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Food For Thought life Self Love and Personal Growth

The Dream I Had

I had a dream a month or so ago that woke me up feeling some type of way I cannot really explain. I wholeheartedly believe dreams that are remembered can tell you a lot. They pull from your subconscious. They can spark your creativity and imagination, remind you of something you have forgotten or have been meaning to do, teach you lessons, and even tell you how you feel. In this dream, there was a bunch of things happening, but the part I am going in to detail about is the part I remember the most that resonates the most with me.

I suppose I was a teacher in the dream. I had a whole group of people with me, all in their twenties-around the same age as me. I don’t know what kind of class it was. It seemed like the mission was to complete an escape room like experiment. A lot of us had finished it on our own already. There was one person who hadn’t experienced the escape room yet.

One of the stages required the participant(s) to knock out this monster guarding the next round. The way to achieve this was to pull the ropes so that the monster would be enticed to go near the dangling slab of concrete attached to the rope, which you’d end up releasing on its head. The person who didn’t complete the escape room beforehand, lets just call her “Student,” performed this step with the help of everyone else. As the teacher I allowed it, though I was getting a little annoyed because she was meant to do it herself.

We moved through that round of the escape room and got to a huge room with two sections. As you walk in you would see a desk with with papers on it, with a drawer and a lock. To the right of that was a huge window that opens out with another desk underneath it. Shelves covered in books, vases, and plants decorated the walls. An archway to the left led to treasure chests with key holes on top of chairs. Bookcases were on the walls behind that.

The group that was there started explaining to Student how to get the keys to open the locked drawers and chests without her exploring the room and finding them for herself. I was getting more and more agitated. At one point I told them all to stop feeding her information. She found a key with their help and searched for which keyhole it opened by herself. She went to the first keyhole she saw and attempted to open it. It needed a code. She couldn’t figure out the code, so the drawer wasn’t opening.

Everyone knew the key wasn’t meant for the desk drawer. The key opened the treasure chest in the archway. A group of people moved there because they were getting restless. It seemed like a lot of time was passing. I was worried that she would assume the key opened a treasure chest in that room simply because everyone gravitated there. Then, someone opened up the treasure chest and pulled out a plant, which was what Student was meant to find. I yelled at that person for sabotaging this whole experiment which was meant for Student to learn. Turns out that person took the plant that was inside to mess with, who I assume, is the other person who facilitated the experiment. Their actions had nothing to do with helping or harming Student although it would affect her.

I went outside to recover the plant that was taken and when I got back inside, Student was crying hysterically. The drawer just wouldn’t open and she was frustrated. Someone else was crying watching her. I approached Student and consoled her, holding the plant behind my back. Someone took it from me as I told her, “Hey, obviously this isn’t working. This key isn’t for that drawer. You know that. Why do you keep trying? Find the right keyhole.”

She ended up going to the room everyone gravitated to. She picked the right treasure chest and opened it. Although the plant she was meant to find wasn’t in there, it would’ve been. One of the members of the group revealed it to her. Student seemed satisfied and asked, “See. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just tell me how to do it?”

“No,” I answered, “Because this was meant to teach you how to think critically and problem solve. I would’ve let you keep going but we’re running out of time. Now it’s time to open the desk drawer.” The code to the drawer was outside, on the ground, which could be discovered by looking out of the window. I was worried she wouldn’t find it.

Then I woke up.

I took away a couple explanations and lessons from this dream. A part of me felt like I was talking to my daughter just because I am pregnant with a girl and mothers tend to teach lessons to their children.

However, I also took away how Student was trying the same thing over and over again. It wasn’t working, she knew it wasn’t working, but she kept trying. And though getting up after you get kicked down is admirable, it is equally as important to recognize when your approach is wrong. Trying the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, is insanity. It’s important to be flexible and to learn when to keep going, walk away, or approach the situation differently.

I was upset in the dream because I wanted Student to figure out things for herself. When you are always given all the answers, you become dependent on others. It can make it hard to know where to start when you are met with a problem. It can, in some ways, hinder your growth. Problem solving and critical thinking are skills. Skills need to be developed and sharpened. This doesn’t mean not to ask for help or rely on others. It’s just a reminder to trust yourself and your instincts as well.

