A letter to my younger self

Self,
You are one amazing person. Right now it may seem like making friends is challenging, but your future has an amazing opportunity waiting for you. You’ll meet so many people, and create friendships that will last longer than the trend of the week.
You are talented. You know how much you love to draw and paint… well keep doing that. And the camera that you keep asking to have for Christmas… you do get one, but not until you graduate college and start your full-time job. Don’t worry, in high school you get to use his!
You love helping others succeed. You’re going to continue to have classmates ask to work with you. Just smile, and say yes. (Spoiler alert: you do end up teaching)
You will take risks, make mistakes, and survive them. The next few years (more like 10+) aren’t going to be easy. There will be MANY times you wish you could do things over.

IT DOES GET BETTER.

 

Your heart will get broken.
Mistakes will be made.
Lessons will be learned.

Phone calls, and messages will be exchanged
but all for what’s to come in the future.
You will wake up one day and see through eyes so clear.
You will suddenly feel free.
When that weight is lifted
it will
ALL
MAKE
SENSE

You can’t go back.
You can only move forward.

Keep moving ahead~ You have your parents that love you. NO MATTER WHAT. You have siblings that just want you to be HAPPY. You have family members that will listen. You have friends that will be there, and love you through IT ALL.

You’ll meet others ahead of you. (That’s okay)

You have your own story.
Unique as a unicorn.

Stay strong. Be you. Be kind.

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Field of flowers

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One day we were sitting in a field of flowers
Waiting

We were waiting for the fire
Or were we waiting for the rain?

In the field
Together
Waiting
No protection
Just there

The sun rises and falls
Over and over

Then there’s fire
Where’s the rain?

This can’t be
The field is gone
Flames
Smoke
Gone

The smoke lingers on us
It’s so heavy
Where’s the rain?

A new field is ahead
Don’t get burned
Pray for a rain.

 

April 22, 2017

I’m going to tell the story of how I ended up at Modern Vintage Tattoo in Gettysburg, PA on April 22, 2017.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly #inspiration #quotes #strength:
I have this exact image in magnet form at work.

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Tattoo Artist: David Hoover – Thank you for making this experience amazing and giving me exactly what I wanted.

2016- After years of struggling with depression and anxiety, I made the decision to better my mental health. This was after many events piling up and having a breakdown at work. When my “I’m fine.” face and response and other strategies failed me- I knew I had to seek professional support.

For many years I would joke with my mother and tell her how I was surprised I was never put in therapy.  I went on to take many courses on psychology and counseling skills in college and told myself that I knew what a therapist would tell me.
During my senior year in college I had to write a paper for my Family Dynamics course. That paper stirred up so many mixed emotions. So I decided to try and talk to someone at the school’s wellness center.
The counselor on staff was away for vacation, so I saw one of the interns.
That didn’t get me anywhere. This individual said nothing.
NOTHING.
After that I told myself that I wasn’t doing that again.
Flash forward to 2016 and I ended up saying the same things I did then to 2 additional professionals, and they have been there guiding me along this journey to a better version of myself.

I still have days when smiling isn’t easy. I have days when my body and mind are exhausted. But now I learned that it’s OK to not do it all. My mental health is just as important as my physical health.

Having this butterfly tattoo is more than something pretty to look at.
It’s my reminder of the positive that comes with the negative. As well as my reminder of my transformation.

To my support system: THANK YOU.

November 9, 2016


Give thanks & be kind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am thankful for my parents:

Their support and guidance has shaped me into the woman I am today. There were times I know I needed to hear the truth, and they gave it to me. There were times they let me figure out the answers to my many questions on my own. My parents taught me to be strong, no matter the situation. They taught me to be a leader and not a follower. They taught me to be kind. They also taught me the importance of a real smile.

I am thankful for my job:

I can’t tell you how thankful I am to be in the position I am today. I remember being in 3rd grade, struggling with math and getting extra support from my teacher in order to advance in the fall. Her support planted the seed. As the years went on my passion and talents in art led me to starting college as an art major. Six weeks later I changed my mind. Flash forward through the many nights of “What am I doing with my life?! Will I even have a job when I graduate?! I should of gone to community college!” – I got a full time job a month after graduation. I am a teacher. I teach reading to students with dyslexia and other language based learning differences. Every day is a new day. Every day I am making a difference in the lives of the young minds that walk into my room for their daily lesson. I am the person they look to for support and guidance. I’m also the person they call for when a toilet is overflowing… Like I said, every day is a new adventure.

I am thankful for my past:

We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. I have spent many nights wondering what my life would be if I took a different path. Said yes to some things and no to others. I’ve lost people that I thought would be standing by me at my wedding. I said goodbye to people I thought would be in my life for many more years than they were. My past has taught me to be open to what comes after the pain.

I am thankful for my present:

My present is not my past. I’ve had to repeat that over and over again. My present brings me so much happiness. I am surrounded by an incredible support system. I enjoy the little things in life. I laugh more, and I smile more. Those that play a part in this- you all mean more than you know. For those that have just listened- thank you.

I am thankful for the unknown:

I remember the nights when I’d dream about what my life would be like when I turned 25. Now I start to question what the next five and ten years will bring. Whatever is in store for me I can handle it. I’ve made it this far.

