The Time For My Next Adventure Has Arrived

For those who know me, I tend to be a bit of a modern-day gypsy. By that I mean, every few years I pack up and move to a new location. I am quite fond of my nomadic lifestyle, even though I am quite aware it is not for everyone. For me though, I am not just moving because I feel like it. Ever since I left California, I have found myself searching for a place that felt like home. For a while there, Pennsylvania came close to giving me that feeling I had been seeking. However, after years of bouncing around Bucks County and creating a lot of memories, many of which weren’t so great I was ready to move on. Then I got married, which took me back to Jersey briefly, but the marriage didn’t last for reasons I discuss in a previous post. At that point I was even more done with the East Coast than I had already been. Which meant once again, I was in search of my next place to reside.

A friend of mine whom I had connected with through a manifestation group I had belonged to offered to let me stay with her in Georgia. It was a state that had been on my list to check out, so I decided to give it a shot. However, after a little less than a year my time in Georgia was coming to a close. Back to the search I went, when an old college friend offered to let me stay with them. They were living in Florida which wasn’t a place on my list for so many reasons, but it was that or go back North, which was an even less desirable choice. For most, Florida is a dream state to live, I was never one of those people. Between the weather with its hurricanes and stifling humidity, the fact that it was a tourist state meant lots of people crammed together, lots of traffic, lots of noise, and not a lot of land or room to spread out, it was never a blip on my radar. However, I put my apprehensions and reservations aside and decided to not judge the state until I moved there.

After a long and incredibly exhausting 8-hour drive, I found myself in beautiful Bradenton. Despite the fact that my friend’s condo was about 15 minutes from the beaches and the development was located in pretty much the middle of everything, it was located in a bird sanctuary with gorgeous landscaping. You do however tend to hear quite a bit of the street noise and there aren’t sidewalks for the development, but generally most people pay attention to the pedestrians walking on the roads, so they were minor things. Especially, when I didn’t plan to spend much time indoors with the water so close and a beautiful development to wander. My first hurricane season/summer here was a breeze, which was a very welcomed scenario for me. Yes, it was hot and humid, but wasn’t as unbearable as I had expected, and I spent quite a few days at the beach or at one of the many pools in my development. Weather in Florida is quite special, as it can be bright and sunny one moment then five minutes later downpouring with some thunder and lightning, then back to bright and sunny after another 10 minutes or so. I don’t mind that so much as I love me a good thunderstorm and the rain. My first hurricane season started and to be honest I was quite nervous as I am quite the anxious person. Yet, as hurricane season was winding down, I was shocked as I had experienced worse storms up North. I thought to myself, this wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, my thoughts and perceptions of Florida were shifting. I also understood, this was only one season, but so far, I was pleasantly surprised.

However, that was all about to change when the toxic algae boom RED TIDE grew out of control. For those of you whom have never experienced the incredibly undesirable misfortune that is Red Tide, I will break it down for you. Red tide is a horribly destructive and toxic algae bloom that destroys the delicate ecological system of the ocean and any bodies of water is in. It also smells absolutely foul, especially when you factor in the mass amounts of fish it kills, which wash up on shore and begin to bake and rot in the hot Florida sun. Keep in mind, where we live in Florida we are surround by different bodies of water from the ocean to a few bays, all of which were affected by red tide. Red tide can also be a health hazard for people with everything from rashes caused by swimming in affected waters to breathing issues. For most people, aside from the smell they’re pretty unaffected by red tide. I, however, am not most people which meant that I was pretty much confined to my house. In order to go to the grocery store or walk my dogs (which we tried to keep their walks as short as possible, as we didn’t want them affected either) I had to wear one of those masks’ painters wear. It helped a bit, but I would still find myself coughing with awful headaches anytime I was outdoors. This bloom was also one of the longest and largest in history and decimated much of Florida’s water based ecological systems. It left many of the residents like myself unable to enjoy the outdoors for months. So here I was in what many would consider paradise unable to enjoy it. Eventually, a few months ago the bloom subsided, and we were able to enjoy the outdoors again. Or so I thought, first came the nearly unbearable heat which I had already been expecting, then came the multiple cases of people contracting and some dying from a flesh-eating bacteria from our waters. Once again, I find myself unable to enjoy the outdoors because I am not taking any chances with contracting anything like that. Generally, so long as you don’t have open cuts or wounds you should be fine, but people who have compromised immune systems are far more susceptible and the bacteria isn’t always transferred through any cuts or wounds.

