).

I woke up today, and it was like any other day. It was rainy which meant likely no walk… but then, mom turned on the fireplace and invited me for special couch cuddles where she doesn’t ask me to make more room for her! The whole couch to myself! She even tucked me in (which isn’t a rare occurrence). I’m too kind to tell her that’s what my fur is for.

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So Doby

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Much Cozy

After our couch cuddle, mom went into the fridge (always a good sign!). I awaited eternally hopeful for some human food to eat. She returned with A POT! A POT THAT I COULD LICK!

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DEEEEEEELICIOUS

As if my day wasn’t already the best….mom #1 (#2 came home later) surprised me with a homemade treat. I saw her making them but assumed she was making quinoa or something else that’s disgusting.

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come to papa

Belly. so. full.

I can tell now it’s afternoon. Kids are walking past our house with strange packs on their backs. Mom says it’s called a backpack… I don’t see why. ANYWAYS. Afternoon means mom#2. comes home from work in a few hours. Which means…DINNNNNER. I am so excited for dinner.

Mom #1. is wrapping some things that smell a lot like toys and treats in a weird bag with a  bunch of tissue now. I love tissue.

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I wait.

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so tempt.

MOM #2. Is home. OMGOMGOMG. I  haven’t seen her in centuries. And doesn’t she know it’s my birthed day! I hope she knows. We must celebrate the life of DOBY!

By this time- my favorite meal of the day is ready! Dinner! Moms keep saying “plate for Doby.” I know what a plate is! I like plates! I want a plate for DOBY!

 

I loved my plate for Doby!

I think now that we have all eaten dinner it might be time to see what’s in the tissue bag.

 

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD I GOT A NEW ROPE TOY THAT I CAN CHEW AND TEAR APART AND DRAG ALL OVER THE 3 FLOORS OF THIS HOUSE AND LEAVE LITTLE BITS EVERYWHERE ESPECIALLY ON THE CARPET. YES!

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I love rope toy.

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Moms keep making me pose for more photos even though all I want to do is open the rest of the things in the tissue bag.

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much excite to eat all of these toys… i mean treats

Wow. Now that all of that excitement is over. All I want to do is take all of my new toys to my bed. Chew them all (likely to bits) and then beg all night for all of my new treats.

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I am done with stupid hat. Let me chew my toys in peace.

 

LOOOOOVE: DOBY

What I’ve Learned Being 24

Recently I celebrated a birthday… 25! Can’t even lie; it kinda crept up on me. Birthdays are a strange thing. It’s like “Hey- you were birthed ______ many years ago…Congrats!” Regardless, I always use my birthdays as an opportunity to reflect on the past year and create goals for the next.

24 was a HUGE year, full of love and opportunity and exploration. It was one of my favorite years so far.

Here are a bunch of lists inspired by my 24th year on this planet: 

Favorite 3 hobbies: 

  1. Refinishing Furniture: I mean, who doesn’t like making something old look new again. I’ll be writing a new post soon on the refinishing process and the tools I use! Stay Tuned!

  2. Socializing: I’ve always been an introvert (An extroverted introvert to be more specific), but lately, I’ve been trying to meet like-minded people and to my surprise, I’ve actually enjoyed it. I think the key in socializing as an introvert is to find the right people. For me, they are genuine, laid-back, non-materialistic people who I can laugh (and drink wine) with.
  3. Writing Class: I recently enrolled in a poetry class online through Algonquin and lemme tell ya, it’s been eye-opening. My prof doesn’t think twice before telling me what needs improvement in my writing, but he also gives me a lot of praise which is definitely great for my ego. It’s insightful to study all different forms of poetry and step out of my writing norm.

Top 3 books

  1. Katarina By James Frey: Say what you want about Frey being full of poop… He can write. This book creates an urgency of nostalgia gripping you right in the heartstrings. It outlines his experience as a young adult moving to Paris and becoming a writer. I definitely recommend for any artist! Sidenote: Steamy hetero romances that even I wasn’t repulsed by. 
  2. The Year of Cozy: So this book is literally the most adorable book ever. It’s a beautiful book filled with photos of cozy foods, crafts, and ideas. It’s visually stunning and definitely a must-have for home-bodies.
  3. First, We Make The Beast Beautiful : Just the title of this memoir gives me all sorts of feels. It truly is an inside look into the mind of someone who lives with anxiety. One of the truest and most relatable memoirs I’ve read thus far. It’s insightful, but not complain-y and has many tools listed to combat anxiety. Must have!

