Give Yourself Power

Power. A concept I have come to realize is elusive in its entirety to myself and most likely 80%-90% of this blog’s audience.

When I decided that I was going to start a blog, I jumped feet first into the blogosphere. For years I had been following bloggers from a wide variety of categories– fashion, food, travel, lifestyle, etc. I felt consumed in this realm of content that left me feeling empty and wanting to live a life that was unattainable for my preferences and my resources.

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If It Were Just Fishing

Alas, my writing spirit has found me again. It has been a while since I sat down to write. This seems to be a pattern with me. One moment I am flooded with relatable ideas to talk about followed by months of a blank mind. Anyways, I am back…maybe…temporarily. Who knows?

Here is a fun fact: 99% of the pictures on my camera roll are me holding a fish, a fish in the water, screenshots of fish, or different fishing techniques. As odd as that may seem, it helps me. Yes, you read that right. Fishing helps me.

You see, I am a very anxious person. Not the anxious type who stresses about a big test or worries about the consequences of jumping out of an airplane. That would be a much more simple mindset to have. Unfortunately, my anxiousness extends far beyond the normal realm of activities or subjects to feel anxious about. Allow me to break this down for you. Anything, and i mean ANYTHING, that requires me to be within 5 miles from my comfort zone (either my house, or my family) I immediately go into a survival mode. There is not a second that goes by while I am hiking, driving, eating, thinking, or pretty much just breathing that I am not prepared for the worst possible thing that can happen to me. My palms break out into cold sweats, my heart feels like it will beat right out of my chest, my eyes become hazy with a sort of tunnel vision, and any ability I have to think multiple thoughts at a time goes out the window. Irrational thoughts race through my head 90 miles an hour. This includes me questioning over and over if I am about to get sick, where is the nearest bathroom, what if I were to get too far from a hospital, what if the hospital  I was closest too wasn’t any good, what if the person I am with just decides to leave me stranded, what if I lose my memory and cannot get back home, etc. The list goes on and on. So, you can imagine how hard it is to live a full and daring life when all. you. do. is. worry. about. every. single. thing.

However, one of my greatest coping skills is fishing. Given, the moments and preparation leading up to the actual act of casting my rod and trying to catch a fish are filled with the previously stated feelings of worry. But when I feel that first bite or snag that first fish, I forget about all of the worry. If it were just fishing, I would be able to sit patiently for hours without a bite. Perhaps I could travel long distances by myself to catch a rare sight. I could even stick my feet in the water a time or two to appreciate a sky of blue. Instead, I repeatedly consider the different types of bait in my head; considering which would be more effective and land the best fish. I say prayer after prayer that I can just make to the water. There have been times where I was minutes from my destination and I had to turn around and go back home because the anxiety became too much.

I recently had the opportunity to go fishing in Colorado. Oh, what an experience that was. The entire fifteen hour drive there I worried, I obsessed over my well-being. At one point I had even convinced myself I had melanoma and appendicitis due to a funny skin rash and pain in my side. Like, really Liz? After two days of hiking, dining, and exploring, the task of fishing the legendary San Juan River had come. I am down playing it when I say I was freaking out. I was having a full blown panic attack just seconds before it was time to meet up with the fly-fishing guide. I called my mom, I ran cold water on my face, I gave myself a pep-talk, I massaged the palms of my hands and base of my neck all in an attempt to calm down. It was just fishing. Fast forward an hour and thirty minutes later and I am standing on the banks of this beautiful river convincing myself that I cannot do it. For all I knew, the world’s largest river monster could open its gnarly mouth and only eat me and there was no phone service to let anyone know I was a goner. Thankfully, my boyfriend never left my side. He kept talking me down, hugging me, and telling me irrelevant stories to keep my mind busy. We were surrounded by roughly 15 other drifting boats full of people with no luck of catching a fish yet. So, against my anxious mind I stepped foot in the boat and we set out on our journey. Not even 10 minutes in, I felt a bite on my rod. For the first time that day I was actually glad to be out in nature doing something I love. Adrenaline surged through my body knowing I was probably the most inexperienced fly-fisher out there and I had just received the first bite. The next 8 hours of my life were spent drifting, casting, and catching. With help from the very experienced guide, my casting improved tremendously, as well as my overall knowledge.  Looking back now, I would not trade that experience for anything.

