Don’t Worry, I Haven’t Gone Anywhere

I’m tired.

I’m not drowning. I’ve been drowning before, been so low below water that I had to struggle to keep my head up, but that’s not me right now. Right now, the water is safely pooled around my calves, the current most certainly pressing against me but not sweeping me away. I’ll be fine. Once I gather my strength a little bit, I’ll be able to walk right on out of here. So, I’m not drowning.

I’m not empty. I don’t feel nothing. I’m smiling and joking around and enjoying things still.

I’m not dead yet, I’m just tired. I just need a small rest. That’s all.

I’m unmotivated. I’m uncharacteristic; the Type A, hyper-ambitious bitch has been reduced to a motionless lump, in such a way that usually accompanies depression, but this time, I’m not depressed. This time, I’m just tired.

And ‘tired’ I can deal with. Tired is okay. Tired will pass. Tired had better pass, or I might have to do something about it.

I’m not done yet. I’m still here, I haven’t given up. I just need a break. I just need a direction. I just need some change.

I’m thinking. I’m planning. I may be a motionless lump, but I won’t be forever. And when it passes, I’ll be a force to be reckoned with, as always.

I’m still the same Type A, hyper-ambitious bitch you know and love. For now, I’m just tired.

 

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Healing From Pain: The Limitations of Empathy

I was raised to see everyone empathetically.

I was raised to believe that, if you knew someone’s story, their whole story, you would love them.

And, you know what? I still do believe that.

I believe that no one acts with the express purpose of causing harm and making the world worse off unless they are extremely hurt people who are acting out of pain or anger. I believe that everyone, end of day, wants to make the world a better place, wants to do good and help people, but sometimes they fall short because of ignorance, or mental illness (not to imply that everyone who has a mental illness will do nothing but harm in their lives; that most certainly isn’t the case).

I believe that the person who hurt me most in this world did not want to or intend to hurt me, but wound up doing it because he did not know better, and he did not have the capability to question what he was doing. I believe that, if he was able to fully comprehend what he has done to me, he would feel terrible about it.

But that being said, as much as I believe all of this, there is another side to all of this that still needs to be discussed.

Because the thing is, when someone has hurt us, especially when the pain is still raw and new, their intentions can only matter so much. And constantly taking their intentions into account does pose the risk of making the healing process that much harder for us.

I have known many people who have been hurt by people that they love, people that they know and understand, and so even when all is said and done and the two part ways, the survivor still does not want to come forward or confront their pain because they do not want to hurt the aggressor by doing so.

I have known many people who have been hurt by someone deeply, irrevocably, and yet they were so constantly bombarded with questions of, “but how could they have done anything? They’re such a good guy!” or “I’m sure they didn’t mean it; have you tried looking at it from their point of view?” that, eventually, they started to question their own perception of things. Maybe they’re right; maybe I am being unfair. Maybe I made it all up in my head, maybe they didn’t really do anything all that wrong. Maybe this is somehow my fault.

And as I said, I fully, truly believe that nobody is entirely evil and worthless. But sometimes, when you’re trying to cope with pain, you might need to forget that to a certain extent. Maybe you need to see things as black-or-white in order to heal.

Because when all we can see is how hard this is for them, how much they are losing because of their actions, it becomes more difficult for us to move on. If we feel guilty for our anger and pain, then we do not allow these natural emotions to run their course. If we become stuck in this idea that we were the ones who acted wrong (because, obviously, they didn’t mean it), then we never show them how their actions were wrong, and they never change or grow.

And, yes, in a perfect world, we would be able to accept that they did us wrong, but they are only human and they did it because of a very human fallacy. And maybe someday, we will be able to come to that conclusion and find comfort in it. But when the pain is still fresh, when we are still trying to sort through all of these messy emotions and we are still in the thick of dealing with it, maybe we need to separate ourselves from them a little bit, so that we may protect ourselves.

Now, that’s not to say that we should completely and totally discard them as worthless human beings, and that’s not to say that we use our pain to justify hurting other people. All that I am trying to say is that, while we should remain aware that they are a human being who deserves all the dignity and respect that the simple act of being human affords one, there is nothing wrong with separating ourselves from someone, even with hating them while the pain is fresh, if that is what you need to do to heal.

If hating them makes you realize that what they did wasn’t right and that you deserve better, then hate them. If hating them helps you heal and grow and get yourself out of a bad situation, then hate them. Do not feel guilty for putting yourself first when you need to, and do not feel like you are wrong for how you feel.

And hopefully someday that pain might become a little less fresh. Hopefully we’ll be able to see things from their perspective, to forgive them, not for their sake, but for our own peace of mind. Hopefully we’ll come to understand eventually that they were not pure evil, that they simply did the best that they could with what understanding they had at the time. But for the time being, do what you need to do to protect yourself, so that you may eventually reach that glorious “someday”.

