Welcome to the September Issue. If I may speak from my heart for a moment: I want to quickly say that on my page, on my YouTube, and in my overall life, I value authenticity. Some people are uncomfortable with authenticity, some people are uncomfortable with the things I say, some people are uncomfortable with my personality and my strength, and some are uncomfortable with the topics I speak on. This includes family members, friends, and strangers.
I know full well what it means to be in the public eye: from trolls telling me I should kill myself or calling me derogatory names, to family members concerned with my well being and talking to my parents, to friends telling me that I shouldn't speak out because what I say is not often popular opinion, I know that I put myself in the line of attack.
Just because that happens doesn't mean that I will stop being authentic, it won't stop me from telling the truth, and it won't stop me from writing my own narrative. I am an adult, I make the choices I make because I made them, and I am fully willing to take responsibility for the things I say. The cause of my anxiety, stress, depression, and eating disorder was all from choices I chose to make- yes, maybe it can be triggered by people, however I chose to allow anxiety, depression, stress, and an eating disorder take over my life for far to long, and I won't allow that to be my narrative.
To family, friends, and newcomers, I want you to know that I appreciate the concerns you may have. I will not stop being authentic. I will not stop telling the truth. I will not stop telling my story just because it makes you feel uncomfortable. For me, I don't care about how I am perceived or what my image looks like. There are too many pretenders, too many liars, and too many people who live in fear, and I kindly refuse to be one of these people. I have no ego to worship and my prayer is that my pride is not something that gets in the way of my morals.
I am who I am, and I'm sorry if who I am makes you uncomfortable. The joy of living is in the choices we make- it sets us on the path of a future we do not know. If you wish to continue journeying with me in authenticity and in truth, then I am happy to be with you. Thankfully, just because we may disagree, we can still love each other through it all. However, if it is too uncomfortable to you, please feel free to not read, watch, or be apart of this platform.
I love you all, and I am thankful for the support you have shown over the years. I am incredibly grateful for the feedback and the insight I've been given by so many people since 2016. Thank you.
And now, back to the regular program.
GOD TALK | HOW TO WIN THE WAR WE'RE UP AGAINST
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Last month I released a video called, Being A Pastor's Kid, and I want to say 1), thank you so much for all the wonderful feedback. 2), I want to preface this with, if you saw that video, you'll know that my personal relationship with God is very important to me, and I work every day to keep a constant connection with Him in my daily life. With that, here we go:
One of my quarantine buddies picked me up a few weeks ago to hang out for a bit and work together. We were chatting in the car about nothing in relation to God or anything godly, and I very clearly heard, "The devil doesn't know the future." It hit me in mid conversation and was very powerful, it weighed on me for several days.
I have talked about my anxiety and depression story, how it often came and went and how sometimes I felt a little out of commission due to it. Some days it was really bad, some days it was really good. However I did feel a level of feeling like I had no purpose, like I had no direction, and even that I didn't have a future.
All of this was quite dramatic and quite frankly a lie from the pit of hell. I couldn't get the one line, "The devil doesn't know your future," out of my head. So I dove into this deeply.
The Lord brought me to Jeremiah 29:11 which states:
(The Lord speaking:) For I know the plans I have for you, declared the LORD, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
The enemy does not have the ability to create. He only has the power to manipulate what God creates or what we co-create with God. The devil has his demons, which act as spies on his behalf and watch our actions, listen to our words, and report back. One of the biggest weapons of attack from the enemy is doubt and lies. It's so easy to believe a lie than it is to believe in the truth, and it's so much easier to fulfill our temptations than it is to walk in morality.
I often say in specific conversations:
"Life is like a game of chess. You either play the game or get played with. I'm nobody's chess piece."
Christians often allow themselves to get played with because they forget their place in life and in the world. This place is called being a child of God. It's quite simple, really. Being a child of God allows you to "play the game" in a whole new way with a totally different set of rules that allows you to defeat the enemy every time. Remember Ephesians 6:12:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
In the very next verse it tells you how to wrestle against these principalities: put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand firm and rooted in peace rather than be shaken by the darkness.
The Lord downloaded to me a prayer to pray that I pray every morning first thing, before anything else, when I wake up. This completely shifted things. I began to stop playing the game and playing cards that the enemy decided to deal me, and I pick up the cards God gave to me, and every time I battled something, I won every time. Being a month in, I have been anxiety free, depression free, and so greatly free from the storm in my mind. I have finally learned to rest, to turn off, and have felt more comfortable setting boundaries and enjoying life. This is the most peace I have felt in a while, and it has been so amazing realizing that I control the narrative.
If you would like to join me in praying the prayer I've been praying daily, I've provided it for you in a PDF you can print out. Tap the link below to download!
LIFESTYLE OF REST
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Rest is something I used to be quite terrible at. I felt a lot of times that I had the inability to relax because things were too chaotic in my brain. I always felt the need to work until the moment I fell asleep. Work as in, write blogposts, film, create graphics, talk to people I needed to talk to, edit, do math, be on my phone, my computer, literally anything I could do to escape from my thoughts, I would do.
So after my recent revelation, I realized I was still struggling to relax. After hearing about it from both my Mom and my favorite personal development YouTuber Amy Landino, I finally decided to try shutting all of my devices off by 9pm.