I spend almost every afternoon fishing. It is not just fishing for me. If it were just fishing, I would not enjoy my life as much as I am able to. Being able to look forward to something that calms me so much is more of a blessing than someone on the outside could comprehend. Its therapeutic to weigh options, assess water types, and practice different types of casts. I am so thankful to anyone who has helped me learn techniques or different types of fish. It gives me something to look forward to. It gives me a sense of hope because overcoming anxiety requires a lot of coping skills and thought processing. It also requires acceptance and open-mindedness. Fishing positions me right in the middle of nature. There I am surrounded by calm and quite beauty yet my heart can race not with the anticipation of doom, but the excitement of success. This is what I love. This is part of me. My advice to anyone who experiences anxiety would be to find something that challenges you and that you love. It can literally be anything. Then, set your mind on your ability to complete the task and completing it well. It is important to keep in mind that you must enjoy life. For the anxious mind, it can be incredibly hard to see the wonderful potential of the surrounding world. If you feel like giving up and succumbing to the overwhelming thoughts, fight. Fight with everything in you to find something fun, something beautiful, something worth smiling about.

With much love and appreciation,

Liz

What It’s Like to Let Someone Love You (Again)

It seems simple. You live life a little bit, you fall in love a time or two, that relationship ends, and you move on to someone new.

 

If only it were that simple.

Romantic comedies, love stories, and any other misconstrued depiction of how interpersonal relationships work leave out the gruesome section of reinventing yourself and having to break down wall after wall to that “new someone”. There may be many of you who have perfected this ritual, or perhaps you choose to stay walled up preventing yourself from getting hurt ever again. However, if you are anything like me, well, I know it sucks. I am a hopeless romantic; a true believer that without caring for one another the world would cease to exist as we know it. Dramatic? Cheesy? I know.

The task of letting someone in is no easy feat. It requires hours and hours of communication, second upon seconds of reassurance, and impacting moments that outweigh your every fear. Disheveled humans who have put their heart through some traumatic experiences know my reference to the word “fear”. It is not based around the possibility that someone will not like you. It is based on the notion that you will genuinely let someone get to know you, truly explore those hidden secrets and barely noticeable habits you possess, only to have them run as fast as they can in the other direction with no warning at all. Or maybe there was a warning but you were too busy actually believing in the person; so either way you were blindsided. There is also the possibility that you make progress in leaps and bounds until you suddenly remember instances from your past that left you crying, alone, to pick up the broken pieces yourself. (Keep in mind that it is in this chapter of your life you truly discover what you and your heart are made of. It lies beneath the endless snap-chats attempting to convince everyone you are perfectly okay. It requires you to dig deeper than the false smiles over coffee dates with your best friends and actually analyze your situation.)

Take the information I am about to say to heart…

Let the new person in.

Even if it scares you, even if they end up hurting you, even if every fiber of your being wants to run the other way like so many others have in the past…LET THEM IN. Spend hours upon hours telling them your every fear, spend every second of every day reassuring them that you notice they care enough to acknowledge your fears and hesitancy, and most certainly embrace the moments that, for a split second, cause you to smile or laugh. Oh gosh, I hope you get to experience that laugh that convinces you, you will have a six pack if you can ever stop.

Eventually, there will be someone who comes into your life, and wholeheartedly embraces you for every quirk and difficulty you possess. It might be in a month, it might be in a year and a half. It will also be when you least expect it.

Who knows, if you are the type of person who believes you do not need someone else to make you happy (which, you have a valid point and I agree with that perception); just know that your person could be in the form of a best friend, a companion, a pal to do life with. That is the beauty of humanity. We possess the ability to care about all different kinds of people in all different kinds of ways. You just have to allow yourself (and them) to do so!

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! Have a blessed and cheerful day!

With love,

Liz

 

