Time For Change.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – MLK Jr.

 

My heart is so incredibly heavy, and my anxiety is at an all time high. Everything is changing, evolving and manifesting at such a rapid rate that it’s hard for me to keep up and thoroughly process it all.

I’m so proud to be a part of the revolution that’s occurring, one that is far overdue. I’m so proud of my friends of all colors for standing up and saying “enough is enough.” I support, love and cherish each of you wholeheartedly.

I vow to help this fight in any and every way possible, but I’m not going to lie, this is all really overwhelming. Most of the time I can’t even process my own thoughts and feelings, much less those of the whole nation.

I first want to say “I’m sorry” to every POC … every race, gender and ethnicity. I’ve always prided myself on being someone who loves everyone, someone who doesn’t see others by the color of their skin but instead by the beauty of their soul. I look to the inside to get to know someone before coming to any conclusions.

Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means ( I know I’m far from it), but I’ve tried really hard my entire life to be a genuinely good person. Yet despite all of my good intentions, I’ve failed to act upon my anger and outrage of racism, injustice and the needless loss of human life.

To be honest, I think my reservations have been due to the fact that I didn’t think anyone would care what I had to say on the matter. I tried to walk the fine line of not acting like I knew it all while also not condoning these outrageous murders.

Let’s face it, I’m a very white girl.

I grew up in a tiny Texas town where there were literally no Black people, no Hispanic people, no Asian people … just Caucasians. I was never taught racism or given preconceived notions about people of others races, and for that I’m truly grateful to my family.

I was always taught to love everyone regardless of race, religion or politics. However, I think my upbringing also somewhat hindered my understanding of how truly oppressed POC were and still are to this day.

This is no excuse, just fact.

I’m sorry for not truly understanding your struggles, your pain, the fear you face every time you leave your home. I’m sorry that I haven’t used my voice, the privilege I’ve been given just because of the color of my skin, to speak up and fight for you … to fight with you.

I’m sorry that my limited understanding of your hardships may have seemed like ignorance or indifference. I am not indifferent, I am not okay with what is happening and I am using my voice, my platform, to say to you “I HEAR YOU, I LOVE YOU, I WILL FIGHT WITH AND FOR YOU.” 

I truly believe that every human being struggles with something. My struggle isn’t one that can be physically seen but instead is a constant war raging in my mind. Others struggle with addiction, body image, self-love, family issues, and the list goes on and on.

However, I see your pain. I hear your voices. I stand with you. I stand beside you. I am here to love, to support and to fight.

My anxiety has caused me to struggle with this whole situation. It tells me I need to have all the answers before I speak up, before I raise my voice, but I will no longer let the unknown hold me back from screaming my outrage on these matters any longer.

I will not let fear of others’ opinions stop me from expressing myself, from using my rights as an American to fight for justice. I will not allow public judgement to keep me from standing up for my friends and all those that I love.

Listen to me when I say, “YOU ARE IMPORTANT. YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE HEARD.”

To all of my friends and family in law enforcement, this is not a bashing of you as an individual. I love you, I respect you, I pray for your safety and I’m thankful for the sacrifices you make each and every day. I don’t believe you are all the same, I know your hearts. I do believe that you are sincere in your efforts to help others.

Unfortunately, this is a pattern that’s repeated far too often. We all, not just law enforcement, have to do better. We have to unite and stand together against hate. Every human being, regardless of race or career, has the choice to do good or bad. It’s not about profiling a specific group but instead bringing awareness to all of the injustices that occur every day.

To all of my white friends and family, understand this … silence is now just as condemning as the violence and oppression itself. If we truly love all of God’s children, then we need to use our voice and our privilege we were given the day we were born white.

No, not every white person is racist, not every black person is a thug, not every hispanic person is illegal … we are all beautiful and created equally in the eyes of God. However, our society, our history, has made it so that a white skin tone gets you a louder voice. It gives you the benefit of the doubt. It offers you a safety that POC are not always given.