People providing Student with answers also bothered me because it did not allow her to look for clues. Escape rooms somewhat require you to solve a puzzle by looking at all the details to make sure you don’t miss anything. Student wasn’t turning every stone. She looked at the directions she was pointed to instead of the bigger picture. She also wasn’t looking at the details. You can learn a lot by stepping back to see the whole picture and by zooming in to look closely at the details.

It can be hard or disheartening to watch, but sometimes you have to watch people figure it out on their own. You can give your opinions and advice, but ultimately it is their life. You can tell your kids not to touch the hot stove, but they will not understand how hot it is until they touch it. Similarly, sometimes you have to learn the lessons for yourself. I mean, how many times has someone given you advice that you did not listen to? How many times were those people right? It is different to hear it than experience it.

Lastly, upon editing this post, I was reminded that life happens. People, events, and situations may interfere with your life and unknowingly (or knowingly) affect your life. The person who stole the plant was not thinking about Student when they did so, but the chest was still empty when Student unlocked it. Intentions matter, but they do not always warrant forgiveness.

Maybe I think too much, but those were the lessons I took from that dream I had. It was so random but the fact I remembered meant something to me. It felt like a metaphor when I woke up. I had to share what I learned and was reminded of.

Categories
life Pregnancy

Exciting News Alert

In the midst of a pandemic, I found myself working, sleeping, and social distancing, with the exception of one person I would see outside of my household. I know, shame on me. That’s besides the point. My point is that all the signs were there, but I was not looking for them. I peed on a stick for clarity and peace of mind. I was not even late yet, but something told me to check. My coworker encouraged me to check. You could say it was my location’s bonding activity. After checking, I wouldn’t have to worry about if I was or if I wasn’t. I would instantly know. That was the ideology among us.

I always figured I’d be a single mom because I saw how society was growing up. I noticed how there were many depictions of single moms in the media. I have seen friends or classmates more often closer to their mothers and with less interactions with their fathers. I’ve seen how men treated strangers, and saw them with my friends and I. And because of these initial thoughts and depictions, I was always prepared to go through the process with or without the baby’s “father” by my side. The idea of me having a baby in my mind had always existed, regardless of if I had a husband or boyfriend there by my side. That never mattered for me because I always wanted to be a mother more than a wife. Maybe the baby dolls targeted to girls impacted me too much. I actually had one that would eat gloop and shit it out so you’d have to change its diaper.

With all that being said, fast forwarding, I saw two lines on the stick. It was an earth shattering moment. It is safe to say deep down I knew. As I said, the signs were there. Instead of freaking out while waiting for the results, I was calm. I was trying to convince myself of all the reasons why I couldn’t be pregnant. I believe I reacted this way because deep down I knew. And still I was in shock when I found out. I cried and took some more tests and cried more. I tried not to freak out. I freaked out. And I told the people around me. It was too much to comprehend on my own.

I struggled with a decision for months. It took weeks for me to fully believe I was pregnant. Even though deep down I knew what was right for me, at that point in time I was hesitant. I wondered if I was really ready, wondered if I was doing right by the baby by continuing the pregnancy, wondered if I was doing right by the guy. I thought about what it would mean for my future and what it meant for my present. I thought about where I would live and all of the support graciously thrown my way. I was stressed to tell people and stressed about the thought of having to explain myself.

It’s easy to say how you will react to a situation when you’re not in it. It’s easy to say you want a baby when you see a cute video or when there are babies around you. It’s easy to say you’ll get an abortion if you got pregnant before a certain time in your life. Its easy to say you’d never get an abortion. It’s easy to say you’d keep or wouldn’t keep the baby in an unplanned pregnancy when it is just a thought. The mindset is different for every woman.