Top 2 Experiences:

  1. Our wedding. Hands down my favorite day I’ve had on this planet (besides maybe being birthed?) It was worth every sleepless night worrying about the minuscule details, the hours spent planning and contacting vendors and every single vendor who forgot to change their contracts to accommodate a 2 bride wedding. I wish I could re-live that day over and over. And believe me, in my head, I do. (Our photographer Lisa Provencal captures the most beautiful images! Check out her blog here.
    View More: http://lisaprovencalphotography.pass.us/taraandalison2018
  2. Italy: As someone who lives with chronic anxiety/panic disorder, I was really nervous to fly across the ocean and visit somewhere I had never been. I mean- I get anxious just going to meet a friend for coffee… And here I was getting on a plane and flying across the ocean and then another plane from the Germany airport (which is fucking horrendous for anyone who hasn’t been… It is the physical form of anxiety), to Florence and then driving all over Italy. I learned a lot from this trip. Primarily I learned that I can’t run from Anxiety. It’s with me wherever I go, and there’s comfort in knowing that if I just sit with it, eventually it passes. I saw so much beauty in Italy as well…A beauty that I will always cherish and let inspire both my art and cooking.
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Top Lesson Learned

This one is tough because I feel like I’m constantly learning lessons (usually the hard way). This year I think I really learned to listen to my body and understand what it truly needs. I’ve learned that the only person who can help me out of the dark days, is me. And that despite the love and support I receive from others, my mental wellness ultimately lies in my hands. I’ve learned that no one else can tell me what I should do to make me feel better (not even a therapist, though they can help). And that I truly know what I want and need, I just need to listen to my inner voice.

I have big goals for 25…but it could be 26. 😉 

  1. Write and publish my second book
  2. Explore Canada!
  3. Re-vamp my blog! (Details soon)

 

Good things are coming…

🙂

 

#WorldSuicidePreventionDay / Announcement

When the days feel like too much

When stepping out the front door feels like stepping outside of your skin

When you can’t wrap your head around the idea of fighting this for

one. more. second.

 


Today is an important day. The day where suicide prevention has a light beam right on it. The day where people, survivors and those struggling, can feel the care and compassion of the world around them. But, it’s also a very lonely day for those struggling silently.


 

Suicide prevention is a tricky topic that I won’t even pretend to fully fathom. But it has a special place in my heart. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and OCD (no it isn’t just washing your hands a lot) since I was in my pre-teens. I have slept days, weeks, months away. I have attempted suicide, been hospitalized and been to more therapists than I can remember. I have been medicated for over a decade. I have tried countless medications, supplements, dietary changes, and probably whatever else you can think of.

But, you know what I’ve found to be the most helpful? Community. Support. People with their arms wide open wanting to love me when I feel the most unlovable. But, it took a lot for me to get to a place where I will allow people to support me. Even now, my natural instinct is to struggle in silence. Which is why I write about it. Why I will continue to write about it. Because the silence is what takes lives. The lack of support, the lack of community, the inability to think anyone would stay around you seeing you at your most vulnerable.

So, here it is. My attempt at creating a tiny community of people who have fought like hell to get out of the depths of mental illness alive. I have connected with so many people since publishing my poetry collection Waves in 2017. My writing has given me a way to reach into the hearts and souls of others who have been caught in the undertow.

SO- this is my subtle announcement that I am officially writing my second book. I couldn’t think of a better day to announce it than a day that is dedicated to suicide prevention. I’ll write about my experiences for as long as I can in hopes that I can help break the silence so many of us still live in.

My hope for us all is that we keep connecting, keep reaching for help and keep riding the waves.

So much love.

Side Note:

Live it out. – This album has saved me so many times. My wife has these words tattooed on her wrist. These words are my whole heart.