I pray that we all listen to our POC friends, that we hear what they are saying and instead of being offended, we try to understand their pain. POC are not saying that because you’re white you’re a racist. They’re saying it’s time to start standing up for the oppressed, to start fighting a system that’s been corrupt for far too long.

They’re asking us to speak up, to use our voices for positive change.

I don’t know about you, but one of my lifelong goals has always been to leave a positive impact on the world, to leave this world better than how I found it. This is our chance. This is our moment.

Are we going to stand up for what is right? Are we going to help our brothers and sisters who are asking for and more than willing to accept our support? Or are we simply going to turn off the news, stay off social media and act like the problem doesn’t exist?

To all of my readers, followers, friends and Anxious Minds … please tell me how I can help. Let me know how I can assist in cultivating the change our nation so desperately needs. Educate me, explain to me, show me. As much as I love y’all, I feel as though I still have so much to learn.

I truly pray that we each take some time to research, reflect and process what is happening right now in our world. This is a pivotal moment in our history. This is a change that is long overdue.

This revolution will make history as the time when we unified as a nation and said “no more.” I’m tired of the hate, injustice, inequality, racism, bashing, negativity and senselessly spilled blood.

It’s time we stop talking about it and start taking action. I am with you. I hear you. I will fight with you.

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell 💋

Chasing After Happiness.

“Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will evade you, but if you notice the other things around you, it will gently come and sit on your shoulder.”― Henry David Thoreau

 

We’ve all been on the journey of chasing happiness in one way or another. Some of us think we will find it in our careers, our family or by becoming famous. We are constantly searching for that missing piece, the thing that will make us truly happy.

However, the more we search for it the further away it seems. It’s a never-ending game of catch-me-if-you-can. While we’re going after that “happiness” we so desperately seek we often forget to appreciate the present, the very moments we’re given.

We forget to be thankful that we have a job, a family, a home, a warm bed and food on the table. We take so many of life’s blessings for granted because we’re always looking for the next best thing.

I, myself, am guilty of this. It seems that most of my adult life has been overshadowed by this daunting task of finding happiness, of achieving perfection. That’s no way to live.

Even if we achieve our dreams, the joy of that moment is fleeting, and before long we’re looking for the next thing that will fill the void.

What if instead of searching for happiness we focused on our blessings? What if we used all that time and energy to improve ourselves and to live our lives?

The funny thing I’ve learned about happiness is that we could search for a lifetime and not find it because happiness is not out there in the world. True happiness comes from within.

 

Chasing after happiness
Trying to find some peace
Trying to find something
To put my mind at ease
I’ve searched and wandered far and wide
Tracking every lead
But by the time I get there
Joy’s eluded me
I crawl back to the darkness
And make another plan
I really need to find it
For this dark I cannot stand
I try again, I search for light
But all that I can find
Is disappointing misery
That fills my wounded mind
As days go by and time drags on
I continue on my quest
The never-ending, daunting task
Of finding happiness
I’m weak and worn and at my end
I’ve got no more to give
I guess this dark and sadness
Is how I’m meant to live
But as I lay my head to rest
I slip into a dream
I find what I’ve been looking for
The light it starts to beam
And suddenly I see…
It was always inside of me.

 

I wrote this poem thinking about my own journey chasing happiness. I hope you all know that no matter what’s going on in your life, we are all in charge of our own happiness. We just have to find it within ourselves and let it shine.

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell💋

We’re Only Human.

But I’m only human and I bleed when I fall down. I’m only human and I crash and I break down. Your words in my head, knives in my heart, you build me up and then I fall apart ’cause I’m only human…” – Christina Perri

 

So many things in life try to drag us down, constantly making us feel worthless, unloved and unwanted. Fears creep into our mind, along with our anxious thoughts, and those fears start to tear us down a little at a time.

There’s no warning, no flashing sign to tell us what’s coming our way. There’s nothing that can prepare us for the error of human ways, for heartache and deceit.

People are bound to let us down, I mean we’re only human after all. Yet, it’s how we react to those moments of heartache and misery that truly reveal ourselves to the world. If we over-analyze every moment or every word, we’re setting ourselves up for a let down.

