Step to Self Acceptance

I believe freedom is self-acceptance and understanding of one’s self. But how can we objectively study who we are if we have never experienced the lives of others? I’ve often asked myself: How do other people feel on a daily basis? What do their inner lives sound like, if anything at all? How do I compare to everyone else?

Is it “normal” for me to be the way I am?

Mostly out of love and caring, I’ve been told the following phrases most of my life: too sensitive; get over it; stop overthinking it.

I remember the first time I was told to to K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid) after presenting a new project at work. My colleagues were certainly right about me over complicating the process, but it hurt me a lot (naturally) to hear that acronym.

Am I stupid for overthinking?

As a child, the night would serve as a source for my mind to wander, to think. The sun set and rose while my mind wandered on a pleasant and simply curious adventure.

As a child, I never thought of my natural tendencies to think as a crutch. No child sees their innate traits as crippling until someone tells them they are.

As I grew, I began to view my sensitivities and feelings as a weakness. Whenever I would well up with tears at the thought of anything, pour my heart out to someone, get “irrationally” excited about something just because or feel like I just wanted to be alone, I always felt like I was weak. I always have viewed my feelings as a frailty, an ugly trait about me that I need to push away.

Be stronger, Kaitlyn. Stop being crazy. 

I didn’t allow myself to do what I need to do as Kaitlyn which is feel, release, and renew.   

Eventually, my overthinking turned into a way to avoid pain.

If I can control every detail, I will prevent anything painful from happening. 

Overthinking and feelings can be the conspirators of my misery.

Feelings can be ignored longer by some than others, but not forever. For me, my feelings can overtake my breathing and grab my heart. They can make my sight a mirage and my world a fleeting vortex. My untended feelings can attack me in the middle of my day, just like that. They push those who love me away by causing me to be cruel or complacent; they can make me indifferent to life.

We cannot ignore who we are and truly be happy.  

You cannot drown yourself by viewing your innate traits as a crutch.

For those of you on the life long quest to search for who you are, my hope is that you do not let the outside world infiltrate the truth that you have inside of yourself. Who knows what normal is; why waste one more minute of this brilliant life trying to figure that out?

Be as you are. Be kind to yourself while you do it. 

With Love,

Kaitlyn

 

 

 

 

Power in Words

Truth #1: We’ve all fallen victim to words. 

Words said out of anger or insecurity. Words that have the clear intent to make us feel low, unworthy or irrelevant in the world.

Stupid. Ugly. Fat. Weird. 

Or the words that are said without sincerity. Words that give you false hope, happiness or sense of security. The kind of words that amplify your feelings until actions or lack thereof reveal the ugly truth. The truth to the betrayal that you subjected yourself to for believing them. The misleading words that burn your openness to ever hearing them again.

I love you. I’ll always be there for you. I understand you.

Words can brainwash masses of people to carry out unthinkable acts: Murder, suicide, hatred for fellow humans. 

Words can distort a person’s view of themselves for a lifetime. Malicious or misspoken words can haunt the psyche and latch onto a soul, sucking out the vibrancy of what each person on this Earth has. Hurtful words seep poison into the force that carries our ability to love, be fearless and see our worth.

Truth #2: We’ve all participated in the malicious use of words. 

I’ve gossiped to feel apart of a group. I’ve misused words and said things I don’t mean to save someone from how I really feel. I’ve certainly succumbed to anger and said things I regret. I’ve snapped out comments because of my ego.

What did I gain from these instances? Nothing. In fact, I lost a bit of myself each time.

I’m learning it’s better to be awkwardly silent than to respond with words you don’t truly mean or participate in a conversation that makes you falter from who you are when it’s completed.

Truth #3: No one is perfect. Communication is hard. 

There are a million and one ways that people interpret the words “love” or “fear”. Our perspectives have been uniquely built based on a myriad of things: experience, culture, environment, families, education. It’s inevitable that what we communicate is not received as we intend it to be. Understand your intent before speaking. Understand the power of your words.