Before I found out I was pregnant, I thought I would get an abortion. But when it actually happened, I didn’t jump at either option. For me, it felt like either choice would change my life. It was the first time a test actually said positive. The fact that I always wanted kids and to be a mom followed me. The fact that I never saw myself having kids conventionally stayed with me. The worry of regret haunted me. An abortion didn’t seem like something I could emotionally handle when I’ve always wanted a family of my own. I kept wondering what if I never get pregnant again and what if I never had this amount of support.

I decided to continue with the pregnancy because of the timing of things. A five year chapter of my life was coming to an end. I was months away from securing a degree. I knew and was reminded of all of the support I had. My parents told me they would help me in every way regardless of the choice that was mine to make. I felt like out of any time to change my life, what better time then when my life was already heading towards change.

I also believe everything happens for a reason, whether philosophical or spiritual or not. And yes, there are reasons as to why I got pregnant. Still getting pregnant isn’t exactly easily. And because I am in a time in my life I feel I can amend to add a baby, it felt like it happened for a reason. I had always felt like I met that guy for a reason. I believe the universe, God, or whatever you want to call it, would not lead me astray. If this pregnancy was meant for me now, I’d continue through okay and deliver a healthy baby. And if it wasn’t meant for me and it just happened, I believed and still believe I’ll miscarry. I have faith in the universe mainly because I couldn’t manage without it. Nothing is random to me.

This pregnancy journey has been a ride, which I’ll explain more in another post. And though I made the choice to continue with this pregnancy, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have the choice later in my life to end a pregnancy if I see fit. It doesn’t mean women should lose the choice to terminate pregnancy, whether it be their first or second or hundredth. It doesn’t mean anyone should feel bad for having an abortion. Pregnancy is a whole lot and women should be able to choose for themselves to keep or end a pregnancy. I decided to continue with this pregnancy and even though I’ll technically be a single mom, I won’t be alone in the slightest.

Categories
Food For Thought

Oh, ‘Rona

I remember being in grade school reading history books and listening to lectures about the Great Depression and the Civil War. I vaguely remember being a child during 9/11, only to learn more about the event and its effect when I got older. And in those moments I wondered what additions would be made to those history books during our lifetimes. What would we live through that would shape the course of history?

If I didn’t write anything about the coronavirus I would feel ridiculous. We’re in the middle of a pandemic! What’s been said is true: we’re living through history. Years from now we could look back at what is now on the news and what we personally capture during this time. The outcome of this will change the way people think and act if it hasn’t done so already. At this point in time the US has surpassed Italy and China in the number of documented cases. Daily life has been impacted in noticeable ways. The state and county you live in can affect how drastic the changes are because the nation isn’t on the same page yet on how to handle this. Some states and counties in the US are in full on “shelter-in-place” mode. Others only have “non-essential” businesses closed and strongly recommend social distancing.

A lot of businesses have closed their doors. People have been laid off because businesses either don’t have the money to sustain themselves and support their employees or simply don’t want to pay out their employees. What’s even worse is not everyone has been promised a position back when this is all over.

During this time, I’m lucky to still be employed and to work for the company that I do. For the most part they’ve gone beyond my expectations in how they’ve reacted to the news and how they’re treating us as employees. Unfortunately, most people aren’t in this position.

You have the people weren’t and may still not be taking this seriously, thinking the precautions that have taken place are stupid. They are coming up with conspiracy theories including that the virus is man made. And then there are the people who have taken this crisis to the next level, by acting out of selfishness: stocking up on supplies and food they don’t need or going out to the beach to enjoy their spring break.

So far here are my takeaways from the situation:

1) This is scary because of how rapid the spread is and how many people have died in a short amount of time and will die by the end of this. Tens of thousands of people dying from a single source is wild.

2) Many things will change when this is over such as how we interact with each other, how we keep up with personal hygiene, how grocery stores operate, and maybe even employee rights.

3) Mass groups of people in fear is terrifying. This is something I already knew but seeing it play out and seeing people react the way they have is scary to watch.

4) We crave control and sometimes the best way to have control is through denial. As long as we don’t believe something to be true, it has no power over us. In this case, we also gain control through buying out grocery stores and trying to resume our normal routines until we legally can’t anymore.