So in those moments of sadness, when you’re tired of trying, I hope you remember that things will always get better. The moments of darkness will always be overcome by light. The pain will eventually fade and the heart will repair itself.

That’s just how we’re wired.

When you find yourself tired of trying, I encourage you to look inward and remind yourself of how you too are human. There have been times when you’ve been on the other side of the hurt.

You’ve probably done something unintentionally that negatively effected another. That doesn’t make you a bad person, that makes you human.

The difference between being human and being inhumane is effort. If you put in the effort to right your wrongs or fix what you may have broken, then you should rest easy knowing you tried.

If you think “tough luck” or expect someone to get over it then you are the darkness that fills this world. No matter what the circumstance, it’s up to us as friends, family, co-workers, people to acknowledge the error of our ways and try to make amends. Again, it all comes down to “try.”

All we can do in this life is try … try to be a good friend, a good person. Try to be strong, to be brave, to be tough. Try to keep it together, to not let them see you struggle. Try to put our feelings aside, to put others first, to listen without taking offense to their words.

We can only try to put one foot in front of the other without falling to pieces … to try to make the right decisions and do the best we can. All we can do is try our hardest in all things, and if people can’t appreciate our efforts then they don’t deserve our presence.

That’s another thing. When someone is dealing with a Mental Health Disorder, it’s imperative for us to practice self-preservation. We’re terrible at it because we want to believe the good in others, but ultimately if we’re unable to realize who truly does and does not belong in our lives then we self destruct.

After all, we’re only human.

This thing called life is a difficult journey filled with enormous amounts of pain, growth, happiness, sadness, regret, joy and decisions. Those who suffer from Mental Health Disorders encounter extra obstacles, but each struggle we face makes us stronger in the end.

All we can do through life’s ups and downs, twists and turns, is try to hold on for the ride and make the best out of each situation we’re given. If people let us down we have to find our voice and the courage to express our feelings.

If someone makes us happy, we have to conquer our fears of rejection and disappointment and give them a chance. We have to learn to quiet our anxious minds and remember that we only have one life to live so we might as well live it.

Heartache and pain will undoubtedly find us, but if we keep pushing on we’ll find either a lesson or a blessing in each situation. We can’t let the tragedy that fills our world keep us from spreading our light.

We may only be human, but we have so much to offer. We have love to give, memories to make and a short time to do it all. Therefore we can’t let anything, especially our anxious thoughts, hold us back from a wonderful life.

People will always let us down and that’s okay because we too are flawed. We too cause pain to those we love. No matter how hard we try we’re not perfect and never will be. Yet if we strive to be the best person we can be, we find that opportunity and happiness start to present themselves in our lives.

We need to remember that every single breath we’re given is a precious gift that should not be wasted because one day our breath will flee and our souls will vacate this world … we’re only human, after all.

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell💋

A Single Pringle Valentine’s (Self Love 101).

“Self love is an ocean and your heart is a vessel. Make it full, and any excess will spill over into the lives of the people you hold dear. But you must come first.” – Beau Taplin

 

Valentine’s Day is my absolute favorite holiday and has been for as long as I can remember. Some people have asked me “why,” and the answer is simple…it’s a day dedicated of love.

Every year I get to see happy couples sharing their love for one another and celebrating love. The stores are filled with pinks and reds of every kind, and honestly just seeing all the mushy gushy stuff puts a smile on my face. What can I say, I’m a hopeless romantic.

While I am well aware that I’m single, I don’t let that dull even one moment of this heart-warming day. Why sulk instead of using this holiday to celebrate self-love? Who says you can’t buy yourself a gift and acknowledge how amazing you are?

There’s a few different stories about the origin of Valentine’s Day, but they all have one common denominator … love. Each story ends in tragic death over love (how romantic, right?) led by none other than St. Valentine.

While Valentine’s Day is a wonderful day to express your love and gratitude for the important people in your life, it’s also a great day for single people too. This year I’ve decided to buy myself a present and take myself out on a date, and I can’t wait!