If I Am Wrong, I Do Not Want To Be Right

Listen to me,

If there is one thing I know to be true, it is that time heals old wounds. It is believed that your scars make you beautiful. However, what happens when wounds do not heal? You can only form scars once something that used to hurt, heals. Maybe that is why we run, full of fear, in unknown directions chasing false happiness and attempting to occupy our mind so that we never have to face the brutality of reality. Reality sets in the minute we take a second to breathe and come to terms with the ugly truth. For instance, sometimes we do not always get to say good-bye. And even if we are given that opportunity, most take it for granted. Friends are fickle beings and your family might be too. It is nothing but a constant cycle of heart break if you are the person who constantly makes sure everything and everyone is okay. Yet, who is checking on you? Friends change, feelings change, and people change too. That is why it is imperative you remain true to yourself. If you find yourself encompassed in companionship that gives you butterflies in your stomach and leaves your cheeks aching at the end of each day, I encourage you to count your blessings. If you find yourself lying awake at 2 a.m. and all you can think about is someone who has not given you more than a second of a thought, think about yourself. Think about when you were little and you would dream about your future. Would you have dreamed for sleepless nights, an aching heart, and tear-stained pillows? Think about all that you have to offer. If you are reading this, if this applies to you, I pray to God that you realize your worth. Worth that is not based on grade point averages, likes on your Instagram picture, or the price of the clothing on your back. Worth comes from choosing what is right even if that is the hardest choice. Perhaps it is caring so much for other people even though you cannot remember the last time someone went out of their way to make your day a little better. Embrace who you are and everything you have to offer. It is hard to imagine that some day, you are going to wake up in the early hours of the morning with your hair a ratted mess and your eyes half open; only to realize that you are further along in your journey to happiness than you would have ever hoped. My gosh, I hope you wake up one morning next to the love of your life with your bodies intertwined and your hair messier than it has ever been. I hope your heart feels like it could burst from being filled with so much love and that together you know no day is a bad day because you have each other. I hope someday you are dancing around the tiles on your bathroom floor barefoot and giggling until your heart is content. I hope one day you are lying awake at 2 a.m. and instead of having tired eyes and tear-stained sheets it is because you are snuggled up re-watching your favorite movie for the thousandth time, just to hear their voice utter the quotes you already know by heart. I hope you find someone or some place to accept you because Lord knows you deserve it. I hope you find someone who chooses you every time. Even when it is not easy, or when it is scary, or when there are a billion other people to choose from but all they can see is you.

Learn to value yourself. If you do not value yourself, you cannot expect someone else to value you. Value the fact that you giggle when you are nervous. Maybe you laugh louder than anyone else in the same room or maybe you over think every second of every day. If you try your hardest to cook gourmet but your best result is bland mashed potatoes and burnt toast, value that too. You are who you are for a reason. Do not apologize for caring, letting someone know you miss them, sending a drunken heart-felt text at 3 am, or being honest with your feelings. Do not let someone who does not appreciate everything you have to offer, break you. Build yourself up. You have been strong enough to pull through countless obstacles thus far. Make yourself the sun and shine, oh let yourself shine.

If there are two things I know to be true, it is that time heals old wounds and those who set fourth in life courageous are the ones who find happiness. It takes courage to put yourself back out in the world once you have been hurt, broken, beat down, let down, embarrassed, or defeated. It is too easy to live your life in fear defending yourself with mannerisms that keep the world at arms length. I would encourage you to be afraid. Embrace every opportunity to overcome a fear, to allow yourself to heal, to love again, to rebuild relationships, to find and realize your worth, and to value yourself.

“Anyone who holds onto life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever…” John 12:25

“I have no home, no job, and my boyfriend is dead…”

Meet Theresa. She is a passport55 year old woman from Ontario, Canada who just recently retired and decided to travel the world. I met her as I was hiking today on Mountain Nebo. Conversation arose just after I was scaling down a winded, rocky path. From which I had started to slip and fall just as she was passing on the trail a few feet below me. It was as if out of no where I heard, “Oh, be careful now!” in an accent that was incredibly unfamiliar to me. Not paying much attention, I quickly hollered back that I  was okay when I glanced up and saw a tall, slender woman dressed in your typical hiking tank and boots, accessorized with a black backpack and water bottle. It took no time for me to notice that she was by herself.

“Are you by yourself?” I asked, out of breath and frankly- out of shape.

“Yes, actually I am on my way to Muskogee and decided to make a pit stop.”

Over the course of the next twenty minutes, me and my friend questioned and admired all that this woman had ventured to do just within the last 5 months. I was in awe at how she nonchalantly stated that she had just retired and decided to travel first the United States then Europe starting in mid-November. She began to elaborate how she is from Canada, retired from her job in California, and set off across the United States. For thirteen years she sat at a desk which she then stated “felt like shackles.”

At this point I really began to tune in to what she was saying. I shared with her how it was shocking that on her journey across this country she decided to make a pit stop in my home town. A town that is so often regarded as “small”, “a good-bye town”, and “boring.”  To this she responded that, “Arkansas is such a hidden treasure.” After several more question and moments of bewilderment, I finally got up the courage to ask her why; what her purpose for leaving her security blanket behind, and deciding to explore vast amount of the world. Her response?

“Me and my boyfriend actually had plans to explore the Ozarks and much of the rest of the world but now he is dead.” 