9pm, the phone goes OFF. Do not disturb ALL THE WAY. I put my phone across the room from me so I don't reach for it out of boredom. I do this an hour before going to bed so I can actually relax. I have an iPod that has my music and emergency contacts only on there. I don't receive texts or calls from people who are not on my emergency contact list and I set my alarm on that. I allow the notifications to accumulate on my (what I like to now call) work phone and wait until 9am the next morning to respond (unless I am working earlier that day).
This has been MIRACULOUS for me. As an introvert, I often find myself feeling drained from chatting with people for way too long and allowing people and work to steal my downtime. Putting my phone away across the room has allowed me to learn how to rest and be with my thoughts. If I feel like I'm obsessing over something, I write it down in a notebook. If I think of something I need to do, I write it down in a notebook. If I feel bored, I will put on some music from my iPod and read a book or listen to a podcast or audio book, or I will pick up colored pencils and color while listening.
This has also allowed me to start my day off correctly. I don't check my phone first thing in the morning, I read my crafted prayer, get my coffee, spend time in my daily devotional time, get ready, eat and take my vitamins all before checking my phone. This changed everything for me. Granted, I do wake up at 6am now, but I feel the ability to do this because shutting off my phone and computer and work by 9pm has made my ability to sleep so much better, and I go to bed around 10-11pm.
I'm finally putting myself first before serving the rest of the world, but also doing this to be able to be my best self for my family, for my friends, and for my workplace. Getting the right kind of rest for me has allowed me to be more productive than I ever have. Also, shutting work and your phone off by a certain time is a great way to set boundaries. I personally don't have a problem setting boundaries, but I sometimes don't do it when I should. This has kept me accountable to making better decisions and creating good habits, and let me tell you, that kind of self-discipline is easy to lose and hard to cultivate (thank you ballet).
What habits are you trying to create, and which ones do you feel you probably should do without? I'm curious to know! Send it to me in the comments!
CREATING THE SPACE YOU LOVE
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I find my space determines the world around me. Whether or not that is healthy, I'll leave for you to decide. I need a clean space to function, feel productive, and feel simply at peace and happy. I don't function well in a cluttered space, which is why I make it a priority to at the very least, twice a year, to do a major clear-out of my belongings.
I tend to accumulate a lot of things and when it's out of sight, it's out of mind. Very rarely do I think in my head, "I wonder where this one thing is...", and very rarely do I use things I've packed away in boxes. I do have one bin of things that are meaningful and I would like to have for my home, but for the most part, the things in my room are just things.
I've tried to approach organization the same way I approach my administrative jobs: with process improvement. I will look at the area, see what's wrong, see why it doesn't bring you joy, and then reconstruct or redesign on paper or mentally have a picture in your mind. I use a minimalist method that follows:
1) Does this bring me joy?
2) Does this have sentimental value?
3) Can I live without this?
This allows me to quickly get rid of things without overthinking a decision and has proven to be effective. Very rarely do I get rid of clothes, but if I haven't worn it in a long time, I'll usually give friends and family first picks before donating them.
Part of creating a space you love is recreating, refurbishing, and reconstructing a format for your space. For me, I needed a space that will be conducive for rest, for working out, for dance, a filming space, and for work. So basically, a dance studio, an office, and a home. I ended up buying a futon that I can fold up into a couch to create more space conducive for dance, working out, and filming. This worked out well, however it did get rid of the beneath-the-bed storage space. I did want to keep the majority of the items that were there for my future home, so I packed it away neatly in a bin. The other items I either put where they belonged or got rid of.
I also hated the way things looked cluttered, so I did end up putting in some shelving and refurbishing a few of my furniture items to get rid of and renew certain things I already had. Something as simple as painting over an ugly colored desk is enough to brighten up your space. Repainting walls is a great way to create dynamics and vibes to the room. For example, burgundy with a rose foil patterned design with a warm white creates a neat backdrop for photos and filming. It also allows the space to continue feeling large rather than feeling claustrophobic.
What are some of the things you've done to create a space you love?
A HEALTH UPDATE
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A little update on my journey with health. I've been seeing a nutrition coach who specializes with people who have eating disorders. I finally won, guys. I won against anorexia.
A little background: two years ago, I had started developing an eating disorder, particularly anorexia. I did struggle with binge eating as well, and having the two coincide with each other caused a lot of problems with my health. I had poor sleep, poor energy, I was LIVING off of coffee, I also was sick all the time. My body wasn't in good shape and neither was my immune system. I realized a lot of the things that were wrong with me was all related to my eating, and finally, I had to realize I needed to face that reality.
After four months of meetings and changing my eating habits, I finally beat anorexia. The secret to that was actually changing my mindset. While I wasn't really having a problem with thinking I was "fat," but more like I wasn't good enough for ballet and the people I was around. How did this change?
Words. Words are powerful. Science backs up the fact that words stay in the atmosphere and you can create worlds with your words. So every time I thought about my body or my hunger in a negative way, I had to relearn how to train my thoughts from negativity to becoming "body positive." This because a huge way that I battled the thoughts, was looking at myself in the mirror and saying the opposite of what I was feeling.
It's possible to overcome an eating disorder with the right help, the right support system, and the right steps, you can change your life.