This idea may seem silly to some, but taking care of yourself (mind, body and spirit) is more important than we even realize. We’re so quick to project our love to others and place them first in our lives, never truly understanding that this is wrong.

Love of self is not just a concept, it’s a necessity. When we don’t fill our souls with positivity and validation we end up feeling empty with nothing left to give. It doesn’t matter how much you love someone, you can’t pour out love from an empty cup.

With this being said, I believe getting to truly know ourselves is crucial, but it’s also uncomfortable. We go through our lives with our day-to-day routines often forgetting to stop and evaluate where we are inside.

I always thought I was super confident until I took a minute to look in the mirror. I had been dealing with a few self-esteem issues so my therapist told me to look in a mirror and say “I love you. I never imaged that saying those three words to myself would be so tough.

In 25 years of life I’d never taken just one single minute to really look in the mirror at myself. I’d always been in a hurry to put on my makeup or do my hair before starting my day. I never knew that all that time I’d been staring at a stranger.

Once I realized how disconnected I was with myself I decided to start the journey of self-love. I started researching exercises, books, anything I could do to learn who I was and how I could love that person in the mirror.

A few years and countless hours of staring in the mirror, reading inspirational books and seriously focusing on positive self talk I was able to say those three words. Not only did I say them, I believed them, and man it was the best feeling ever.

It was like something inside of me awakened from a 27 year sleep. I felt more alive than ever and suddenly realized that all of the things I’d been searching for in others I’d had inside all along. This moment catapulted my evolution into the strong, independent woman that I am today.

It’s crazy what happens when we really start to love ourselves. We become more confident, more aware, stronger, braver and more alive than ever before. We start to see things from a whole new perspective and finally learn our self-worth.

This new sense of self becomes a building block for not only our relationship with ourselves but with others as well. We learn what we will and will not tolerate in a romantic relationship or friendship, and in turn we build healthy connections that positively impact our lives.

So as silly as it sounds, self-love is the foundation of our lives. While being single is tough in our generation, we can actually use it as a positive to get to know ourselves. The world tries to tell us that we need to be married with kids by 23 years old. I’m here to tell you that is a lie.

If we take the time to learn who we are and work on becoming the best possible versions of ourselves, we open the door to healthy relationships that are usually more beneficial in the long run.

If someone tries to tell you that self-love is selfish, they are sadly mistaken because those who have gone down this path know it’s not selfish but imperative to our well-being. Keep strong in your path and don’t let anything others say affect your journey.

This Valentine’s Day if you’re alone and a single pringle like myself, take it as a blessing. Recognize it as the amazing opportunity that it is and learn to honestly love yourself. Nothing good comes from self-pity but something wonderful can come from inner work.

I encourage you to get dolled up, buy yourself a gift and treat yourself how you’d want a future partner to treat you. It may feel silly at first but when we learn to date ourselves we learn exactly what we want in a future spouse.

On February 14th you’ll find me wearing my best dress and drinking a glass of wine at my favorite restaurant at a table for one. I may get questionable looks from the couples next to me, but I don’t care because I’m confident and love myself. Can you say the same?

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell💋

I Didn’t Think It Would Be This Way.

“One day she finally grasped that unexpected things were always going to happen in life. And with that, she realized the only control she had was how she chose to handle them. So, she made the decision to survive using courage, humor and grace. She was the Queen of her own life and the choice was hers.” – Kathy Kinney

 

I didn’t think it’d be this way. I never thought life could get so messy, so confusing, so out of control. I’d done everything in my power to live the “perfect” life. I’d gone to school, gotten straight A’s, participated in activities, went to church and tried to be a good human.

Yet it never felt like enough.

I thought all of my good deeds and careful choices would spare me of the heartache and pain that seemed to fill this ugly world. I thought my kind heart and gentle soul could keep me from sorrow, but I was wrong.

I didn’t think it’d be this way. I never thought I’d lose my best friend at such a tender age or experience a gut wrenching break up with an ex that would leave me feeling paralyzed. However, I intimately learned the saying “love hurts.”

