2020 Recap

Since we are closing out this year, I want to ask you some questions before entering 2021. I would like the readers of this post to answer at least one of the questions in the comments below. If it helps, write down the questions before answering them. Let’s make this post an interesting one.

-What was one thing you learned about yourself this year?

-What mistakes did you make in 2020?

-What successes did you have in 2020?

-What was your favorite memory of 2020?

-How would you describe this year?

-What is one thing you are leaving behind in 2020?

-What was your biggest challenge in 2020? How did you overcome it?

-If you could give 2020 a theme, what would it be and why?

-Are you ready for 2021? Why or why not?

I hope that 2021 brings nothing but happiness and enjoyment to every person that is reading this post. Allow 2021 to be the reset you need to jump-start everything you are trying to achieve. Happy New Year!

Are You Being Served?

I was thinking about what to write today since we are coming up to the end of the year, so let’s talk about letting go of things and people that do not serve us anymore. I know it is not a happy topic, but we need to talk about it before setting any new goals for 2021.

I am huge on friendships. I would stay in them even when I do not see them going anywhere. My anxiety would make me feel bad for ending relationships, and I would go back to that relationship, knowing nothing would change. This year as I look back on relationships that ended, I realized that holding on to a relationship to make the other person feel good does nothing for you. Is someone looking after you? If you cannot say yes to this question, it is a safe bet to say that your relationship is not serving you.

We cannot continue to live our lives for others. What does it do for us to give them our all and never get that in return? We have to remember that our means should be met in the relationships we have and if they are not met, we should feel no pressure to stay. I saw a video that said, “You do not have to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.” This means we should not burn ourselves out just to be with a person. We should not be the only ones giving our all to the relationship. Find a person that will be willing to give as well as receive.

A Lesson From Mister Rogers

Mister Rogers is my childhood hero. Every morning I would get up and turn PBS on to watch what lesson he was teaching his neighbors. As an adult, I will go on YouTube and watch old episodes to see what takeaways I can get as a 33-year-old. I came across one of his songs called, ‘What Do You Do with The Mad That You Feel?’ This song helped me understand my life a little more as a woman with Bipolar Depression. In this song, Mister Rogers explains that we can just be in our feelings, or we can find ways to express our emotions so we can get through them.

A main reason why we keep our feelings to ourselves is that we are afraid to look weak. We think the moment we break down and begin to open up; people will immediately judge us and tell everyone that knows us how much we suck. But that is not true. Most of the time, when we let people that love us in, they are understanding and want to help us get out of whatever it is we are in. For the most part, our friends’ job is to hear us out and be the shoulder you need to let out those big feelings. But it takes us, the person that is hurting, to allow someone in. It can be challenging, but what are the other options; to keep your feelings bottled up until you eventually pop? That will never work.

Mister Rogers ends the song by saying:

And what a good feeling to feel like this,

And know that the feeling is really mine.

Know that there’s something deep inside

That helps us become what we can,

For a girl can be someday a woman

And a boy can be someday a man.

What we can take away from these lyrics is that the feelings we have are ours. We can allow them to control us or do whatever we need to do to get them out. I know firsthand that allowing the feelings to control me only made me feel worse. But once I started taking control of those feelings, I felt right with the world. Again, we are in charge of what we allow to go on within our minds. If you have to write the feelings away, do it. If you have to take a long shower and cry the feelings away, do it. Does working out help to get the feelings out? DO IT! Whatever it takes to help you gain control over them, just be like Nike and DO IT. It can only help you grow more as a person. We owe it to ourselves to find ways to live with the emotions that we have. It may take some time, but if you are willing to put in the work, I promise you friends, you will find it worthwhile.  

Ari’s Scared

Today is another day I let depression and anxiety sleepover in my brain. This time they brought with them a list of things that scare me. Here goes nothing.

I am scared of change. The funny thing is, I am a Gemini, and change is something that we should enjoy. That’s why you can’t trust the signs. Not at all.

I am scared of not being in control. I hate having to leave the decision making to someone or something else (I am a Type-A personality if you couldn’t tell).  

I am scared of being a failure. I am so scared of failing; I will work myself to the point of wanting to pass out. Well, at least I didn’t fail, huh (that may be a fail, though).

I am scared of being by myself. To know that I have people on my side means the world to me, and to ever lose that, I don’t know what I would do. Also, don’t tell me that I was born alone; that doesn’t help me stop feeling alone and afraid.

Lastly, I am scared of letting people in. I love hard. If I say I am riding for you, I’m riding until the wheels fall off. With this mindset, I have seen myself giving my all to someone who will never show up for me. It’s safe to say if I leave my walls up, I can save myself from the fear.

My therapist said that it’s okay to be scared, but you have to find the willingness to push through. This means you can be scared AND still come out of that situation as the winner. I am working daily to fight through what scares me; if you are afraid of it, just take my hand. We will make it through together. It may be scary, but it will not defeat us.