Be genuine and use your words to plant kind seeds of growth for people you cross paths with.

Understand that those who have spoken maliciously towards you were fighting their own battles. Those that make you feel low are harboring their own issues, as we all are. Forgive and forget. 

We’re all in this life together.

With love,

Kaitlyn

Stand-Up Desk or Die

Co-workers will often comment on my stand-up desk and ask why I use it. To keep the conversation light, I usually answer with a generic “It helps me keep my high energy channeled.”

I feel it’s slightly morbid to say sitting at your desk all day speeds up your death, so I don’t. I’m getting better at biting my super dramatic tongue (kinda) – sometimes it’s fun to be dramatic.

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There IS a study that states sitting eight hours a day increases your chance of premature death by 60% and that sedentary living is the new smoking. Plus, “stand-up desk co-workers” really aren’t liked in the work place, according to a study performed by the University of Florida. Apparently, my stand-up desk lifestyle increases my co-workers disdain for me by up to 70%; the last thing I need to do is share death statistics with them… because that’ll totally make people want to talk to me…

I say “let the haters hate” and join the “annoying stand-up deskers”- you’ll be making a profound step towards healthier living!

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Here are a few tips I want to share from my personal experience:

  • You’ll feel awkward the first week. I remember it was difficult for me to train my brain to recognize standing as “work mode”. After a bit of persistence, I could stay focused for longer and feel more energized throughout the day.
  • You do not have to stand up all day. In fact, it’s recommended that you don’t. Personally, I usually switch from standing and sitting each hour.
  • Your feet might hurt as your body adjusts to your new habit. I keep emergency “grandma frumpy but oh-so-comfy” shoes under my desk so that I can slip out of heels and stand longer.
  • As you slowly develop this standing habit, your body will want to stand more! Things that are in motion, stay in motion. Personally, I typically can’t sit for longer than an hour before I feel the need to stand up! This change in my body only happened when I started standing at work about two years ago.

Basically, the short-term difficulties that come with switching to a stand-up desk are totally worth the long term rewards.

Standing up more frequently throughout your day increases your metabolism, attention span, and I would say your happiness! Here’s an excellent infographic that expands upon the oh-so-lovely “slow death” ideal: http://mashable.com/2011/05/09/sitting-down-infographic/#PSL7jmq6gkqb

Enjoy! 😊

Do you have a stand-up desk? What were your struggles getting started? Are you thinking about switching now?

With Love,

Kaitlyn

P.S.

I certainly cannot say that the stand-up desk is appropriate for every. single. person. given the varied and unique health situations that every person has. The purpose of this was to share my experience in hopes that it resonates with someone.

 

Screw Gold Stars

First grade was such a lovely time.

Happiness for me was a snack when I got home, to kick ass at jump rope during recess and, most importantly, to have another gold star displayed next to my name on the poster that all my classmates could see.

Crooked pigtails? Grass stained jeans? Kool-Aid mustache? Brother being extra annoying?

None of those things mattered if I got another gold star.

You see, the gold star poster wasn’t just a five-dollar scheme that my teacher used to get us kids to stop picking our noses and pay attention.

The gold star display was my identity and something I couldn’t avoid even if I wanted to. At the focal point of the classroom, a striking and eye-catching poster listed the name of each student followed by their gold star rating.

Everyone could see my value smack dab on that poster every single day.

I saw my value on that poster every single day.

I remember feeling happy, prideful, and content with my entire existence when I would gaze up at my beloved star collection. All of this was shattered the year of ’99.

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Little Kaitlyn, pre-gold star tragedy.

Gold star tragedy.

I believe the events you most vividly remember in your life are those that elicit the most emotions. One of these vivid memories comes from my first-grade story time.

The day my entire identity was shattered….

The day one of my beloved gold stars was revoked for disrupting story time while trying to whisper to my friend.

Up until this point, I had a perfect gold star track record. I was perfect.