I never thought I’d hang out with the wrong crowd or do things behind my parents’ backs like some typical rebellious teen. I thought I was better than that. Yet I partied and made bad decisions sometimes for no good reason at all.

I never thought I’d struggle so heavily with anxiety and depression as a teenager. I didn’t think I’d battle with self confidence or self love either. On the outside I appeared so confident, so in control, but on the inside I was drowning.

I could’ve never imagined the struggles I’d face in college. The sleepless nights, the drunken disagreements and feeling like I might not make it through nursing school. I remember asking myself what the hell I was doing putting myself in these risky predicaments…

Yet I could never bear to hear the truthful answer to those questions.

I never thought I’d be so cruel to myself. I truly was my own worst enemy. I never thought I’d look in the mirror and be hateful to the reflection staring back at me. Despite all the good things I’d done in the world, I was never good enough in my own mind.

I never knew I’d be single into my latter 20’s. I figured I’d follow the pattern of my hometown and be married with children by 24 years old. I thought I’d grow old in my tiny Texas town and never leave. I thought that was the only life I could live.

I never knew I’d be given such opportunities by simply moving away from home. I didn’t know I would find so much happiness in recreating myself…new town, new me. I had never realized just how claustrophobic I felt in that place.

I never realized realize how much I missed out on by giving in to my fears. I was terrified to start over away from my family, and with this fear came tons of missed opportunities. I’d never comprehended how much my wings were bound until I broke away and flew.

I didn’t think life would be this way. I never thought I’d have moments of complete emptiness, moments when breathing seemed like an unimaginable task. I didn’t know that anxiety would be something I’d deal with my entire life, a problem that I could never permanently fix.

I didn’t think it would be this way. I thought I could get through life without ever losing a family member. I thought they’d all meet my future spouse, attend my wedding, and hold my future children while we shared stories around the table…and then my Grandpa passed away.

Yet another dream crushed.

I never thought I’d experience the rollercoaster effect of feeling so lonely while also feeling happiness. I never thought it was possible to find joy in the pain and light in the sorrow. I never thought I’d be one to feel weak and alone.

While I didn’t think life would be this way, I’m extremely pleased and grateful at how my life has played out. While I didn’t understand the struggles and grief in the past, I’m beginning to understand them now.

I now see that through pain and heartache comes growth. I realize that losing someone makes you hold onto others a little tighter. It forces you to realize the amazing people you have in your life and reminds you to never take them for granted.

Through heartache we learn to love again. We find that our heart can repair itself and become even stronger than before. We may put up a wall, but it allows us to see who is willing to break it down to be in our lives. It teaches us that our hearts are indestructible.

While I didn’t think life would be this way, each and every experience has made me who I am today. Each trail and tribulation has shaped me into the kind yet wise soul that I am now. While I still try to find the best in others, I’m no longer naive to those who try to hurt me.

I’m stronger than ever before, full of scars but also full of wisdom.

Life really does have a funny way of working out. While things that try to break us may hurt like hell in the moment, their meaning ultimately comes full circle in God’s timing. We don’t understand the pain we initially feel, but later on we often see its purpose.

And while I didn’t think life would be this way, I’m forever grateful for this crazy life I’ve been given. I’m truly thankful for every high and every low, every victory and every defeat. Now I know that although life’s struggles might knock me down, they will not keep me there.

Our lives are our own, and the choice is always ours. Will you choose to dwell on your shortcomings and grieve what you thought life would be, or will you choose to rise each morning with a grateful heart and a fierce perseverance? The choice is ultimately yours…

 

XOXO,
Myka Shantell 💋

5 Traits An Anxious Mind Needs In A Friend.

“Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.” – Bessel Van Der Kolk
If you’ve ever been a good friend to someone that suffers from anxiety, you probably know that it’s a lot of work. You have to deal with their constant mood swings, fears, emotions and insecurities all while being their rock. It really is a tough gig.

