A Letter to Those Who Are Affected by My Anxiety

We are all flawed and unique in our own ways. Some of us lose our tempers too easily, while others squeeze the toothpaste from the middle of the tube and make a mess all over every morning. In relationships we learn how to accept certain things and work through others, but it is not always easy. My emotions come in rollercoasters, and trust me, it can be wearing. This letter is for the one’s who join me on the ride and deserve the world’s biggest thank you.

I apologize if many conversations seem to revolve around me and my anxiousness, but thank you for reminding me it’s okay to talk about it. I apologize for ending certain events early because I was too overwhelmed, but thank you for holding my hand and walking me to comfort. I apologize for numerous inconvenient phone calls when I am panicking in the car, but thank you for coming up with a ridiculous joke on the spot so I forget why I am even calling you.

I apologize for apologizing so much, but thank you for not making me feel like an annoyance. 

The truth is, I get through the simplest everyday tasks because of you. Knowing that you are backing me up when I need you gives me the peace of mind to keep pushing on my own. The scariest of times become less scary simply because I hear your voice – sometimes it’s as simple as holding my phone knowing you’ll answer if I were to call.

I know it is not fun –  it’s not exactly what you signed up for, but not a day has passed where I have not been thankful or go to bed without thinking of you. I want you to know that I see how hard you are working to support me. I feel the love you work hard to hand me when you are at your most tired state, barely holding yourself up.

I look at you every single day and wonder how you are so remarkably strong to handle me so gently and patiently.

I apologize that this “thing” affects you too, but thank you for loving me anyways. I promise I am more than anxiety, and thank you for believing it’s true.

You are the greatest gift I have ever been given.

Xo, B.

Like the leaves, letting go can be beautiful

Each year we tend to find comfort as autumn begins; Cozy sweaters, the prized pumpkin spice everything, the admirable colors surrounding us as the leaves change. All of a sudden this overwhelming happiness seems to set in as we feel the autumn breeze and just breathe a little.

Why does the changing of the season bring this annual sensation? What is it about autumn that warms up your heart?

As the leaves begin to fall and the humid weather fades away from a busy summer schedule, we let go of the stresses from the previous season and take in the beauty of change. And just like the leaves falling, letting go of what they held onto all summer long, change is a beautiful part of life.

While change can be a good thing, it can be intimidating as well. After all, many people admit that change is one of their biggest fears. That is completely understandable though because in order to change, something new has to replace something old. Something within your comfort zone has to disappear.

So how do we take it in? How do we embrace the new and allow ourselves to grow?

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth, or step back into safety.”  -Abraham Maslow

Know where you want to begin – You must start by understanding what it is that you need to change. What can you let go of to allow yourself to grow? Or maybe a change has been forced upon you – start by simply having the faith that you can withstand this trial in your life.

Commit to your goals – Do what you need to do to become the best version of yourself, even if it’s just one small step a day. Remember that you don’t need to explain yourself to others, and push yourself to keep going.

Keep your head up – It isn’t going to be easy. No flowers without the rain, right? Focus your energy on the positives coming into your life, and remember that this moment is here for a reason. Remember to keep your faith and that new doors will open when it is time.

Be Proud of yourself – You will get there. When you do, celebrate. Be proud of how far you’ve come and how strong you were able to be. You could have ran. You could have let go and not accepted what needed to change, but you didn’t. You became the person you thought you never could, and that itself is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

So don’t fear the change. It will come, and that’s inevitable. You can play it safe, or you can learn to grow – it’s your call. But remember, we wouldn’t get to appreciate the graceful autumn colors if the leaves didn’t learn to let go and begin again.

Xo, B.

The Right Man..

It’s been a little while since I have been able to spend some quality time writing, and I’m so thankful to finally have some down time to reflect. I am relaxing in San Diego visiting a friend, thinking about all the wild opportunities I have crossed paths with recently. Opportunities that, while they are great, sometimes bring about the stress of making the “right decision”. In the midst of my stress and crazy-range of emotion, there is always one person who is there to ground me and remind me that everything will be alright no matter which path I choose. That person would be my incredibly supportive boyfriend, Danny.

