anxiety, dear sugar, life lessons, march 2017, read it love it, three things, vulnerability, words for the heart

Three things.

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After two months of having been without our beloved Patrick, I’m able to look at dogs again without bursting into tears… well, usually. This dog, Rusty Rodas, has an Instagram and it is epic.

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There are many things I love about Man Repeller. But far above all the reasons lies Leandra’s courageous honesty. Her life, personality, closet—all can ignite a flame of jealousy in the best of us, but that’s not her intention. You just know it from reading her words. She genuinely wants to have a community within Man Repeller. She cares. She wants you to know she’s just as real as her readers. And in a time when Instagramming and Blogging have taken a turn for the unattainable—perfect homes, “little ole papas & mamas,” and unblemished images—it’s so effing refreshing. No matter your home, your lot in life, your career, your closet… we are all humans. And being a human is hard. Why deny it? So thank you, Leandra. Thank you for your openness. And thank you for plucking this issue right out of my heart (and brain for that matter).

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I’m rereading Tiny Beautiful Things for what seems like the hundredth time. It’s just as good as the first time. And just as relevant as ever. Here are 10 of the best entries from the Dear, Sugar column (of which the book is compiled).

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anxiety, feminism, the future is female, three things, words of women

Three things.

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Happy Women’s History Month! I’m going to bring back Words from Wise Women — check out the archives here — who would you like to see featured? Also, check out this amazing infographic, “Women’s History: A conversation through time.” Looking for daily inspiration on rad women? Cup of Jane is a great follow.

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Sometimes I struggle with trying to explain my anxiety to friends and family. It’s not an easy thing to describe. My go-to metaphor is the “keeping your head above water while the waves keep growing.” So when I saw this article from The Mightya great resource for all-things mental health—I was really interested to see how others put it into words. #5 & 12. Too real.

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Words of Women, as always, killing it with their advice and insights.

The most important thing to do, however, is to pull yourself inward today and focus on the details in your life that need attention. We may feel worn out with the process and exhausted by our own resistance. It is time to take a breath, take stock, acknowledge what has been surrendered and see what pieces are left. What are the next steps you need to take to keep the momentum going? Sign up for the newsletter for tomorrow’s tips in using this energy to make the most of our week, month and year. Sign up here.

Seeing the Words of Women newsletter in my inbox always makes me happy. It’s beautiful for both the eyes and the heart. You won’t regret it, I promise. And this is coming from someone who usually hates newsletters.

 

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anxiety, healing heartbreak, the future is female, three things

Three things.

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Man Repeller had a pop-up shop this week in NYC & I so wish they’d do one in Europe. I love this mug. But really, as MR always poignantly points out, it goes beyond the beautiful stuff, it’s about gathering together to learn, share, and love.

But most importantly, all the time, I hope we’ll provide safety. My mom tries to tell me that pregnancy is not all its cracked out to be. She recalls the memory of being 23 and seven-months-pregnant as a new immigrant in New York, married to my dad, an insensitive boy at the time, with her parents thousands of miles away. “I was scared and self-conscious and alone,” she often tells me. “I needed something like Man Repeller, but didn’t have it.” It reminds me of how I felt when I was 14 and heartbroken and didn’t understand if friendship was supposed to be painful and full of deceit because it was. That’s when I needed Man Repeller.

So this place, really, beyond the wifi and the books and the boob lamp, is a physical reminder that even inside the depths of darkness that is so black we lose our balance, we are soooooooooo not alone.

Leandra is just everything, right?

emma

Emma Stone did an interview with The Talks and talked openly about her anxiety and struggles as a sensitive person. (So rad to hear her talk openly about it.)

“For a long time I thought being a sensitive person was a curse.”

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Who knew a balloon could show you so much? (Original source unknown.)

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adulthood, anxiety, brilliant reads, healing heartbreak, life, read it love it, write it out, writing from the heart

Broken but hopeful

Life can be really hard.

I’m writing this during my lunch break; a break I haven’t taken in some weeks so as not to drown in to dos. My apartment’s a mess. My clothes scattered around, as though about in a fury. My refrigerator is empty. My cabinets sparse.

A month ago it wasn’t like this. I had a full fridge and even hosted my first dinner party. I had a hand to hold regularly and looked forward to the weekends.

But life just happens. And things get heavy, fast. No matter how much you think you have everything under control the truth is that sometimes you have no control. Being OK with that fact is half the battle, I suppose.

So here I am, surrendering to what is. Accepting what may be. Holding on tight to what I know to be true.

In the meantime, I recommend this piece from “Ask Polly.” Because it chewed me up and spit me out and put me back together all in the course of 5 minutes. Now I reference certain lines as reminders. As hope. As a grace to get me through.

Until my fridge is full again. Until my laundry is done. Until my to-do list is finally completed.