There are probably an enormous amount of times that you want to scream, pull out your hair and simply tell your friend that they’re being irrational. You may get insanely frustrated that they can’t just shut off their anxiety. Yet, you often sit there quietly and listen to every word.

Sometimes you give them words of encouragement while holding them in a tight knit hug, merely letting them know that they’re safe. Other times you may yell and give them tough love because you don’t fully understand their disease which frustrates you even more.

You may sit and cry together in silence when the world just seems too overwhelming for your anxious minded friend. You cry because you’ve never dealt with such pain and aren’t sure what to do or say. Sometimes you may even cry tears of joy when they’re having a good day because you’re ecstatic to see them happy.

Despite all of the craziness that comes along with loving an anxious mind, you stick around, and your mere presence means more to us than you could ever know.

While being a friend to someone that struggles with anxiety can be quite overwhelming, I imagine it’s a love-hate relationship. There are a ton of positives and negatives that come along with loving us, things that we rarely control.

However, I hope you know that if an anxious mind chooses you as a friend you should take it as an extreme compliment. We are extremely selective in who we allow into our lives. Our anxiety tries to isolate us from everyone and tell us that we are unworthy of love.

If you are chosen to become a part of our inner circle, know that it is a big decision for us. It takes everything in our being to truly let people in and see the real, flawed, messy us…the sides we often hide.

We have to silence the constant ruckus going on in our heads in order to focus on another person. We not only have to learn to let our walls down, but we also have to stand up to our anxiety and tell it that we refuse to be alone. That, my dear, is no small feat.

So while your friendship means the world to us, know that there were certain traits we found in you that let us tear our walls down and silence our anxious minds. There was something we saw in you that made us feel safe and willing to open ourselves up with the risk of being hurt.

There are a few things that we saw in you, a few things that the friend of an anxious mind must possess:

1.) Trustworthy

We need to know that no matter what we can trust you with our deepest, darkest secrets. We need to feel like we can trust you with our feelings and that you will never do us wrong. Trust is crucial in any relationship, but we value it more than most.

2.) Patience

We know we’re not the easiest people to be friends with. We have so many mood swings and “irrational fears” that many people don’t understand. When we’re having an anxiety attack, you won’t be able to relate to us. Yet we need to know that you will be patient with us as we work through things.

3.) Loyalty

As our friend, it’s imperative that we know you’re loyal to us. Insecurities go hand-in-hand with anxiety, and a disloyal friend makes our insecurities unbearable. Constantly worrying about where you stand will only make our anxiety worse and ultimately end our friendship.

4.) Understanding

We need you to understand that we aren’t making things up. What we are telling you is really how we feel, even when you can’t relate. While you may have never dealt with anxiety in your personal life, we need you to understand that everything we feel and say is very real to us.

5.) Strength

Lastly, we need you to be a strong person. We understand that everyone has moments in life where they get broken down. However, we need you to be our rock. Many times in our anxiety filled lives we need someone to be strong for us. We need someone that can help us through the really dark times and tell us that everything will be okay.
While each person has something different they look for in a friendship or relationship, these tend to be at the top of our list. It may take us a while to let you in, but once we do you’ll be happy you stuck around.

Although we seem to have a lot of baggage that comes along with us, we are the most loyal people you will ever meet. A friend with anxiety may take a while to warm up to you, but once they do you’ll see the amazing soul they possess.

While anxiety is a part of us, it’s not all of us. We still have so many traits that you’ll fall in love with like being extremely clean, always on time and super organized (to name a few). You’ll start to realize not to judge a book by its cover and that life with anxiety doesn’t mean you can’t be happy.

I must say although my circle is extremely small, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They’ve seen me experience my highest highs and my lowest lows, and they’ve loved me through them all. They each possess the 5 qualities I listed above and so much more.

So if you befriend an anxious mind just be ready to commit for the long hall, because once we let you in there’s no turning back…

 

XOXO,
Myka Shantell 💋

 

 

The Unfortunate Ones.