I am thankful for failure:

I didn’t let falling off my bike stop me from learning. I didn’t let not getting the part stop me from acting (middle school). I didn’t let rejection stop me from asking my next crush out. I didn’t let the man at PCAD ruin my love of drawing and painting. I didn’t let “we regret to inform you letters” stop me from applying for jobs. I asked for help, and learned how to be more flexible.

I am thankful for my strengths:

Kind, loving, responsible, dependable, patient, photographer, difference maker.
Those things make me- ME.

I am thankful for my weaknesses:

I’m not perfect. I can’t touch my toes. I can’t do a cartwheel. Spiders and snakes scare me. Don’t ask me to ride a roller coaster. When someone cries around me there is a high chance I will cry with them. I am afraid of asking for help. I hate when I’m talked down to. All of these things don’t make me a bad person. It shows I’m human.

I am thankful for sunrises, and sunsets:

A sunrise means, it’s a new day with new adventures to embrace.
A sunset means, I made it through the adventure and more is on the way.

November 3, 2016

Today was one of those days The kind where I couldn’t find the right words

The kind I felt silly for even feeling the way I did 

That feeling was back

The empty one

I can’t fix it

Because I don’t know why I’m even feeling it 
Stop 

You know why 

You’re just trying to act like it’s not happening 

But it is

It happens every year

Around this time 

You want to cry 

You want to be angry

You want to be free
Acknowledge the hurt 

Acknowledge the life taken away too soon

But don’t stay in the empty place 

It’s too dark there 

You love to watch the sunrise and sunset
You need to make that ‘phone call’

Talk for as long as you need 

Then hang up

Go out the door 
And live. 

24.

Year 24.

You changed me.

I wasn’t alone.

You changed me for the better.

I wasn’t alone.

You changed me into a stronger and healthier woman.

Thank you.

You changed me into the woman that I knew was always there.

Thank you.

You changed me because this was the year of challenges and change.

You challenged me.

This shouldn’t of surprised me.

You challenged me by giving me obstacles in every aspect of my life.

This shouldn’t of surprised me either.

You challenged me by making me question everything.

This was tough, but you were always there…just waiting for me to notice.

Year 24.
You made this year a tough year to get through.
But here I am.
Happier. Stronger. Thankful.

Year 25 isn’t going to be so scary after all.

Thank you for all the signs. This one is for us.

A Glass of Water is Like…

Last week I saw a video about a glass of water and how it relates to a person when they think about the burdens in their life. As a person that has been living with severe anxiety for over ten years I know the struggle of not being able to put the glass down.
The past few months have been a roller coaster of stress and change. Some of the changes I controlled and others were unexpected. A mix of good and bad. But since it wasn’t my first time experiencing that, I figured I could handle it on my own.
But I was wrong.
I slowly started turning into someone I didn’t recognize anymore.
I became more irritable and slipping to a place I didn’t want to be in.
That is why I made the decision to start seeing a therapist and be placed on a proper medication to manage my anxiety.

Background Info– Last year when I talked to my primary about medication for my anxiety she first had me see a cardiologist. Because of my symptoms during an attack and her noticing that I had a heart murmur she wanted to make sure there were no underlying issues. She gave me a prescription for when I felt an attack coming on and told me to see a therapist. The cardiologist had me wear a heart monitor for three weeks, and the results showed that I have a high heart rate. Everything else was normal. Which was great!
It proved that the pain I’ve been experiencing for years was from an anxiety attack.

It took over a year for me to make the call to start seeing a therapist. I am lucky that I was directed towards another medical professional that is working with me to make sure I am on the correct daily medication. I believe strongly in the power of therapy and medication.

What is it like to have an anxiety disorder?
I overthink everything!
Example: Last weekend my boyfriend asked me to decide on the time of the movie we were going to see. Seems simple right? Well, not for me. Had to pick the location, they each had different times because some were 2D and 3D, which then changed when we’d have to leave. I was so annoyed that he wouldn’t just decide. But he wasn’t going to, I had to pick, so I did. Only took 45minutes. Drove to the theater, got tickets, sat down, and during the first 10 minutes of the movie I’m telling my brain to shut up about having to make the decision about the movies. Eventually that thought stopped and I enjoyed the movie. Got home, laid down, and what comes back… the same one from three hours earlier. By this point I was angry with myself. I’m trying to tell my brain to shut up. There was no point in thinking about something that happened hours ago. My heart was beating faster, and I’m trying to take deep breaths to calm down and think about breathing instead of that annoying thought that decided to pop back into my head. And eventually, I fell asleep.

Dealing with situations like that everyday is exhausting. I’ve made the choice that I want to be able to put the glass down at the end of the day. Ten years was long enough. I don’t want to lose the important people in my life. Because of my anxiety, it’s causing me to overthink all of their actions and push them away. I need those people in my life.
If you are one of them that happens to be reading this: THANK YOU.
Thank you for being part of my life, and choosing to stay in it. Thank you for listening when I need to vent. Thank you for understanding that sometimes I don’t know why I do or say what I do. Thank you for loving me. Quirks and all. Thank you for being supportive of this road to a better life.