Self-Care

Do you ever just have a bad mental health day where everything stresses you out and you can’t seem to get a minute to catch your breath and you want to cry but not around other people? Yeah, been there.

I started off 2019 on a high note.  This is the year I am gonna conquer the world. Nothing can take me down.  2019 is MY year.

And in a lot of ways, I still believe these things.  2019 has been good to me thus far.  But I am no longer feeling invincible.  In fact, I am very vincible. Self-care is harder than it sounds and I’m not that good at it.  Like anything worth doing, it takes practice and determination. You have to practice loving yourself when you are the most unlovable.

There are a million posts like this out there.  But where’s the harm in one more.  Mental health is vital to living a full, happy, and successful life. So here is what self-care is, from the perspective of yours truly.

sleeping-1476274-640x480

Self-care is going to bed at 9 o’clock even when your friends aren’t because you’re tired and need sleep.

Self-care is getting up at 5 or 6 AM so you have time to go for a run and shower and eat breakfast before work.

Self-care is letting yourself take the day off if you cannot emotionally handle the thought of your workplace at the moment.

Self-care is putting on your work clothes, putting on a bold lipstick, cracking your knuckles and marching out the door even though you don’t want to because capitalism isn’t gonna take you down without a fight.

Self-care is paying your bills as soon as you receive them.

Self-care is silencing your phone and sitting down with your favorite tea and a good book.

Self-care is not checking your phone fifty times a day waiting for a text.

Self-care is spending time working on a hobby.

Self-care is a long hot bubble bath, whether after a long day, or because you want to on your day off.

Self-care is doing a homemade facemask in your kitchen.

Self-care is saying no to an invitation simply because you don’t feel like going.

Self-care is calling up a friend to hang out because you need to get out of the house.

Self-care is putting on an apron, tying back your hair, and doing much needed housework.

Self-care is staying hydrated.

Self-care is spending at least 15 minutes in silence, not doing anything but breathing and existing and maybe praying every day.

Self-care is putting distance between yourself and that person who drains you emotionally.

Self-care is letting yourself cry.

Self-care is showering regularly, keeping your hair and nails trimmed, and wearing clothes you like.

Self-care is eating filling and nutritious meals to keep yourself energized throughout the day.

Self-care is eating your favorite dessert while watching the Office for the sixteenth time because you’re sad and it makes you feel better.

Self-care is going to therapy when you need it, and finding someone to talk to.

Self-care is writing down everything that’s making you feel sad, and a few reasons to be happy.

Self-care is starting a blog to talk about your feelings when there isn’t really anyone to talk to.

Self-care is baking cookies for your loved ones.

Self-care is asking for a hug when you need one.

 

There are a lot of things that count as self-care. I can’t speak for other periods in history, but it seems these days that anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem are affecting the majority of people in recognizable ways.  Please take care of yourselves.  Work hard every day to be the best version of you that you can be.

Stay strong, beautiful.  This too shall pass.

 

-A.P.S.

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It is Better to Have Loved and Lost than to Have Never Loved At All

Since renaming my blog ‘There’s a Crack in My Rose-Colored Glasses’, my posts have actually become rather, well, rosy.  I’m a happy individual by nature, and I want to share the beauty I see with others.  Life is difficult but good.  But I can also have some rather dark thoughts.

I don’t just mean my tendency to laugh at 9/11 jokes or my quickness to think of the most gruesome ways my D&D half-orc barbarian can kill people with her bare hands.  I have struggled with depression in the past, and although it had a lot to do with my living situation and where I was spiritually, it was also because my mind goes to dark places.  This is partly due to my overzealous heart.  If you read my last post, ‘Heartstrings’, you may have a bit of an idea of how much I care about everything.  When I see the steaming mess that is our world: homelessness, suicide, gay pride, racism, bitterness, greed, consumerism, school shootings, abortion, discord among families, betrayal, divorce, lies, child abuse, cancer, and so so so much more, my heart is heavy indeed, and if I do not focus on Christ I slip very easily into despair.  So here is a peek, my dear reader, through the crack in my rose-colored glasses.