When you also factor, that like most southern states Florida is a very deep red state regarding politics, I am reaching my point of being done with Florida and ready to move onto my next destination. It’s beautiful here, but definitely not where I want to reside for much longer.

While I will always maintain a bit of my nomadic gypsy lifestyle, I am really starting to search for a place to settle down, to set roots, to call home for many years. I will have a bus that I will be converting to a tiny house, when I wish to travel and experience all the beauty and culture this country has to offer, but now it is time to find my forever state and town. Currently, Oregon is leading my list as it finally brings me back to the West coast which is where my heart will always reside to some degree. Yet, California is quite expensive, especially when my desire for a decent amount of land is factored in. I also never want to be landlocked as I love being within a few hours of the ocean. Oregon, while yes it can be quite expensive, they have more of what I am looking for than just about any other coastal state. The weather is far more tolerable yearly than any of my previous locations, they have quite the massive organic and self-sustainability community, tend to be a relatively blue state in regards to politics, have tons to do outdoors, a huge smattering of adorable small towns and activities, and quite a bit more to offer. All in all, I feel that Oregon is going to be the fit I have been seeking.

Now the goal is to save up money from my vinyl craft business I will be starting soon then to Oregon I go. 

 

As Always My Beautiful Badass Unicorn Phoenix Goddess and Gods,

I Hope You Have A Magical Day!

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Shattering Societal Norms and Expectations

Earlier today I got to talking with a very good friend of mine about societal expectations vs reality, especially for those of us whose lives dwell somewhere on the mental health spectrum. We specifically were touching on work and sleep patterns, how society expects us to be one way, but how we are creating and living life on our own terms, in a way that not only works for us as people, but also within the confines and limitations of our mental health. Society has very strong opinions about how people should live their lives, we see it reflected every day in movies, media, posts online, within our families, and beyond.

For some they are in the mindset that having a college degree automatically sets you up for success, that somehow that degree makes you smarter, better, more reliable. However, for those of us with mental health, college may not always be the best avenue for success. Between the pressure and expenses of college, it can become very overwhelming very quickly. I am in no way knocking college nor am I denying the benefits of having a college degree, but rather saying a degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee you success. Several of my friends have various college degrees across many subjects, but few of them actually work in the fields in which they have those degrees for. Instead, they have mountains of debt, but are unable to enter their desired field due to various factors such as a lack of the necessary experience, an over saturation of prospects vs positions available, and more. Then there are those who work within their desired fields, but it is not enough to make ends meet, or they are working so much, they have little time for a life outside their jobs. I tried the college thing a few years ago, but mentally I wasn’t in the place to be dealing with the stress that comes from college. A part of me would love to go back to school, but the money required is a major hindrance for me, as I already have an exuberant amount of medical debt, as well as a lack of consistent income which I will touch on later in this post. Times are far different than when our grandparents or even our parents pursued higher education, as the cost of living and tuition have gone up significantly while the minimum wage hasn’t risen enough to account for the rise of expenses of everyday life

