You’re Alive 🌻

Good morning, and welcome to today. How incredible, to wake up and be alive. What a waste it would be to just exist. I know far too much of my life has been spent just going through the motions.

We wake up this morning with an opportunity to change the world. It doesn’t mean we have to cure cancer, or eliminate world hunger.

The world can be changed with just a smile.

Your smile can be exactly what someone needs to get through the day. Changing one life means changing the world in the smallest, simplest, sweetest of ways.

You are alive; so live, be love & smile. 🙂

🌵NT

Late Night Thoughts, Vol 2

It’s been an emotional week, and emotions are usually not easy for me to deal with. I’ve cried as I remember, but I’ve also been filled with hope. Reading Misty’s words that she has written me over the years fills my heart, it encourages me now just as much as it did back then. But as I’ve already said, I wish she could have spoken those same encouraging words into her own breaking heart.

I’ve also spent far too much time doubting my own grief this week. Misty was so much more to me than “just a mentor;” but she also wasn’t MY mom or MY daughter or MY sister. Do I really have the right to miss her so much? This came up during a conversation with my best friend; she is the daughter of a mom who died by suicide. She assured me that it’s okay to be sad, and then it was kind of like, duh. Of course it is. I’m not pretending to even begin to know how it feels to lose a parent, or child, or sibling – but I can accept my own grief and pain.

Inevitably, this time of year also gets me thinking about my own personal experience with suicide. I have attempted to take my life twice. Once in 2011, once in 2015. Those experiences have forever changed me. I know for a fact that when someone is in the midst of that deep pain and hopelessness, they’re not thinking about the pain that will be left behind for those that love them. Instead, they honestly believe that their pain is never going to end, and that everyone else will be better off without them. I’ve heard so many people say how selfish suicide is, and in a way I can agree. But at the same time, these people don’t believe that their absence is going to negatively affect anyone else. In fact, they may even whole-heatedly believe that people will be relieved that they’re gone, if they even notice at all.

We need to stop judging the thoughts and motivations of those who die by suicide, it is not our place. No one truly knows their stories, their struggles, their thoughts, their hearts… all we do know for sure is that they’re no longer in pain. Instead of jumping to conclusions, we need to continue reducing the stigma surrounding suicide, and mental health in general, and provide more safe places for people to be honest and be themselves. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an average of 123 people die by suicide each day in the US alone. Enough is enough.

For everyone that has lost their life to suicide, let’s not let them die in vain. Be kind, be love to someone who may not know it otherwise.

NT

Observing Lent

Lent is the season of preparation for Easter, observed by most Catholics and many Christians. While I was growing up, giving something up for lent was something fun I did with my youth group… because everyone else was doing it. I never really grasped what Lent is and the significance & purpose of giving something up for 40 days.

This time is meant to be marked by intentional awareness of what is coming – Jesus’ death and the celebration of his subsequent resurrection. By giving up something you rely on, it pushes you to look towards him, to reflect & pray.

This year, the Lenten season means a lot to me. There’s been so much going on the last few months and so much that is happening this year that I feel as though I haven’t focused on my relationship with the Lord at all. Aside from the “time” excuse, something that has been choking my prayer life is is my anxiety and resulting negative behaviors — primarily revolving around my enemy;; FOOD. As I’ve mentioned several times throughout my posts – I have never had a normal, healthy relationship with food. Lately, comfort food has been the biggest obstacle to everything else that I’m trying to accomplish. Instead of doing positive things to improve my life, I just go straight to food when I’m uncomfortable, sad, anxious, angry, ashamed, lonely, etc.

So, for the next six weeks I am giving up my comfort food. For me, this means soda, sweets in general, popcorn, ice cream, pizza, bread… Etc. (Foods I really shouldn’t be eating anyway, but nonetheless…) I’m giving up all of the foods that I immediately turn to when things aren’t perfect. It’s not okay to be looking to food of all things for comfort. The only true peace comes from God, and that’s what I need to seek. These next weeks will be challenging, but I can’t wait to see the ways that He works in my life and in my heart. I want to remember how out of balance I feel today, and look forward to a freeing a peace in my heart on Easter that I haven’t felt in some time.

Happy Lent!

Cross

NT

Misty, My Mentor

As of yesterday, she’s been gone four years. She left far too soon. No one knew how much she was hurting, and we are left praying that she did know how much she was truly loved.