Is it truly better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?  So say the wise, and when I was younger I believed it.  It made sense.  Love is what makes us human, and with love comes pain.  The more you care, the more it hurts when those you love are hurt or lost.  There are different variations on love, but all that I mention here are facets of True Love, the setting aside of one’s own needs and wants to make way for another’s; the altruistic φιλία love that makes us willing to sacrifice even our lives to save our loved ones.

Anyway, I came to question the adage after I truly, deeply fell in love for the first time.  I won’t go into detail here, but in short: it didn’t work out, we rarely saw each other, and I was afraid to hurt him and I blamed myself for “leading him on” although my feelings were genuine and I had only told him the truth.  The point came where he told me something and I knew it was a dealbreaker.  For another year, I was in denial.  I was in pain.  I layed awake at night crying and missing him.  I would think off him sometimes while working and the stab in my chest would cause me to murmur his name, as though to summon him to me, to take back what he said, to comfort me and to be there.  I didn’t tell him things weren’t going to work out, because things were never official between us.  The heart-twisting, mind-crushing, terrible terrible pain I had in this were what caused me to doubt that it was better to have loved and lost.  I wished I had never fallen in love with the guy.  I wished I could take back the love-emails I had sent him, so as not to risk his heart.  To hurt myself was bad enough, but I think it was compounded by the fact that I might end up utterly crushing him as well.  Of course, one might argue that I learned and grew from this experience, and I did. I just would prefer learning lessons in a way that doesn’t break my heart.

The pain of loss is hardly peculiar to romantic love, but I suppose that it is the one I’ve experienced the most, other than friends moving away or a friendship simply drifting apart.  Which does really hurt, but I can still reconnect with most of those people.  They aren’t dead and we don’t have any feuds.  But when I see parents mourning a child who has died far too young, I imagine that their pain must be beyond imagining, and no parent should have to go through that.  Is loving someone really worth the absolute torment when they are parted from us?

I want to question whether there can be a separation between love and attachment.  If you accept every person, place, and thing in your life as transitory, can you healthily embrace the Jedi philosophy of being compassionate to all; that is loving unconditionally, but not growing attached?  Is attachment a natural and good result of love or is it a human weakness?  Perhaps, it is better to have loved and let go, so that your love may continue peacefully in your heart indefinitely and you needn’t feel the pain that accompanies the losing.  Is this a real thing?  Will you still hurt for the sake of loving a person even if you can easily let go?  These things are all rather beyond me.

I only know that I’m scared.  I am so scared to fall in love again and make myself vulnerable to pain. I’ve never had to attend the funeral of anyone who I was really close to, but again, I can’t imagine losing my parents, my siblings, my close friends.  I don’t want to lose them, and I’m scared that if I do I won’t be able to handle it.  Pain is a part of the fallen human condition and suffering can bring about salvation, but is this level of emotional pain necessary?

Readers, I put the question to you, in the hopes you can give me an alternative perspective on this topic:  Is it better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?  And is love separable from attachment?

 

Thank you for reading.  God bless!

 

Anneliese

Heartstrings

I reach out

The tendrils, vines, my heartstrings

Stretching, reaching out

I shout

but it is really no more than a murmur

Undectable in the fuzzy screen of time.

I climb

My muscles contort bizarrely though I cling

I sing

My peculiar melody stands out and I am derided

Men confided

I heard them, and lent mine arm under theirs.

Up the stairs

My heart-tendrils reach and stretch

and try to grow

but no.

Seven vile oceans on the landing

whirl madly and press me down.

I drown.

No kindly fishermen to save me,

like clement kings

My heartstrings

Wrap about my body and my battered heart

And buoy me to shore.

No more.

My tangled vines bid farewell

and releasing me, decease.

I am at peace.

‘Neath balmy sunset I walk

forever. I needn’t shout, my song is heard

In Perfect Harmony with all the others.

My brothers

lift me up, we speak of joyful things,

My heartstrings

Fade in my memory like paint in the sun

but I know they saved me in the end.

 

–APS

 

 

 

Not to be used without permission.

Mother’s Day Thoughts

I have learned over my lifetime that few people deserve as much respect as mothers.  The pain they go through: giving birth to us, raising us, watching us go off and wilfully make dumb decisions; they deserve so much credit and so many salutes.

I’ve learned to be in awe of the portly middle-aged ladies who have soft hands, loud voices, and a knowing seen-it-all look in their eyes.  They are champions, because they have raised good and successful children.