Just like that. She so abruptly dropped this heart-breaking news with a slight giggle, as if she did not quite believe this news herself. If I reflect on this exact moment, I am sure she saw my facial expression go from intrigue and happy to heartbroken and the beginning of tears. Here I was, meandering along and admiring this woman’s spontaneity when in reality, she’s enduring adventures meant to be spent with the man she loved. And in doing so, she was sporting a smile and a positive attitude that was contagious.

Let me just add a side note that I could have talked to Ms. Theresa all day. We exchanged apps that aid in the traveling experience and she quickly gave me a few tips from her experience thus far (I had previously told her that I intend to travel as well). Trying to be polite, I wrapped up our conversation by asking what she intended to do after she finished traveling, or did she plan to live the nomadic lifestyle from here on out.

Prepare yourself…

Her response was,” I have no home, no job, and my boyfriend is dead. I have family all over that I have not really gotten a chance to visit so after all of this, I guess I will just buy a van. I don’t really have much to go back to. I am figuring things out as I go and I am not really sure where I go from here.” 

Yet again, I stood frozen in shock and amazement. To endure such adversity yet still be able to have the courage to try something new,  is inspiring to say the least. Quite often have I ventured up the mountain for many reasons, but never have I left with such an eye-opening experience. That whole cliche of “Life is short, Live it to the fullest”? Yeah, not so much of a cliche after all. After this unexpected conversation, I realize the true value in many things. For instance, tell people how you feel while you have the chance. Perhaps the biggest risk is not telling someone how you feel while you still have the chance. Also, take time for yourself. If someday you wake up and you are 55 with nothing to lose (or everything to lose) and you aren’t happy, make the necessary changes. Even if that means those changes are scary as can be. Take every opportunity to network and strike up conversations with a welcomed face…You never know how much perspective you will gain. Last but not least, always enjoy God’s creation. That, in itself, is life changing.

 

Letting Go: The Liberation

dardanelle-rock

Hello fellow bloggers, viewers, and friends. I must say it has been quite some time since I have sat down to add my thoughts to this page; and by some time I mean an entire summer. Life is just funny like that. One minute you feel this passion and excitement that inspires thousands of thoughts. Then, the next minute you enter this emotionally suppressed grey area that diminishes expressive elements within a mind. Nonetheless, I am with a restless mind and a million thoughts to share.

I have just recently returned to school and in doing so I have been presented with several emotions. As Fall rolls around I am always filled with this sense of a new beginning. How odd, right? I mean, it is not even January 1st and here I am feeling re-birthed.  The beauty within this so called fresh feeling is that with it comes inspiration, concentration, and liberation. It is also the beginning of a season, a semester, and hopefully new friendships.

How easy is it for routine and responsibility to reek havoc on our mindset, well-being, and relationships? Here we are about to endure  restless routine that leave us feeling nothing short of exhausted. As if being exhausted, over-worked, and over-stressed was not enough, life decides to throw in an extra side of butt kicking because the misfortunes of your already bad day(s) just were not enough. Perhaps your boss cut your pay, your professor gives a horrid pop-quiz, or your “supporters” are actually only there for themselves. Great. This might be a typical day in our predisposed hustle and bustle lifestyle. And with this lifestyle comes a heavy, excruciating pain that we carry emotionally and on our shoulders. After all, we all expect ourselves to be super human.

Here is where life gets really tricky though. There is this action, a choice per say, that I believe we sometimes forget is an option. That option would be called ‘letting go’. Let go of that emotional baggage causing you to toss and turn in a cold, empty room. Let go of the anger you feel for being let down time after time with your own expectations, by the ones you needed the most, or the ones you cherished the most. Let go of the negativity that confines yourself to that grey area we all so desperately try to avoid.

“Whoever continually humbles himself to become like this gentle child is the greatest one in Heaven’s kingdom realm” Mathew 13:3. Ask yourself as to why is it that we so perilously hold on to the things that are slowing tearing us apart and breaking the foundation of who we truly are. Within both life and faith, there is always a need for letting go. Liberate yourself from what you can not control, the fear of the unknown, and this self-created mentality that causes us to “beat our self up” for not being perfect. Ambiguity can be a beautiful thing, my friends. Take a stand for yourself. Sometimes, it is necessary to distance yourself from the noise, business, and knowing. We are insatiably curious, resilient, and loving creatures. Let us not be restrained in the grasps of any one thing that prompts us to be anything less. Seek fortitude, liberation is sure to follow.