Once you have been in an unhealthy, untrustworthy relationship it can be intimidating to try and start over with someone new. The trust is hard, and no matter the type of person you find, it will be hard for a while – thanks to the one who hurt you before that. I’ve known Dan since high school – in fact, we were the homecoming king and queen (cute, eh?). He has always been such a genuine man, but it stayed as a friendship throughout the years. After coming in contact again, he reached out to catch up – why not? So I went with it, and from there we’ve been dating since!

In the beginning of our relationship I was a bit skeptical, merely from the last relationship in fear of being hurt once again. As if that wasn’t hard already, he was an apprentice lineman (crazy, awesome job, but..) it means he spent nearly all of his time working on the road. When you have a long distance relationship, trust is the name of the game. You don’t see that person physically as often, which can make moments challenging. “How am I going to do this?”, I wondered. And so the adventure began..

Each night consisted of phone dates, discussing our days and listening to the funny stories we had. It was the best part of my day. I loved waiting for his name to pop up so I could hear what he was up to down in Missouri that day. The time alone wasn’t always the easiest though. There’d be nights where he was hanging out with friends he had made, and I laid there sleepless worried about all that could go wrong. Dan was always there to answer a phone call, and really listen when I was struggling. He dug into knowing me and understanding my anxiety – always wanting to learn and understand as much as he possibly could. I can tell you that wasn’t (and still isn’t) an easy thing for him. I have had bad my bouts of anxiety and panic attacks, and have been quite the handful at moments – that’s probably an understatement, eh Dan? But he continuously stuck with me with such compassion, which is something I’m eternally blessed for. He always let me know when he was home safe, or shoot me a text he’d be busy working late and had to talk later. He was always going out of his way to share his time with me, even though he was working 6-7 long days a week in the intense Missouri heat. Danny, without a doubt, went above and beyond to let me know he cared and that I could trust him.

Dan taught me that there is a distinctive difference between a boy and a man. He taught me that a real man will never leave you guessing about the role he wants to play in your life. That there do not have to be “games”, nor does there have to be any guessing. He showed me a man will have a Godly heart, and a strong love for family.  He taught me that relationships take constant communication and understanding. He made distance easy, and I was finally able to trust someone again.

Looking back, I am so thankful that I was able to learn about this man from a distance. With each phone call I was able to listen and understand his true character, and we were able to slowly grow together. Living so far apart made me appreciate every little moment we had together, and to never take those moments for granted. I cannot believe how much he has been there to support me and care for me, all while being over 6 hours away. This alone just shows me that those people are out there, and it makes my heart so happy.

So my point is to never settle, to never give up because one person was poor to you. Find someone who’s heart is pure and intentions are genuine. They are out there, waiting to find you. They will come to you at the right time in your life, and make your world brighter than you ever imagined it could be. It will be wonderful, and you will forget all the bad you’ve ever come across, I promise. God has a plan.

◊◊◊

Recently, Danny was accepted in a local position and able to move back home. I am so excited for him (and me!) for this new adventure. I am beyond proud of him for the hard work he has put into his career, and the hard work he has put into this relationship as well. Words could never describe the love and gratefulness I have for this man and all he has done for me.

{By the way, today is his birthday. Happy birthday love}

Delicate In Doses

I have been laying here this past week, recovering from sinus surgery, with multiple thoughts whirling throughout my mind. I find myself a bit more irritable and frustrated than normal, trying to deal with situations and not being able to get out of bed without a major pounding in my head.