I am inspired by the young mothers with glowing skin who are on their second or third child and busy themselves cooking nutritious food for their offspring and husband.

Here’s to the mothers who had their hearts broken over and over again by a negative preganancy test or who, once pregnant, suffered miscarriages and could never seem to bring their baby to term.  God bless you, especially those of you who adopted children who certainly needed you as much as you needed them.

Let us drink to our grandmothers, who cooed over us as infants and spoiled us when our parents weren’t looking, and later on taught us to crochet, to not care what people think, or to make the BEST chicken ‘n’ dumplins.

Full respect for the single mothers who fought the world to make raising their children as good, functioning people the priority and who worked crappy jobs just to make ends meet.

Shoutout to the godmothers who faithfully pray for their godchildren and work hard to be an example and a supportive mentor for them.

To my own mother: I think the world of you and admire you so much. Thanks for raising me to not be ridiculous and to respect others.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support you’ve given me over the years, above and beyond what I required.

Happy Mothers’ Day, moms.  You are great warriors without medals or trophies, and I love you all.

Peace,

Anneliese

It’s Pascha

Christ is Risen!

For the first time in my life, I was able to take Holy Week off from everything else and spend it going to church every day.  Having my own car is kind of amazing.

So I did it all: Bridegroom Matins, Pre-Sanctified Liturgy, Holy Unction, the 12 Passion Gospels, and everything else that is entailed in an Orthodox Holy Week.  It was exhausting, challenging, at times downright painful, and 100% totally worth it.  The services are beautiful and have depth and meaning not often found in this world.  It went quickly though, and now it is the Feast of feasts, Pascha, Easter, the Great Passover, the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I highly, highly, highly recommend everyone experience Orthodox Pascha at least once in her life.

I left my parish’s Agape picnic but a few hours ago.  These folks really know how to party, and I love them more than words can tell.  There’s always a little sadness at leaving the picnic, because unless you’re fortunate enough to have a super flexible schedule or to be a monastic, this means a return to the ordinary flow of life.  Tomorrow I shall be inquiring, “And would you like fries or tots?” while my mind wants to yell jubilantly to my customers, “Christ is Risen!” (Side note, I have discovered that driving with the windows rolled down and blaring “We Are the Champions” is a huge mood boost.)

But it is Bright Week, and my heart is full and I have much to look forward to.  And there are some things I fear, but time and prayer are their only cure at this point.  I hope everyone who reads this finds some time to be at peace this week.  To be quiet in the soul, and to be okay.

God bless!

Some Stuff

Here I am, on a Thursday night, jazzed up on coffee because I’ll be fasting until the pre-sanctified Liturgy at noon tomorrow and I don’t want a caffeine headache.  I have neglected this blog for many months, and I don’t feel bad about it.  It’s not like I have readers.

I turned 18 last month, so that’s a thing.  I’m going to college this fall. Strange to think that I’ve had this blog since I was 14.  I’ve grown so much since I started it.  I still work out, I’m still single, and I still dream of becoming a fantasy author.

I want to start writing on here more often, and I don’t necessarily need my posts to be political or mind-blowing or controversial.  I want to write about things that make me happy.  I might even work up the nerve to post poetry, though I’ve always avoided that in the past because I was paranoid about it being stolen.

So, since this is kind of (but not really because I won’t commit) an “I am back” post, I’m going to share some links that have impressed me lately or that I’ve really liked.

1. Darebee: Fitness on Your Terms.  I discovered darebee a few weeks ago whilst searching for nerdy/geek-themed workouts.  It’s really neat-o because there are countless programs and workouts to choose from for people on all different physical levels.  Plus, they are infographics, so your pace and your music are completely up to you, unlike with workout videos.  Don’t get me wrong; there are some great workout vids out there that I really enjoy (blogilates!!) but the bubbly pop music isn’t my favorite.  Maybe I enjoy working out to Fall Out Boy or intense battle music.  And darebee gives me that opportunity.  AND they have story-driven workout programs, which is perfecting for motivating your friendly neighborhood indoorswoman to work up a sweat.