“It’s time to distance yourself from the people who let you down, the inconsistent ones. it’s time to start loving yourself.” – Billy Chapata

 
I hate to tell you this, but you are the unfortunate ones. If you play any part in my life, I must apologize in advance. I apologize for the person you will be dealing with, the person who has changed so much over the last few years.

I apologize because you will no longer see the weak and innocent soul that once consumed this body, the girl who would do anything for anyone without a second thought.

Now, I’m not saying this generosity has been permanently removed from my DNA. I’m merely no longer naive to the ulterior motives that now seem to drive the human race. I no longer turn a blind eye to the harshness and cruelty in the world.

There was a point in my life where I would turn away from things that broke my soul…child abuse, animal torture, violence, broken hearts, etc. Yet, I discovered that those terrible things happen whether I like it or not.

Leaning to accept this uncomfortable fact allowed me to accept many things about myself as well. I learned to stop making excuses for people who hurt me time and time again. I learned to cut people out of my life that wanted to use me for what I had to offer.

Ultimately, I learned to accept the fact that the world is a cruel place filled with a human population that is overrun with sin, abuse, manipulation and negativity. I hated giving in to this reality, but as I looked back on my life I realized it too was full of unpleasant moments and memories.

Upon this realization I decided to make multiple changes in my life. I started cutting out those who had done me wrong (on numerous occasions). I started separating myself from things that didn’t bring me joy or positivity. I ran from people and things that caused me heartache.

Now, I am by no means a perfect person (I’m far from it to be honest), but I try to live a positive life by being the best person I can be. I pride myself on being a Nurse and Humanitarian, giving back to those who need it most. I try my hardest to make a positive impact in the world.

Yet, I’ve found too often that many people seem to only be looking out for themselves. Their selfish nature not only feeds their ego, but it causes them to hurt others emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically.

I’m grateful to have never experienced the latter, but mental and emotional trauma can sometimes be just as damaging.

Going back to the beginning, I must say “sorry” to everyone in my life. Unfortunately from now on you will have the realistic me, the one who doesn’t fantasize about fairytale happy endings and white picket fences.

You no longer have the girl who is willing to give and give and give with nothing in return, to be trampled on without saying a word. There is no longer a quiet soul who finds an excuse for every bad thing that happens in life. Screw that.

There will always be good and bad people in this world. There will always be heartbreak, cruelty, disappointments and sadness. I’m completely aware of this. However, in this day and age we are able to decide what kind of life we want to live.

We are in control of our own destinies, living in a world full of endless possibility. We have the freedom to move to a new city, start a new job, create our own company and include people who truly matter to us in our lives. We are no longer pinned down by our pasts or backgrounds.

In 2017, we are able to be whoever we want to be, to create a fulfilling life full of love and happiness. We are able to choose our friends, our spouse and ultimately our futures. Unfortunately, so many people will never take advantage of this fact.

I, however, will take full advantage of my choices from now on. I will be extremely selective about who is allowed in my inner circle. I will keep the thick walls up around my heart until I find the right one who is willing to patiently break them down.

I will look for people who have similar goals and aspirations, who long to make the world a better place. I will cut people out of my life without remorse if they continue to do me wrong. I’m not playing games anymore, and neither should you.

This world is full of people (7,500,000,000 to be exact) so why let a mere few take away your joy? Why let one pesky person bring you down? If someone doesn’t love you for who you are then let them go. If someone can’t understand or accept your anxiety or issues then say goodbye.

Gone are the days of compromising ourselves for those who don’t care and the times of giving ourselves to others who won’t do the same in return. We all deserve love, understanding, happiness and a fulfilling life so why let others hold us back from that?

So again, I say “sorry” to the unfortunate ones, the ones who have recently come into my life or those who have stuck by me since day one. My core values remain unchanged, but my mind has a whole new outlook.

There is heartache from the past, but the future seems so bright. I’ll no longer simply allow things to happen to me. I understand that we cannot predict the future, but I’ll now control the impact I allow those events to have in my life…and I hope you’ll do the same.

 

XOXO,
Myka Shantell 💋

Always Remember.