Growing up the oldest of five siblings, I have become accustomed to being the mother hen of the bunch. I think it’s just a natural trait you acquire, and it’s (sometimes annoyingly) difficult to ignore. Having a sister going through her teenage years, as we all probably remember, is a challenge as well. The other day I was sitting in the recliner trying to take a nap when my sister kept calling me. Cranky and on edge, I answered the phone a bit short in tone. She has been dealing with some high school struggles and I felt like I did not have the energy to handle it right then and there. Am I a bad person for just wanting to say “get over it”? For thinking how silly those problems feel compared to the unceasing, throbbing pain I am in this very moment? Thinking about how I am missing work, school, and all of my plans for the next week and have my own piles of stress? I had short conversation and told her that it’ll all work itself out.

This is supposed to be my time to just be still, to recover. Why can’t I just have some peace and quiet as I try to get a shred of relaxation?

I hung up the phone with a lingering feeling of guilt. She’s your sister Brooke, come on. And so I began to reflect on my selfish thoughts and have been trying to put them into words, as I believe this is a problem many of us struggle with throughout our lives.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind, always.”

I know that at some point in your life you have heard this, read this, or maybe even said this phrase before. It makes complete sense, but yet we struggle to act on its pure meaning. Some of us may have been dealt a tougher hand than others. The battles we have faced seem to amount to more than just your “everyday problems”. Stressing about what major to choose in college, or getting fired from a job seem so petty and insignificant. One can sometimes only wish that’s what they were having to deal with.

But that’s when we all need to take the step back and realize, what seems like a bump in the road in comparison to your life may be someone else’s toughest mountain they’ve ever had to climb. Who are we to say how hard something is for somebody else, or what it is like each and every day in that person’s shoes? The battle is different for me than it is for you, but it is still a battle. Never put off someone’s hardships because you think it’s too small to deal with. What if they’re at the tip of their iceberg and your disregard pushed them over the edge? Thinking about this made my heart hurt for pushing my sister away. At the age of sixteen, girls can be mean. Getting your heart broken can be really, really hard. Yeah, at twenty-three high school problems sound silly, but for her that’s her world. So I put myself in her shoes and realized how delicate her heart is. And I reminded myself:

We are all delicate in different doses.

I sometimes find myself concealing my problems with my anxiety in fear I may sound silly to someone. “That’s something you worry about?”, “You get anxiety from just sitting in class?” But then I think, why do I have to be so tough all the time? Why can’t I be vulnerable and let someone know that this easy task is really difficult for me?

Society gives off the impression that with toughness and pride, comes success and power. That weakness is not okay and feelings are silly. So we shield ourselves. That is what puts up this notion that you should only sympathize for someone who has dealt with a true tragedy. But in all reality, we should soften our hearts a bit more. We should let the person next to us cry on our shoulder if work was just too overwhelming for them today, or they feel a bit lost in their life.

Don’t get me wrong – I do believe there is a difference between being vulnerable and overly abusing someone’s attention to complain. I do believe sometimes people cry wolf. But don’t always assume they’re being over sensitive. In the same way, I also believe that strength and toughness are not always terrible things, but with vulnerability you will find a true strength. You learn how to persevere, and that is one of the best gifts you give yourself.

So next time your friend calls to complain about this same problem they’ve been struggling with for the past week – be all ears. Put yourself in their shoes and embrace their delicacy. After all, aren’t the most delicate flowers always the most beautiful ones?

Xo, B.

Surviving The Struggle Of Your Twenties

Quarter life crisis’s are a thing – trust me. There will come a day when you sit back and wonder why you don’t have it all together yet. I’m twenty-something, I thought I was supposed to have it all figured out by now?! The tears may even set in as you wonder why nobody ever warned you about the struggle in your twenties, but only told you about the excitement the years will bring. Don’t get me wrong, they are an exciting time, but there’s also a lot we take on throughout these years.

I may only be getting started on these crazy years, but it’s always a good idea to take a breath and remember some of these lessons I’ve already collected along the way..

Remove the negativity surrounding you. Whether it be a job, certain acquaintances, or any situation you may be in, get rid of it – or at least don’t let yourself become a part of it. Constant negativity will turn you into a bitter person. It will cloud those big dreams and confidence you should be filled with in your twenties. It is hard not to dwell some days, but don’t stay there. Pack it up and remember who you are and go get it. You can only go as far as your mind will let you – don’t limit yourself.