Immediately, my eyes welled up and my heart dropped. I started crying, sobbing and didn’t want to participate in anything else.

I lost my gold star; what was the point of doing anything else good for myself that day?

The gold star delusion was so deeply embedded in me that I was too stubborn and heartbroken to listen to any rationale from my teacher. The teacher was forced to call my Mom to help me stop crying.

The loss of one stupid, two-cent gold star spiraled my entire day out of control.

Life forged on, as it does, after my gold star tragedy. I made sure I had perfect behavior for the rest of the year because I never wanted to feel the loss of another star again.

Gold star fallacy.

We live in a world of labels, expectations and images. We strive for the unreachable feeling of perfection – the euphoria of my perfect gold star track record. The gold star perfection was a fallacy. I was never truly happy because my happiness was dependent on those stars.

My wish is that we strive to remove the gold star fallacies and immerse ourselves in whatever it is that makes us feel inwardly alive. The type of aliveness that starts inside of you and transcends to fill up your soul.

Like the feeling of a sunrise…

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It’s easy to pursue the gold stars that society suggests we should have.  

It takes bravery to pursue what you were meant to do. It takes persistence to muddle through all the imperfections that are natural and necessary to be great at something.

Moral of the story?

Be gorgeously human on the pursuit of whatever the hell you want.

And for goodness sake, screw gold stars.

I guarantee this turtle doesn’t lose any sleep over the stupid ass gold stars in life.

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With Love and Giggles,

~Kaitlyn~

The Clock Ticks and Fear Fades

Conclusion #1: Time is a bitch that you have to love.

The day I turned 25, time seemed like a rock in my chest, lump in my throat and the fuel to my thoughts that I could never tame. I noticed myself becoming angry at nothing, dreading waking up, avoiding friends, and things I’ve always loved. I found myself in a grey cloud of life. I felt like the real life version of Eeyore, Ursula and Miss Hannigan all merged into one weird person. I found myself noticing and feeling all of the bad news in the world instead of looking for the good.

I didn’t even want to smile at strangers anymore  – WHO WAS I BECOMING?!

I have a million and one things to be thankful for. Why am I such a baby? Why can’t I be tough or resilient? Why can’t I just be happy with a good Netflix series, a warm bed to sleep in, people who love me and decent conversations?

Conclusion #2: People who are kind to strangers are the best type of people in the world.

As I reveled in my pity party within my day-to-day life I oddly found sparks of light and happiness in conversations had with strangers at the gym, waiting in line, making coffee.  I had pushed away my friends and family because I felt like a burden. Everyone is struggling and no one has time for my menial issues.

From chats with strangers, I found that genuine kindness and caring for fellow humans exists. I found that time is not the ruler for everyone and that there is always time to be kind and do what makes you happy.

Like take lots of pictures of your adorable dog….

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Fur Child, Cheyenne

Strangers scared away my EeyoreHanniganUrsula catastrophe of a personality. Strangers helped to turn on my light. Thank you, strangers. You’ve saved the world from EeyoreHanniganUrsula.

Conclusion #3: Happiness exists within and time really isn’t a bitch.

Happiness is something that I create; no one else dictates how I create that. Time is a beautiful thing and there is no other way to be then positive, loving and appreciative of every moment. Without the burden of time ending, we would never be able to cherish the moments we have.

There will be times when I want to punch a wall, cry myself to sleep or eat like I’m going into hibernation and that’s OK too.

We’re all weird little humans trying to make the best of the clock. 

FINAL CONCLUSION: Be a kind stranger.

I’ll be using this blog to vent my overly dramatic perceptions of life and the journey to happiness. This blog also relieves my friends and family with having to listen to ALL of my overly analytical thoughts (you’re welcome) – you’ll still have to listen to some though.

I’m also aspiring to be a Certified Personal Trainer, Tiny Home Owner and more than mediocre photographer of nature.

Stick around for the train wreck.

Here’s another picture of Cheyenne taken at Greenwell17757275_10208917352760679_2726523953618066988_n