For others, they have the mindset if you are not working a full-time job, you are lazy, you are a plight on society, you are worthless. Yet, for those of us with health conditions, and even those without, there are a plethora of reasons for why we may not be working. For myself, and others who live with mental health and/or chronic illnesses, we are unable to work full time or even part time hours. Many of us have to rely on friends or family to survive, use programs such a SNAP/Welfare (which comes with its own strong opinions from society, we will touch on this later), or we have to start our own companies or get creative with ways to make money. I did the working full-time thing, for quite a while, I was even working 2 jobs at one point, but was still hardly able to afford my bills and worse I was putting my health in serious danger. Eventually after pushing myself so hard, after putting my health on the bottom of my list, I broke. I found myself in my mid 20s physically and emotionally broken and unable to work. I tried to apply for disability, since I live with severe mental health, but was denied more times than I could count. Despite having a lawyer and years’ worth of proof, they still kept denying me. I also applied for programs like SNAP and state insurance, but that only covered groceries and left me less than desirable options for doctors. That didn’t help me with my regular expenses like shampoo, conditioner, rent, etc. Then there were the comments and the looks you get anytime you pulled out your EBT card. People would scoff, they would call me lazy, they would say that I am abusing the system, they would tell me to just get a job like everyone else. So many more comments were made, but you get the idea. Then there are those who want to or even are able to work, but there are no jobs available for them. To which most people respond with, “Just move to an area with jobs,” yet they fail to grasp the fact that moving is expensive and it isn’t always a viable option.

Since, I stopped working in the manner in which society expects me to work, I have bounced from one work from home job/idea to another, with little to no success. I have had idea after idea for ways to create income, for businesses to start. I have even tried starting a few businesses but have once again have little to no success. You see, when for those of us who live with mental health or any chronic illness, we live life by a whole different set of rules. The never-ending struggle and battle is to find/create a job that works for us on both a monetary level, but also within the limitations our health conditions places upon us. To the outside observer, I may look flaky and unreliable, I may look flighty, I may look like I am unmotivated, or even lazy. Yet, few realize how hard I am working to create consistent income. Few take the time to understand, that each of these ideas, each of these attempts, each of these businesses are my efforts to create income. While they may fail or it may seem like I give up too quickly or easily, that is rarely the case. I have lived with my health for long enough and spent far too long getting myself to a more stable place emotionally and physically to risk my progress for a job/company that will ultimately do more harm than good. Initially the idea, may seem viable, but as time progresses, I may come to the conclusion that for one reason or another it isn’t actually as viable as I had hoped, predicted, or expected it to be.

For those of you, who wish to comment something along the lines of, “just suck it up and stick to something,” as I said above, I REFUSE to risk my well-being for money. I did that before, and it nearly cost me my life. I vowed to myself I would never do that, I would never put myself in those sorts of situations, I would never put money above my health. That, however, doesn’t mean I am giving up on creating consistent income either, as anyone who knows me, knows that I have an abundance of ideas for creating enough income to give me the financial independence I seek. I will exhaust every idea until I find one that works for me. There are also those who think, I am okay with my life like this, that I just sit on my ass all day doing nothing. Yet they do not understand how hard it can be to just get out of bed some days, they do not see the massive amounts of work I am doing on myself, on my health, on so many things. Many fail to realize just how exhausting life is with mental health, or even how much work it is to function more days. MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, THIS IS NOT THE LIFE I ENVISIONED FOR MYSELF, NOR AM I HAPPY WITH HAVING TO RELY SO HEAVILY ON OTHERS. What people do not see is the hours spent on my computer writing, working on business ideas, researching viable work from home jobs, working on myself and my health, growing, and more. Every single day I work towards my goals, even if some days they are small steps, even if I get knocked back several steps, even if I fail at one idea, I refuse to give up.