5) We also like to have choices. Not being able to go anywhere except the grocery story and work is making me, at least, feel claustrophobic. It’s not even so much that I want to go out and do things because I like my alone time and I like being home but not being able to make that choice freely is what has been getting to me.

6) It’s nice technology has developed in a way where we can play games and socialize online and through social media. We can learn about other people’s experience from hundreds of miles away.

7) Social media and reading the news online can be overwhelming. Having this type of access to other people can lead to the spread of misinformation which only creates more fear. Also, hearing about coronavirus all the time can be drowning. It is necessary to take a break and to walk away from it all.

8) This is time we can use to look into our inner world. I was talking to some friends on the phone and one of the, had said that she read somewhere, “I didn’t realize how much everything was a distraction and now I’m left without those.” This is a great time to lookg at yourself without the titles of jobs, material possessions, and other people. Work on yourself and help your mind, body, and soul grow.

I don’t think we will ever know if we’ve done too much or too little when this is over. I have heard something that was reassuring, however. That is, it is better that we overreact and say we did too much than to do little and say we didn’t do enough. That’s something I’ve been holding onto.

I hope we come out of this more appreciative of our lives and embrace what we have taken for granted. I hope we come out of this with more consideration and respect for others. Coronavirus is an event we have all collectively been impacted by. Let’s not make each other’s lives more difficult.

 

Categories
Food For Thought Self Love and Personal Growth

2020, we’re ready for you

2019 is coming to a close, which will mark the beginning of a new decade. I started the decade as a 13 year old middle schooler and I am ending it at 22 years old, with one class left in college. I, as we all, have experienced and learned so much that has impacted who I am today, and who I will be in the future. What better way to acknowledge this milestone than writing a blog post on the lessons I’ve learned from the year (and even the decade) in no particular order?

Lesson 1: Self-Love is the best love

The takeaway from this is to love yourself. Critique yourself because loving yourself is more than high self-esteem. Accept yourself because otherwise you end up diminishing yourself. Vow to improve yourself because you deserve to live the best life you can. Allow yourself to experience, grow, and change with life. Stop settling for less and allowing for what you do not deserve. Work hard to achieve your goals without overdoing it. Treat yourself with the same level of respect and love you would treat the people who are important in your life.

Lesson 2: Just Do It

 Some things are as simple as starting it. Reading one page can turn into a chapter. Doing one squat can turn into thirty. The only way to make a habit or even work towards your goals is to simply do what you can, no matter how small the first step may seem. 

Lesson 3: Change can be a good thing

I moved from California to Nevada to go to college. I was scared to move. I was nervous to get a new job and learn the ropes that came with working there. When I decided it was time for me to move on, I was unwilling to quit and find a new job even though I was no longer satisfied with what that job offered me. It seemed futile to have serious conversations with friends that I knew would lead to conflict, which tends to lead to change. I was nervous to join or try something new. My point is that change is scary. Deciding and accepting that something no longer benefits you is difficult. Going from something familiar to something unfamiliar can seem like a waste. It might make you wonder why change what is not broken. However, every change I have made in my life has improved me for the better, even if at the time it does not seem like it. You cannot grow if you stick to what you know. And if in the past year, (especially in the past ten years, you cannot say that you have changed or have made some sort of change in your life, it is time for you to self reflect and take some risks.

Lesson 4: Pick your battles and learn to walk away

Some things are worth fighting for. Some things are not. It is important to learn the difference between what is and what isn’t important in order to save yourself time and energy. Not everything you believe needs to be said out loud. Not every incorrect way of another needs to be corrected by you. Sometimes it is better to smile and keep it moving to protect your own peace.

Lesson 5: Honest communication is key

Communication is the most important lesson that I have learned. I used to be okay with getting walked  over if it meant I did not have to admit how it hurt. I used to let things go without realizing it still had an affect on my soul. I was under the impression that somehow, someone would know what I was thinking or what I felt, even if I failed to open my mouth. Communication is just as much talking as it is listening. Remember, no one knows what you don’t say. Communication can clear up misunderstandings and lead to a better understanding between both parties. Communicating the same point over and over again is redundant. If nothing changes after you communicate, then it is time to walk away from the situation. 