 

What I Learned From Eating Healthy

About two years ago, I decided that I wanted to eat healthy and lose weight. I thought that it would all be fairly straight-forward. Eating healthy, I thought, was nothing more than whole wheat bread, meat and veggies – nothing too complicated about that. But as it turns out, especially if your goal is losing weight, there are a lot of conflicting messages about what healthy eating is. Everyone is an expert, and everyone promises that their method works the best, so it’s really difficult to know for sure what’s true and what’s a lie.

And right off the bat, I’m going to admit that I am not an expert. I have not gone to school for nutrition, but I have lost fifty pounds by changing my diet and exercising regularly. And that is all that I am drawing on here: experience. Experience, and a desire to help people sort through the conflicting messages that are available online.

So, without further ado, here are the things that I have learned from eating healthy.

1) Different things work for different people

This might be one of the most important points. When searching advice for healthy eating, you’ll find a lot of the same questions: “Is cheese okay?” “Is a vegan diet better for you?” “Can I still eat breads?”

And here is my answer, from my own experience eating healthy and listening to other people: different things work for different people.

For example, there are some people who will claim with die-hard conviction that you will feel a million times better if you eliminate bread from your diet. But when I did it, a good three months later I was sitting in class, unable to focus on the lecture because I was too busy watching the girl in front of me eat a sandwich. I went just a little bit delirious, fantasizing about that little bit of tortilla that comes at the beginning of a taco. Eventually, I decided that it just wasn’t worth it, and I went back to eating 100% whole wheat bread, and I haven’t had any problems since.

Some people believe that a plant-based diet is better than anything. Some people physically cannot live without meat. Some people say that cheese is terrible for you. Others say that it’s a great source of protein, and a good way to bulk up your calories if you’re looking to gain muscle. It’s all very individual, and you need to work through different diets to figure out which one works the best for you.

And the same goes for how you eat too, not just what you eat. When I first started eating healthy, I was told that the best method for doing so was to eat small meals every two to three hours, because it keeps your metabolism up. I cannot imagine any other way of eating, because I find that, every two to three hours, I start to get a little bit hangry. Yet, I have heard many alternatives to that theory. I hear that it’s best to eat within a small window between, say, noon to eight p.m. I hear that it’s best to eat one large meal and small snacks throughout the day. I hear that it’s best not to eat at all, just drink water or tea or some sort of detoxifying concoction. And I’m not saying that these methods do not work for some people; I’m just saying that they wouldn’t work for me. And that’s okay. We are all different, and all of our bodies need different things. We just need to find out what works for us.

2) You can still eat many of your favourite foods – you just need to substitute

Ever since I was little, muffins have been one of my favourite treats. They’re a comfort food, and have been ever since my mom would bring them home for me when she got off of work. And as much as I can’t (regularly) eat store-bought muffins now, I can still make them at home with substituted ingredients. Using oat flour and honey rather than sugar, I can make blueberry muffins, gingerbread muffins, even double chocolate chip muffins if I want, and I can enjoy them daily without guilt.

And muffins are not the only treat that you can do this with. For example, you can make great healthy tacos using lean beef and whole wheat tortillas. You can make your own pizzas using whole wheat pitas or whole wheat tortillas or whatever you can think up. Heck, you can even eat chocolate, as long as you can get used to the taste of dark chocolate (and your tastes will change after a period of eating healthy. Honestly, I think I eat more chocolate now than I ever used to).

Pretty much any meal that you can think of has its healthy alternatives. You can buy pasta made out of brown rice or vegetables, you can make flour out of oats or almonds. And the internet is a great resource for looking this stuff up. You can do a Google search for healthy alternative recipes, and you will find a whole variety, many of them fairly inexpensive.

3) If you want some solid advice, just try to eat natural

There are so many companies nowadays that claim that their product is the best. Because their bread is low calorie, that means that its a healthy alternative to your typical bread. The problem with that is, in their attempt to make it low calorie, they stuffed it full of so many chemicals that, as much as you can most certainly digest it, it really isn’t all that good for your body.

It is so much better for you to just eat foods that come naturally. Fruits, vegetables, farm-raised meats, natural sugars like honey or molasses or maple syrup. All of these are so much healthier for you than the products companies push to help you lose weight.

Now, I say try to eat natural because, in our day and age, it isn’t always easy. GMO apples are much cheaper to buy than organic apples, and meats from animals that never saw the sun and were fed a diet of chemicals are cheaper than farm-raised meats. Every once in a while, something’s got to give, and maybe it’s better to accept the chemicals than it is to not have enough to make next month’s rent. But that being said, when you can eat natural, it is always the best alternative.