2. Personalized Shampoo & Conditioner. Now, I just found this today, and I don’t have the money for it anyway.  But LOOK.  You can take short hair quiz to determine everything you want from your hair care products to get your ideal formula.  You can then choose a scent (or leave it unscented) and a color.  You can even decide how much dye you want them to put in to change the shade of the goop! AND YOU CAN PUT YOUR NAME ON IT. I definitely want to try this someday when I have cash to spare.

3. Amon Sul podcast: This brings my Tolkienite heart much delight. There are hundreds of podcasts, blogs, vlogs, Facebook pages, and documentaries devoted to examining the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.  There are even quite a few looking from an Orthodox perspective.  But Amon Sul is new and I’m hooked.  The first few episodes have made me cry, laugh, and look at certain story elements under a different light.  So wholesome.  And it provides fodder for more Tolkien conversation with my Tolkienite, Orthodox brothers and sisters at church.  Recommend. (:

Overall, I’m doing well.  I’ll post something else soon.  Whoever’s reading this, I hope your well and living your best life.

Ciao,

Anneliese

High School is Hard

Images and memes like this trigger me.

congratulations-high-school-graduates

Because these are complete and utter bullshit. High school is hard.

school-sucks

Look, from a mature, adult perspective, maybe school is easy. If you were thrown in the middle of high school right now, you would probably be fine, because you’ve been there. You have years of experience, you’ve seen the other side of the tunnel, and you know that life is more complicated past high school. You pay bills and do taxes and rock your adulthood (sometimes). And you think that high school students are carefree and can’t see past the moment, and don’t realize how hard adulthood actually is. Fine.

But these high school students are not 35 year-olds who have 9-5 jobs and mortgage and spouses.  These are hormonal, inexperienced teenagers, who are still trying to find their place in the world.

  • The percentage of high school students who reported thinking seriously about attempting suicide in the past year is on the rise, after falling substantially during the 1990s and 2000s, reaching almost one-fifth of students in 2015 (18 percent).    –childtrends.org

High school will likely be the most difficult thing children have experienced up to that point in their lives.  Saying derogatory things about how easy kids these days have it creates intergenerational conflict and is just plain hurtful to those millions of teenagers who struggle just to make it through each day.  Are you saying stuff like this to make yourself feel important or wise?  Is it working?

Also, high school today is a vastly different experience than say, high school in 1986. There was a whole other set of difficulties in the ’80’s, but the advent of social media has made it sooo easy to have unrealistic expectations of what life should be and to become discouraged or frustrated when reality doesn’t live up to the celebrity instagram portrayal.  I won’t even get into cyberbullying.

My point is, life is not easy. For anyone. It isn’t even easy for celebrities, as you may have realized by the number of deaths due to cancer or drug overdoses.  We each are fighting different battles, and it doesn’t matter what age you are, or how you confront (or avoid) your problems.  We are all suffering in one way or another.

So be understanding, supportive, and kind, not judgemental or condescending.  Celebrate the hell out ofyour high school graduation, because you made it, and not everyone does.  And to the rest of you: Teenagers are people too.

 

Respect one another.

Peace Out,

Signed– Your fellow homo sapien.

The Cost of Education is in My Way

I have recently become enamored by Boston University, which I stumbled upon on Cappex.

It seems perfect for me in every way; reputable academics, nice location, beautiful campus, etc.     But (with the assistance of my mother) we calculated the cost of attendance, and even with financial aid, it comes out $58,000 a year. That’s insane.  Of course, I am going to contact them and ask questions. Perhaps that is just counting institutional aid.

It’s distressing to me because I have been a good student through three years of high school. My GPA is roughly 3.9 and I made a 29 on my ACT. Nothing extraordinary, but decently above average. BU isn’t even Ivy League. The cost of education is preposterous and doesn’t make sense.

I’ll probably just end up going to a state school, and I will probably end up liking it. I’ll take a semester abroad my junior year and not stress over cost because it will still be less than Boston University. I’m just sad right now.

Yes, I’m whining again. So sorry.

 

Can Men and Women be “Just Friends”?

I want to know why this is a debate. Because to me, the answer is simple: of course.

But a lot of people disagree with me on this, and swear that if a man and woman are “just friends” either they’re lying or one of them is gay.  My dad says that women can view plenty of guys as friends, but a male will rarely if ever engage in a friendship with a female he wasn’t romantically or sexually interested in.