Lesson 6: It’s okay to be vulnerable

Being vulnerable is scary. It’s terrifying to put your thoughts and feelings out on the table without really knowing how someone else will react. Being vulnerable is eye opening. It is a way for people to validate your feelings and keep you grounded. It gives others the opportunity to see more of you, which can help others understand you. And at the end of the day, it feels good to open up and be vulnerable with others. It brings people closer together and it is a way to clear up what’s going on in your mind.

Lesson 7: Perspective matters

From my experience, the most understanding and empathetic people know how to look at a situation from different perspectives. Perspective is another reason why communication is important. Everyone has their own truth because everyone interprets things differently based on their unique background and experiences. Two people can tell you their side of an argument and be deemed correct in their own ways. Therefore, even if you have never experienced it for yourself, a situation may only make sense if you look at it outside of your worldview. 

Lesson 8: Balance all aspects in your life

Life is stressful, especially when we don’t use our time the way we would like or feel we should. If we don’t balance life’s offerings efficiently, it can feel like everything is falling apart. Balance looks different for everyone, so figuring out what a healthy balance of your activities looks like for you is vital. Do not be afraid to add more or take away from your plate. It is okay to share your plate with others, or give away what you do not like or cannot maintain to someone who is willing to accept it. Balancing naturally comes with placing priority among the different areas in your life. You get to decide what carries the most weight and is worth the most time in your life, whether its your hobbies, your family,  your friends, your career path, your love life, etc. Maintaining a healthy mind requires balancing your life. Balancing your life requires self examination.

Lesson 9: Don’t be fake positive 

It is okay to admit when things are going to shit. It is healthier to experience your emotions fully than pretend like everything is fine. Just because things are not okay now does not mean they will never be. It is okay to admit that things are hard right now, but know eventually they will get easier. Saying that you are unhappy, or that something sucks, doesn’t make you bitter, unless that is all you do. Don’t be fake positive and pretend like everything is all sunshine and rainbows when it clearly isn’t. It’s annoying.

Lesson 10: Take time to be grateful

Whether it is once a day, once a month, on holidays or special occasions, remember to take some time to appreciate what you have in your life. It can give you perspective and remind you to take a breather from the stressors of life.

 

Some other tips and lessons I have learned from the past couple of years include:

  • Journaling because writing down your thoughts can help you remember great moments and look at situations differently. It serves as a reminder to the amazing and the difficult days. Journaling is freeing.
  • Allowing yourself to feel your feelings because denying their existence does not make them go away. If anything, your emotions will just build up until the emotions are so overwhelming you explode.
  • Letting the past go because holding tightly onto it will affect your future and has the potential to hold you back.
  • Learning to say no because by being a yes man, you neglect your own thoughts, feelings, and opinions. It’s not enjoyable to do things you don’t want to do.
  • Self-reflecting is important! It can teach you about yourself, explaining why you do or react the way you do. It can help you find patterns in your actions or the actions of others. It can help you hold yourself accountable. It can help you set goals.
  • Everything happens for a reason. I am a believer in the universe and the interconnectedness of the world. Sometimes the reason for a situation occurring may not be philosophical or deep. It could simply be the result of your’s or someone else’s actions. However, most life events can teach you something about yourself, someone else, or the world if you look for it. Though it may not seem like it when you are going through it, later down the line you may be able to see why that situation occurred the way it did. You have to explore and self reflect about it though.

I enjoy symbolism and there is so much of it around the New Year, especially this year, with it being the start of a new decade. It feels like a new chapter. I used to hate New Year resolutions because I thought that they were pointless. In reality, they can help set the foundation for how you want to year to go. They can be used as benchmarks for what you want to accomplish.

Think about these past years and what you have learned, experienced, and enjoyed within them. Then, set your resolutions for the future year. This makes it easier to check in with yourself when the year is over.

Categories
Food For Thought Self Love and Personal Growth

Letting Go

I have a casual interest in astrology and, more specifically, astrology apps. I recently downloaded The Pattern for a variety of reasons, one of which was to help me discover why I was going through it whenever I seemingly was going through it.