Put your phone away. Technology is wonderful, but don’t be consumed by it. Snap a picture of the sunset, but then put it down and admire that sunset. Take it all in. Go for a run. We miss so much with our heads down, stuck in our social media consumed lives.

Quality friendships are greater than the quantity of friends you have. I’m stuck in a stage where my closest friends are living in different states than me, and I often find myself wondering why I don’t have “more” friends around. But I have learned it’s more important to have a few close, loyal, long-lasting friendships over those “party friends” everyone else seems to have. Keep in touch with those quality friends. Support each other and visit each other. These are your forever friends, and forever friends make your life brighter. Don’t feel down if you’re not surrounded with a ton of surfaced level friendships – you’re not missing out on much. The most important thing is that you know you have a few people that would actually do anything for you when you need them most.

Comparison is an evil monster in your twenties. I’m at the point where half of my friends are married with children on the way, and half couldn’t tell you where they were last weekend. Some have graduated and bought a house, some are paycheck to paycheck right now. So how do you fit in? It seems as though everyone’s constantly asking, “So when will you graduate?”, or “Did you hear she got engaged yesterday?”. It does not matter where everyone else is at – please remember this. It is so important that you take your life at your pace. If you try to keep up with everyone else, you will rush into poor decisions and be drowning in struggle. It does not matter if you are married, or if you are single and living with your parents. What matters is that you are doing the best you can, and you are happy. We are all ready for certain stages at different times. Only you know where your heart is at, and what you can handle. Be proud of your friends, and support each other. Life’s not a race. It’s not about getting to the finish line, it’s about enjoying each step you take along the way.

Keep your faith strong – this one’s important.. Once we move away from our parents and aren’t “forced” to go to church each Sunday, we sometimes let it slip away and lose it’s importance. Keep going. Remember the One who’s always there with you during these difficult days. Faith can get you so far, especially when your twenties can be filled with a lot of fear. There is a plan for you, and if you can trust that whole-heartedly, days will become immensely easier. You are where you are supposed to be in this moment.

Your twenties are hard and you will struggle – and that’s okay! Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure brings beautiful success, success that will feel earned. So next time you feel overwhelmed, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Remember you aren’t going through this alone. Remember that the best days are yet to come. Be proud of how far you’ve come already. Diamonds aren’t made without a lot of pressure.

“Nothing will ruin your life in your 20’s more than thinking you should have your life together already.” -Unknown

Xo, B.

Never Judge A Book By It’s Cover

The best novels are the ones you get lost in, the ones that consume you to make you believe you are a part of their story. And when you close that final page, a little piece of you feels as if it’s been left behind in the pages. A good book will keep you busy, a great book will change you.

I recently finished reading the book Every Day by David Levithan. This book was one of those great ones. This book took each page and filled my heart with a new perspective – allowing me to open my eyes to the world and see a new light.

Andrew grew up believing “his” life was normal. (I will use “his”, but Andrew was not identified – Andrew was just a soul without a gender) Andrew woke each day in someone else’s body. He took on the day as that certain being and lived in their shoes, whether it be male or female. It wasn’t until Andrew realized everyone’s always talking about a “tomorrow” that he found out he was different. He took advantage of this situation, and took each day to understand that person’s life.

The bigger picture of this book stole my heart. What a gift would it be to experience just one day in someone else’s shoes? To understand that life is larger than just our own selves? I think that all it would take for some of us is just one day to get a grip of understanding. Andrew was able to teach me that you may come across a new person each day who is fighting against a different battle, but never even think twice to notice. He taught me that we may never fully understand other’s battles because, in this life, we can’t live in someone else’s body for a day.

Andrew experienced lives with anxiety, depression, loss, love, perfection, obesity, and so many others. But in the story he had said his most memorable was when he was in the body of a girl who was blind. The way she was still able to look at the world filled Andrew’s heart with happiness. He took each day not to judge, but to embrace those differences and appreciate their unique beauty.