For others they have the mindset that if you sleep all day, once again you must be lazy, yet for many of us, especially once again with mental health ailments, sleep quite frequently alludes us. For many of us, like myself nighttime is when we are most active or when many of our diseases are at their worst depending upon the day. I personally have tried just about every remedy, idea, medication, and solution out there for getting consistent sleep, but sleep still alludes me a lot of days. I am far from lazy, but insomnia has always been a massive issue for me. For years, I have tried to force myself to get on a more “regular” or “acceptable” sleep schedule, to absolutely no avail. It may work for a few weeks or even a few months, but eventually I revert back to my wonky schedule. Most nights, I was/am lucky if I get an hour of sleep, which is spread throughout the night, depending upon the day. A few months back, I decided to stop fighting my sleep schedule, to give myself permission to find a sleep pattern that works for me, society be damned. Let me tell you, that was the best decision I have ever made. While, I may be sleeping my day away according to some, I am getting real consistent and restorative sleep for the first time in my life. By allowing myself to go with the flow of what works for me I am no longer fighting sleep, I am no longer forcing it. I find myself falling asleep easier and staying asleep. This is not to say there are not days where I still struggle either, but I am getting more sleep than I have had previously. Small steps in the right direction are something I will always take. Part of this is due to discovering a new CBD which helps to manage my pain, anxiety, PTSD and other health ailments while I sleep, but part of it is also due to allowing my body to work at its own schedule. Here’s a little fact for you as well, for those of us who are considered “night owls,” this is not on accident, but rather a leftover biological response to the times of cavemen. Back during those times, we had to have someone watching the village/livestock/family 24/7 to prevent attacks from others, from predators, etc. For those of us who find we work better during the night, we never fully evolved out of that mindset, that need to be awake to protect. While my sleep schedule may not be societally acceptable it is a schedule that works for me, far better than anything I have ever tried, and for me that is more important than anything.

Far too many years of my life, far too many days, far too many nights, were wasted worrying about what others thought, were wasted trying to fit within the limiting societal expectations, molds, and boxes. I spent so much time risking my health, my life, my peace of mind, and more trying to be what everyone wanted me to be. Little by little, I started fighting against those expectations, I started breaking free of the mold, I started making myself the priority. Over time, I have started caring a whole lot less about what people think of me, what they say about me, what they expect of me, and a hell of a lot more about what works for me, about what is right for me, about putting my health and well-being first and foremost. I’ve stopped trying to justify myself, the way I live my life to others, because quite frankly, I just don’t see the need in it. I still try to educate people, but I no longer take what they say or think so personally. I think that is the most difficult thing for all of us, but especially those with invisible, chronic, or mental health ailments. There is something incredibly freeing about not caring though.

As always my Beautiful Badass Unicorn Phoenix Goddesses/Gods,

I hope you have a magical day!

Taking Time To Myself

From August to the end of September, I tend to pull back from the world a bit. As those months are the times in which some of the most defining moments of my life have happened to me. It is during those months that many of the events that greatly influenced and shaped the woman I am today occurred. They are, for me, the hardest months of the year, they are the time when I tend to take some time for myself, when I give myself space and permission to reflect on all that I have been through in my life, they are the months in which I allow myself the space to continue to heal.

It was during these months that my father molested me (many moons ago now, but not something you ever truly forget), that I nearly died 2 years ago when my idiotic doctors once again messed up my medications (I had been on some pretty heave anti-psychotics and anti-anxiety medications, in which I ended up going off cold turkey. This was one of many times they messed up my scripts and I was done, but it was a week utter hell as my body went through withdrawals. Even 2 years later I am still healing from this), it was during the months of August and September I have had some of my worst suicide attempts and when my uncle took his own life, and it was during the end of September that my cousin ended her life as well as when my grandfather (he was by far the most important person in my life, next to my mother. I am the woman I am today because of him and not a day goes by that I do not miss him) passed away. Each of these events have taught me so much about the value of life, about how precious life truly is, about how even those who are supposed to protect you from the monsters of the world may turn out to be the monsters themselves. All of this showed me a strength within, showed me that even when it feels like my whole world has crumbled I can persevere, it showed me that there is always a lesson in everything.

While I have come to terms with these events and learned the lessons I needed to from them, they do still affect me to some degree during these months. I never want to forget any of the struggles, any of the trials and tribulations I have endured, I have overcome because without them I wouldn’t be who I am. If I were to forget them, I would open myself up to the possibility of them happening again. I am however, eternally grateful for the products I discovered at the end of July, because they made getting through these months easier than they have ever been for me in the past. They have helped me to not completely shut down and shut the world out as I have done many times in the past. They allowed me the clarity and relief to heal but to also understand all of those events on a deeper level than ever before.

As Always My Beautiful Baddass Unicorn Phoenix Goddesses,
I Hope You Have A Magical Day!

Giving Yourself Permission To Be A Little Selfish- Implementing Self-Care Into Your Daily Routine.