Well one night/early morning I was going through it, and having my necessary, every-couple-of months-emotional breakdown. Thankfully, I was able to get everything off my chest to a great friend. I cried and vented and cried more about everything that I had been holding onto and subconsciously refusing to deal with and release. I even mentioned things I did not realize I was feeling, particularly experiences I had thought I moved passed until the words poured out of me. It’s funny what sorts of discoveries venting can bring about. It seems safe to say that dealing with the things that bother you requires more than just acknowledging it. Without understanding, accepting, and finding outlets in which to express it healthily, it’ll just build. That’s pretty much exactly what happened to me.

Every time I have these sort of breakdowns I usually dread everything for a couple hours and continue to self reflect about why I’m feeling the way that I am. These self reflections tend to lead to clarity about myself and the situations I’m in, as well as some sense of contentment. Usually, luckily, I’ll gain a lesson or two from it all. This post is meant to share the lessons I gathered this time around with whoever chooses to read this.

The center of my recent breakdown was about past relationships and how they have impacted who I am today. Everyone and every situation you’re in can teach you something if you choose to reflect upon it. Most of the people you meet and the situations experienced have had some sort of impact on who you are today, helping you to determine what you want and deserve, what you like or can tolerate, what you hate, etc. For me, (and I figure for others), some of my past is the reason behind my current insecurities and habits, examples being my need for reassurance and the fact I hate being told un-genuine and empty words, (outside of sarcasm and jokes obviously), no matter how minuscule.

The biggest take away I got this time around is that I have a habit of letting relationships from my past dictate and predict how relationships in my future will pan out. The mind, after all, is constantly looking for patterns to make sense of everything. I mentioned the app, The Pattern, earlier because the next day after the mentioned breakdown, I got a notification explaining that I was entering a new life cycle, where I need to let go and move forward from the past and the way I’ve interpreted how I’ve been treated.

The Pattern noted, “it’s time for you to be aware of what’s holding you back from evolving and to consider how relationship patterns have impacted your life up until this point.” I found it ironic and freaky because that was exactly what I had been doing the night before.  Though each insight on The Pattern is specific to the life cycles and patterns that are mentioned on the app (which is specific to the person) I feel the advice it gives has the potential to be beneficial for everyone.

The Pattern also said, “it [talking to the person from your past] can help let something go because you aren’t the same person you are when you knew them. These realizations can clear space for something new.” Using past relationships and situations to predict your future and understand your reality can actually be harmful just as much as we think it’s helpful in order to protect ourselves. It assumes the other person’s thoughts, actions, and intentions without factoring in their own perspective of things.  We are not the same people we were in the past. People who are current in your life are not the same as people who were in your past, even if there are similarities. 

Everyone has triggers and they may not be controllable. They’re residual affects of events from your past and reminders of old pain and memories. Some of the ways you have been treated can stick and affect who you are now and will be in future, especially if similar situations occur over and over again. Understanding and communicating these triggers and anxieties can ease the pain from them and can hopefully lessen the frequency of them.

“Time is going by and it will continue to do so with or without you. You can either adapt and accept the direction in which you’re being pushed or you can resist but you’re being asked to evolve by letting go of the past.” Holding onto the past, whether be experiences or people, will only hold you back. How can you move forward if you continue to live and dwell upon situations in your past? It’s okay to still be affected by the past. Some situations and relationships will take years and outside help to get over. Some may seem as though it is impossible to move past. Still, we can all try to “be conscious and make a choice of letting closure happen. Doing so will help you move forward to a new phase of life.”

This whole eight hour experience taught me that some people and situations you just have to let go of. Holding onto the past can also hold you back. You and I have to let go so we can grow and move forward with our lives. Sometimes closure is knowing you’ll never have answers to your questions or fully understand the situations or other people involved. Don’t get me wrong, it is okay to admit that something from the past still hurts. It is okay if it takes a while to come to terms with it, especially if it hasn’t been dealt with or handled properly. Still, we can make a conscious effort to understand it all and try not to let it heavily impact our present and future.