But then how do you explain inter-sibling relationships, or the way you feel towards your opposite sex cousins? Most people are not romantically attracted to close relatives. We know there is a boundary there. And yet we can be really close to those people and call them friends. So why can’t that work in general? If you know a girl/guy is off limits, you should be able to look at them platonically. And sometimes I think this involves a conscious choice not to act on an attraction. There will always be that time when one of them internally questions whether or not they could be more than friends. And if the friend resists these thoughts, I fully believe that the friendship will thrive and become deeper.

It’s good to have friends. And male-female friendships have a unique value in letting both parties see into the other’s mind and perhaps grasp a greater understanding of the opposite sex.

I really want to know more people’s opinion on this, so drop a comment and let me know your thoughts.

 

My YouTube sources:

Also, since school is out, I’m going to try to make more posts, but no promises because I’m lazy and Skyrim exists.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Review

CONTAINS SPOILERS

Today I sat in the local mall, sipping a butter pecan cappuccino and being vaguely aware of a man in a blue shirt conducting job interviews about 30 ft away.  I was finishing The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.  I know it was published in 1999, so it’s not exactly hot-off-the-press, but I knew very little about it less than a week ago, until my friend whom I have yet to assign a pseudonym to thrust it into my hands and ordered me to read it. This is my impression.

The Perks of being a Wallflower  is an easy read, and is told in letters from the protagonist, Charlie. Every letter begins with “dear friend”, and ends with “love always, Charlie”. The identity of the friend is never given, and I personally interpreted them as being addressed to me, the reader. The book tells of Charlie’s first year in high school and is divided into four parts.

Charlie is a highly sensitive, highly intelligent 15 year-old. From the beginning it is apparent that he has some deep emotional issues. He doesn’t receive much affection from his family, and he is anxious and afraid of almost everything. Despite all of this, he has a kind heart and genuinely wishes everyone to be happy. He misses his aunt Helen, who was one of the only people who treated him like he was special. We later find out that Helen sexually abused Charlie, who had apparently locked away those particular memories of her. Soon after school begins, Charlie meets Sam and Patrick, seniors who are siblings by marriage, and they soon become friends. Charlie instantly has a huge crush on Sam, and I kind of want to explore this.

Sam may be the most interesting character of the lot, and I don’t mean that in a very positive way. Soon after she and Charlie are acquainted, Charlie approaches her and confesses that he had a dream they were naked together. Charlie begins to cry and apologizes. Sam sort of just laughs it off. She did however, tell him that she was too old for him and that he must not think about her in that way. However, near the end of the book, she essentially contradicts herself and tells Charlie that by not going for what he wants and doing what he wants to do, he is not being honest with himself or his friends.

“You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love.”

I feel like this whole little scene was supposed to be one of the most poignant parts of the book, but when Charlie takes his friends advice and proceeds to kiss her, she tries to initiate sex with him. I understand that a lot can happen in nine months, but Sam had just gone through an emotional break up and she was about to head for college. She had no business screwing around with a freshman whom she had previous told not to think of her “like that”. And aside from this advice at the end of the book, she really gave Charlie very little. Sure, she was nice to him. She encouraged him when she wasn’t busy with other things.  Whereas Charlie spent much time and energy trying to please Sam and to be there for her.  I can’t be the only one who thought this. Bashing aside, I understand that she was molested as a child and that she is a complex female character, which is a rarity.

I’m really too lazy to go through all of my thoughts on this book, so I’ll just cover one more thing. Charlie’s relationship with music. He seems to have a broad musical taste, even though a lot of it seems to be in the vein of Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac.  I believe Chbosky used Charlie’s taste in music as an extra way of fleshing out the character. Charlie likes music that says something (can relate!) and has a knack for finding the right song for a situation or time.  He obtains most of his favorite songs from his friends, and nostalgically links nearly every song with an event, person, or time period. I like this.

The Perks of being a Wallflower is definitely not on my top 20. I think this is partially because I have never been in the public school system and all of my friends have high morals and obey the law. I cannot relate to Charlie. I have experienced a small amount of sexual abuse from a close family member, which I didn’t realize until I was older, but I seem to have coped fairly well. Anyway, I would recommend this book for most teens and young adults, because it can be revealing of the complexities of teenage life. Now I am off to watch the movie.