What does Self-Care mean to you? What are the ways in which you practice Self-Care, if you even do at all?

To some it is taking a long bath with candles, special soaps, and music. To others it is spending all day in bed watching Netflix in your PJ’s eating your favorite comfort foods. To others it is daily workouts & meditation. What Self-Care means to each person will vary greatly, but Self-Care is something that so many of us struggle with, myself included, it is something that we always wind up putting on the back burner. We all understand the need and the importance for it, but we always make an excuse for why we cannot do it.

So much of our life we are taught to be selfless, to take care of others first, to put the wants and needs of others above our own. The only exception to this is in the event of something going wrong on a plane, in which you are told to put your oxygen mask on first, then help others. That is something that goes against what we know, to many it feels quite wrong. We spend years teaching ourselves that we are not allowed to spend time on ourselves, that is it selfish, that we do not have time for us. I myself, spent so much of my life doing all that I could for others, I sacrificed so much of myself for others, I always put myself at the bottom of my priority list, that I fell further and further into my depression, I tumbled deeper into the madness, I lost myself in the darkness. I put every ounce of myself into helping others achieve their hopes, their dreams, their successes, I stood by them helping them to thrive, while I withered away myself. I based my value, my time, my worth around them. One by one, they moved on with their lives, they found someone or something else, while I was left feeling a bit more empty each time, I was left feeling lost, feeling dismayed. They got exactly what they needed, while I got nothing, I lost sight of myself. It was quite disheartening to say the least, to realize that I spent so much of my life taking care of others, I didn’t even know how to take care of my own self anymore, I didn’t know what I WANTED, what were my HOPES, my DREAMS, what made my heart SOAR. I spent so much time helping others chase their own hopes and dreams, helping them get all that they wanted, and all of that became so ingrained in my life, so intertwined that it mingled deeply within my personality that I could no longer discern what was mine and what was imprints from all those who I have given myself, given my energy, given my time to. There’s a quote by Christopher Walken that so perfectly sums up the importance of self-care especially as a light worker which has quickly become a mantra of mine.

walken quote

This last year plus I have done a lot of soul-searching, self-development as well as made a major point to spend more time on self-care, because I understand that I am of no use to anyone if I do not first take care of myself. During my life I would get all hyped up, throw myself completely into projects, into relationships, into whatever I could, but I never took any real time for myself, which would in turn lead to me getting hardcore burned out. I would start off motivated, unstoppable, with all this hope, all this energy, only to end up with no energy, discouraged beyond words and leaving things unfinished. This only made me feel worse about myself, I felt so dejected, like I couldn’t be relied on, like I was a failure. It discouraged me to no end, to continually go through these brief points of great success only to be followed by long periods of doing nothing. By switching my focus to a self-care based routine instead of all work all day, I have found that I am far more productive, far more joyful, far more inspired, and in general feeling much better.

To me, what I do for self-care varies based off the day I am having, off the mood I am, the ways in which I feel. Now I make a point to work out every single day no matter how busy or tired I am, even if I can only get in 5 minutes of exercise I feel great. I am working on reintegrating a daily meditation/mindfulness practice. I make a point to connect with myself, to check in with my emotions, to show gratitude on a regular basis. I have also drastically overhauled my diet which has helped me feel better than I ever thought possible. For me self-care has become an essential part of my daily routine. My life as a whole has become all about the balance between Mind, Body, & Soul, about making sure I put just as much emphasis into rest and relaxation as I do into work.

When trying to implement a Self-Care routine into your life, start off simple, schedule 5 minutes a day to do something that makes you happy, that relaxes you, that helps you to connect with yourself. This can be a quick walk, doing some yoga, meditation, watching a funny video, it can be whatever you want. The point here is to just take a few minutes for yourself. What started out as a struggle to take even 5 minutes to myself a few times a week has become a daily 20 minute-1 hour part of my routine in which I just be with myself, I do what makes me feel good, what helps me to connect with my higher self, with what relaxes me, with what keeps me in the moment.

As Always,

My Beautiful Badass Unicorn Phoenix Goddesses, Have A Magical Day!