It’s hard to write about Misty; for obvious reasons, and also because I wasn’t someone who was closest to her. I can’t speak for or fathom how these past four years have been for her parents, her kids, her siblings, and all of her family and best friends. What I can do is speak for myself. Misty changed my life, and I miss her everyday. Other than my mom, she was the first one I told about my eating disorder. She wrote me while I was away in treatment, she always loved, supported and encouraged me – even in the littlest ways, like writing something to me on Facebook. Facebook memories have become one of my best friends, because at least once a month I’ll get a little reminder of just how special Misty was. Below is a note from her that I can’t read without tears in my eyes, and I read it whenever I need to remember that I have indeed come a long way, I am worthy, and I am loved.

Today, I only wish she could have spoken these same words into her own heart.

Misty

The common phrase is “committed suicide”, but it is the wrong phrase. Misty didn’t “commit” a crime, she didn’t do anything wrong. She simply did what seemed like her only option; she died by suicide. She didn’t want to leave her kids & all those who loved her. Suicide took her. Depression took her. The lies in her head telling her that the pain would never go away, and that everyone else would be better off without her… they took her.

Talking with her parents, who have become so special to me – they thanked me for remembering her. And honestly I was taken aback, of course I’m going to remember her, as will so many others. She changed my life forever, there is no way that I will ever forget her.

As tragic, challenging and confusing as her death was, it doesn’t impact the legacy she has left behind. Her smile, joy, encouragement and positivity will be remembered by all who knew her. Always.

Here’s to Misty, and remembering her forever. RIP. ❤

NT

A Letter to My Valentine

I don’t brag about you enough. Seriously.

Never have I known a man as hard-working, generous, kind, loving, or patient. You are truly incredible, and I don’t know how I got so lucky.

I am not, in any sense of the phrase, an easy person to love. Mom used to say that a person cannot truly be loved, or love another, until they love themselves – and boy oh boy was she right.

Years ago as our relationship progressed, you were able to see my insecurities and vulnerabilities more than anyone was ever able to. And much to my surprise, you didn’t leave because of them. Not only did you not run away, you fought for me. You changed me; I have never been so content with myself and with life in general. You have challenged, supported, and encouraged me to such an extent over the last few years that I genuinely cannot put it into words.

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The bottom line – thank you.
Thank you for being my adventure buddy.
Thank you for always making me laugh.
Thank you for loving Jesus.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for being you.

I love you Ryan.

-Your Forever Valentine
💒💑

his love roared louder than her demons
💕NT

No.More.Excuses.

It was brought to my attention this weekend, by my darling fiance, that I was making excuses in order to isolate myself. It tends to happen when he is out of town, it is what it is. But it got me thinking — I make excuses in so many aspects of my life. Depending on the situation, I usually attribute making these excuses to my social anxiety, eating disorder, depression, and / or just having a bad day.

There has to a point when enough is enough.

One of the most evident places in my life where these excuses wreak havoc, is my social life,, I’ve gotten pretty creative with these. Some days, or most days, I just don’t have the emotional or physical energy to make an effort to see, or even text, anyone – even family. This is not okay. Social anxiety manifests for different people in different ways. For me – it primarily stems from my extreme lack of confidence.

I can’t keep squeaking through life pretending to give a damn about my life, I need to ACTUALLY give a damn. Believing that I’m worthy of relationships is a start.

The thing I struggle with more than anything, and what I hate talking about more than anything: FOOD. I hate it. I hate it so much. I think the hate might actually be an excuse in and of itself – but bottom line here, I have to work on my relationship with food. This sounds bizarre to anyone who has never struggled with an eating disorder… But I haven’t been able to eat like a normal person since I was a child. Every bite is a fight. Lately my eating disorder has chosen to use these excuses to get to me more than before. Bad days are excuses for “comfort,” or “bad” food. For me, “bad” food usually means over-eating and [sometimes] purging, and subsequently taking away the day’s productivity from that point on using, you guessed it, excuses. No gym because I’m tired, no run because I ate too much so I’m too full… Etc.

Today is the day for no excuses.

Today is the day I keep pushing forward >> towards the hope and prayer that on my wedding day, and the days thereafter, I will be both anxiety-free & genuinely confident.

✌️NT

Late Night Thoughts, Vol 1

Some days I simply feel defeated.

These are the days
I can’t get out of bed
I fall back into old behaviors
I beat myself up
over all of the above ^^^

These are the days I need to remember
That every set-back
is a set-up
for a come-back

I remind myself that;
It’s okay to not be okay.

It’s okay to have a bad day.

It’s okay to not have the energy
To explain “what’s wrong.”

Tomorrow is a new day, and it’s going to be a beautiful one.

No matter how dark the night, the sun will always rise

life is tough

NT

PS – Who am I kidding? All my thoughts are late-night thoughts, but we’ll give it a try. ❤