I have two daughters, and this, for some reason, is my biggest fear when it comes to them, that they’ll waste their lives chasing men in circles instead of recognizing how much sunshine and genius and expansive, outrageous possibility they carry around with them everywhere they go. But this anxiety of mine isn’t just about young women and their tendency to ignore their own value and worth and potential. It’s also about 30-something men and 40-somethings and 50-somethings and everyone under the goddamned sun. We are all so completely poleaxed by our own longing, by our own magical thinking, by our own physical resistance to hard work. We put our faith in prefabricated fantasies instead of reality; we believe in easy answers and short cuts instead of craft; we admire popularity instead of originality; we find ourselves reaching for shiny dreamworlds and ignoring human beings. The world tells us that we should be disappointed in ourselves, every single day. The best party is across town. The best party is across the universe. We should be fucking a ghost that looks like Chris Hemsworth, gently, in some galaxy far away. 

Let’s just be ourselves instead, broken but hopeful, and let’s be right here, right now. Let’s look around and see the scrappy, mediocre, mundane details of our lives and proclaim them exalted and glorious. Imagine for a moment that I can see you clearly for the first time. I can see you clearly, and you are radiating pure, lusty, brilliant grace and divinity. Feel it. Believe it. Carry it with you.

xx

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2016, anna im ausland, anxiety, growing up, hamburg, hamburg 2016, ocd

2016 hopes, etc. etc.

Since the start of this fine year, I have been forcing myself to do that which must be done.
For example.
  • Should a letter need to be mailed, I get up and I do it the day of. No waiting till the mailbox is “on my way” to somewhere else, no putting it off for days at a time like I normally would do.
  • Should I need to call about my internet bill I do it as soon as possible. No putting it off for a few weeks until it’s absolute dire that I do so.
  • I made all important doctor’s appointments that I’ve been meaning to schedule for ages.
  • I put my clothes away as soon as they’re done drying instead of letting them set on my couch for ages.
  • Doing small tasks in the moment to save a lot of time in the end.

 

These may seem like really rudimentary practices which an adult should be employing on the reg., but for me it’s been a real feat.
This brings me to my next point.
What is normal or common for most doesn’t mean it’s common or normal for others.
I usually struggle calling about appointments, especially when it’s in German. Phone calls trigger my anxiety to the max.; mix in the fact the conversation is in German and bam! you’ve got the perfect storm of insecurity.
So those phone calls to challenge a bill or set up a doctor’s appoint are a big deal for me, and that’s ok.
Next on my list of things to conquer (or try to conquer) in 2016 includes not comparing myself to others. Because if there’s anything that will eat you alive, it’s comparison.
Instead I’ll keep my head down, focus on my own achievements, no matter the size.
And i’ll try to leave my Netflix nest more on the weekend.
But aside from that, I think 2016 is ours for the taking, folks.
Deal?
Deal.
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anxiety, hope, mental illness

Hold on.


What I’m reading over & over again this week:

Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up by Eponis

Are you hydrated?  If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours?  If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs.  Perhaps some nuts or hummus?

Have you showered in the past day?  If not, take a shower right now.

If daytime: are you dressed?  If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas.  Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.
If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep?  Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed.  If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day?  If not, do so right now.  If you don’t have the spoons for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please.  If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day?  Do so, whether online or in person.  Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day?  If not, do so — jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite BPM, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days?  If not, do so.  Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets.  Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Do you feel ineffective?  Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip.  Good job!

Do you feel unattractive?  Take a goddamn selfie.  Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision?  Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day.  If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable.  Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days?  If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.

Have you been over-exerting yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually?  That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in generic prescription brand?  That may be screwing with your head.  Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.

Have you waited a week?  Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause.  It happens.  Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.

You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through.  You are stronger than you think.

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adulthood, anxiety, fear, hamburg 2015, hope, june 2015

On keeping your head above water & ‘How to Defeat Fear’.


I had a tough week last week. I’m in-between leases and that means I’m sleeping on a mattress on a floor in a big empty apartment. Oh, and there’s no internet. So I’ve been staying late at work to keep that sweet sweet connection to the outside world. 
And after a weekend of being at the receiving end of a lot of hateful words, I’m barely keeping my head above water. 
But the important thing is that I am. And I will continue swimming.
But in the meantime, the Universe and big guy upstairs have been sending me a lot of messages in various forms. 
Last month, I ordered The Pocket Pema Chödrön at the recommendation of my lovely friend Mackenzie. I had forgotten about it (thanks Deustche Post strikes!) but it finally arrived last week, and couldn’t have come at a better time. 
Last night, as I crawled into bed–erm, onto the mattress on the floor–I felt a panic attack coming on and reached for the book as a distraction. 

Then I opened to the following passage:

HOW TO DEFEAT FEAR 

Once there was a young warrior.  

Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave instructions for the battle. 

The day arrived. 

The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful.  

The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”  

Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” 

Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” 

Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” 

In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. 

It read it over and over again until I finally felt like the attack had passed. And then I thought about all the fear I’m facing at the moment and it felt a little less scary. 

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