Dear Mama

Mama,

I just want to thank you. Thank you for accepting the role of my mother. I know I am not the easiest to deal with, but you handle it with grace. Thank you for knowing just when to call to talk me off the bridge. Thank you for the encouraging words even when I felt that I was not worthy of them. Thank you for showing me what being a woman and a mother is. You went above and beyond to make sure my brother and I had everything we wanted or needed. You went without to make sure we had it all (sometimes we didn’t deserve it, but we had our hands out), and nothing I could say or give you can show how thankful I am for you. I thank God for a mother like you. I could never ask for anyone that would be as loving and strong as you, mama. I can only pray that I can be half the mother and woman you are. You are truly my role model and my superhero. Mama, I could never find enough words in any language to thank you enough for everything you have done and still do for me.

Mama, I will forever love you.  

Ari’s 2021 Mantra

2020 has taught me two things: One, if people do not want to be bothered with you, leave them alone, and second, people love saying they respect you in your face, but when they get the chance, they will take digs at you. For 2021, I made a mantra for myself, and if you feel that something I wrote can help you, feel free to use it.

Ari’s Mantra

I will live with purpose

I will learn to trust my gut

Being alone does not make you lonely

I will only give from my overflow

Taking time for myself is NOT being selfish

I do not need to convince people of my worth

I will not cheat myself out of the journey

I will not place myself in a relationship that does not serve me

I will not compare myself to anyone

I am love

I am strength

I will be successful

The Happiest Ever

I’ve been feeling down for a while due to the sun setting at 4 PM, on top of just being Bipolar and anxious. I decided that I did not want to be down anymore, so I started watching my wedding video. If I had to pick a day that I felt the happiest, my wedding day takes the cake. I want to share a little about that day if you don’t mind.

My husband Donta and I got engaged in June of 2017 and settled on a date in August of 2018. One day while working on our seating arrangements and Donta turned to me and said, “Let’s change the date to this year,” “I don’t want the big guest list; I just want to marry you.” I was a little upset at first because I wanted a big wedding and fanfare, but on the other hand, I realized that I only want to make Donta happy, and the rest of it did not matter. So we changed our date to December 22, 2017.

Our wedding day came, and I was so excited. We decorated our living room with daisies (fake ones because we were on a budget) and candles (Also fake, look, we were setting a mood, not trying to burn the house down). It seemed so whimsical and better than any wedding venue I could dream of. I was ready to marry my best friend! As my dad walked me down the hallway to greet my groom, all I could do was smile. I started thinking about the journey Donta, and I were about to start and how I could not see this life with anybody else but him. It will be 3 years in 13 days, and I love being married to this man every second of each day.

The moral today is: Although 2020 has thrown so many shots at us, we can still find our happiest ever to get us through it. I hope that happiness comes soon for you.

Trying to Forgive

Hi Daddy,

This letter has been a long time coming, but I want to say that I forgive you. I forgive you for not knowing what I needed from you as my father. I forgive you for losing sight of me and not realizing that you were hurting me. I forgive you for unknowingly choosing my sister over me. I want to say that I will forget all this, but I’m not sure that is something I can or want to do. The pain is deep, daddy. How could you not tell that I was in pain? How could you not see the sadness that I carried? I know that it was not something you wanted to do, but it happened. I also know that you want to jump right into a relationship with me, but I want you to know I need time.

I wish I had more to say to you. But honestly, I get emotional thinking about saying more to you. I cannot get back the daddy-daughter dances or the debates meets I wanted you to see, but I hope that we can talk without me feeling like a stranger to you. I don’t know if you would ever understand the pain and hurt I felt, but I want you to realize that I will try to work on us if you are willing to put in the work.

I love you daddy.

NO.

How hard is it for you to say no? If you are like me, saying no feels like slapping someone in the face. Saying no makes me feel guilty even when I have a reason to say it. So what do you do? Should you say yes forever? Well, I have a list we can all use to help fight the fear of saying no.

It is okay to say no…

If it doesn’t make you happy

If you feel as if someone is forcing you

If it doesn’t fit your plans

If it makes you uncomfortable

If you want to be by yourself and relax

If your feelings are not being valued

If it goes against what you believe in

If it’s a family member

If you have no reason other than you wanting to do it

Understand that it does not happen overnight. But remember, you have the right to say no to anyone about anything. Saying no helps protect your feelings, so use it when you can.

10 Things I Need to Stop Worrying About

Writing this list was hard for me because worrying has become like second nature to me. Hopefully, by writing this list, I can help not only myself with worrying but help whoever reads this.

Stop worrying about things that are outside of your control. You can only handle what you can touch.

Stop worrying about people’s approval of you. You are entitled to make decisions for yourself without someone telling you that your choices are okay to them.

Stop worrying about the “what ifs.” When you allow yourself to focus on what may or could happen, you slow down getting to your goal.

Stop worrying about the future. It is your job to enjoy the time that you have right now. Tomorrow is not promised.

Stop worrying about how to fix other’s problems. When you take on someone’s problems, they began to become yours that you will never be able to fix. Your job is to focus on what you need to fix for you.

Stop worrying about being perfect. Sweetheart, we will never be perfect. But what we can be is our best while embracing our flaws.

Stop worrying about if you are where you should be. It is not about getting to a place at a specific time, but the lessons you learned on the way to that place.

Stop worrying about money. Your needs will be met. Trust the timing.

Stop worrying about issues from your past. You are not your past. You cannot change what has already happened, but you can grow from it.

Stop worrying about change. How will you grow and progress without changing? Changes bring on new chances at winning.