As the story continues, Andrew falls in love for the first time with a young lady and tells his story to her. After adjusting to the insanity, she started to fall in love with Andrew. The beauty of this love is that it is only based on Andrew’s soul – not his looks. Female one day, male the next was hard for Rhiannon to grip, but she saw past it and fell for Andrew.

{SPOILER ALERT} Andrew finds there’s possibly a way to stay in the same body each day and be able to love Rhiannon forever. To wake up next to her as a normal human being. But this is something Andrew simply could not do. He could not steal the soul of someone else for his own benefit, even though he wanted to so badly. So he chose to leave. He chose to put everyone else before himself and continue the way he was meant to. Truly a story of selflessness.

Levithan’s words are genuinely genius. If only we could all understand the bigger picture. Look around at each other to see more than just the outside. Look within and appreciate their soul, love their soul.

When I was living in Bozeman I came across a quote that talked about walking into a forest and looking at all the trees surrounding us. We appreciate the beauty of those trees. Some may be broken or different looking, but those are usually our favorite ones. We think the differentness is beautiful. We must start to look at the people around us the way we look at trees. To see the beauty in them all, broken or unique. So I took each family member and turned them into a tree and tattooed them on my forearm – this way I am reminded daily of this message. I must appreciate every person I come across for what makes them different than me, not similar to me. What fun would it be if we were all the same anyways? What a bland world this would be.

So I challenge you all, to look at the person next to you like you would a beautifully broken tree. The tree you’d want to capture in a photograph because you just love how it is so unique from all the others. Live every day with this intent, and your world will begin to become a brighter place. We are all fighting a battle, but the blessing is we all have each other.

“If you stare at the center of the universe, there is a coldness there. A blankness. Ultimately, the universe doesn’t care about us. Time doesn’t care about us. That is why we have to care about each other.” -David Levithan, Every Day

Xo, B.

Learning To Grow From Loss

To lose and to gain are two completely opposite actions. Someone lost their favorite book, while another gained a gorgeous little granddaughter. The beautiful thing about these two opposites, is how powerful they can be when made to work together.

When someone is first taken from your life, whether it be by death or loss of relationship, it’s hard to think of the positives. Losing my mother at a young age I never thought of the word gain, but constantly of loss. She was gone in an instant. Everything had changed. There was a hole, and it was dug deep. Everyone kept promising it will get better, but how? How will I grow from here? Six years later and that hole I once had is still there, but inside of it are wonderful accomplishments my mother’s pushed me to achieve.

Getting on my feet was difficult at first. That hole felt so immense and heavy. It wasn’t until I was reminded by a loved one that, “Your mother would be upset to see you upset.”, and they were right. Whenever I need the motivation to keep going, I remember that I am doing this for her. I can still make her proud even though she is not physically here with me.

My mom was with me in this world nearly seventeen years. She taught me many great lessons and always filled my heart with laughter. But what amazes me most about my mother, is how she has touched me and continued to teach me so much in the last six years alone – probably greater lessons than she did while she was here.

Without being with me she taught me the value of life; How short and fragile it truly is. She taught me to appreciate the simplicity in life, to see the beauty so much easier. I look at each sunset, and am simply thankful I am able to witness one more beautiful sight. I have learned how to understand others deeper. How to understand we may have hurting hearts, but we can still laugh and love when we come together.

I am not saying you will eventually “get over it” and be happy all of the time. You should never stop grieving or remembering a loved one. Take the time to be sad when you are really missing them. Look through old pictures and laugh at all the silly memories. It’s okay to not always be okay. But once you have had your moment, put that smile back on and get out there.

Every mountain I have climbed and every sunrise I’ve watched, I feel mom’s presence with me. I feel her telling me to be thankful for this moment, to embrace all this beauty she is sharing with me and keep climbing. I continue to live each day in her spirit, and fill my heart with all that I am able to.

And when times get tough, just remember, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

Xo, B.