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” – Cesare Pavese

 

Some days you’re going to feel like giving up, like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You’ll feel like that weight is crushing you and that you no longer have the strength to stand tall.

You’ll have moments where you doubt every single decision you make, constantly wondering if you made the right choice. You’ll doubt your self-worth, abilities and who you are as a person.

No matter how great life is going there will always be moments of darkness, moments when the storm seems like it’ll never pass. The winds will howl, the rain will beat down and you’ll begin to wonder, “Why me?”

You’ll have days when you view the world as a blank canvas full of opportunities. You’ll set out for adventures and begin to learn that this enormous planet is full of more beauty than you ever imagined.

You’ll find a refreshing sense of peace while escaping the every day routine of life. You’ll explore places you’ve only read about in books, and while you’re gone you’ll feel on top of the world. Yet, when you return you may feel a sense of sadness, for the joy of adventure has faded and the mundane routine has returned.

You may fall in love, a love that turns your world into rainbows and sunshine. Eventually, however, you may find that love can quickly turn to heartbreak, and that pain may flip your world upside down.

You may start to once again doubt yourself. You may question why you were even put on this Earth if only to experience heartache and pain. You may question your relationship with God, wondering why He chose you to walk such a tough path.

You may lose a friend or loved one tragically and begin to question life itself. You may feel like you’ll never be able to overcome the grief and pain you feel. Death is such a permanent thing, and you’ll never know why they had to leave.

In this life, you’ll undoubtably experience heartache and happiness. You’ll have moments of debilitating weakness and tremendous strength. At moments, you’ll question the purpose of life, but other times you’ll admire its unfailing beauty.

There will be times when you may cry yourself to sleep, unsure of what the future holds and anxious about the times ahead. There will be moments of unexplainable joy, happiness and accomplishments. Life may start to feel like a rollercoaster of emotions with alternating highs and lows.

Yet in those moments of doubt, fear and pain I hope you always remember this…

Always remember that your mistakes do not define you, and your past does not dictate your future. Remember that in times of struggle you are never alone and that the pain won’t last forever.

When you’re feeling broken, wounded and unsure remember to reach out to those around you. Look for guidance and reassurance from those who love you most. Never stop relying on your friends and family because they will help you through even the toughest of times.

Remember to cherish your time with loved ones because nothing is guaranteed. Tell them and show them how much you love them. We never realize how much someone means until they’re gone, and regret is a horrible thing to live with.

Always remember that this life is what you make it. If you don’t like how your life is you ALWAYS have the capability to change it. Change is scary but so is living an unfulfilled life. Don’t wait until it’s too late to live the life you deserve.

Always remember to give love another chance. Our hearts have this amazing way of healing themselves even after they’ve been torn to shreds. Don’t let the wrong person from your past defer you from the right person in your present. Give love a second chance.

Remember to guard your heart, for from it everything flows. Be willing to allow someone to break down the walls you built from previous heartache, but don’t give your love too freely. The right person will be patient and willing to remove the bricks one by one.

Always remember to learn from your mistakes and to take a leap of faith. Nothing good comes from playing it safe. Even if you fail, you tried…and in the end that’s what matters. If you fall, always get back up. Nothing in this world can keep us down unless we let it.

Always remember to put yourself first. It may seem selfish, but you should always be your first priority. You deserve the love and attention you so freely give. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others. You can’t pour from an empty glass.

When anxiety begins to consume you and the darkness closes in, always remember to fight. You deserve to be here, to take up space on this Earth. If you have trouble staying strong for yourself, remember those who love you. They need you more than you know.

Always remember to allow room for change. You may not see the purpose in it right away, but God has a much bigger plan for our lives than we can even imagine. Sometimes change leads us to the things we always wanted but were too afraid to try.

Always remember to chase your dreams. Nothing in this world is impossible, it’s all about mind over matter. If you really want something you will make it happen. Even if it takes a while, continue to fight for your goals. With fierce determination comes success.

Remember to do what you can to help others because you never know when the roles may be reversed. This world is full of people seeking love, acceptance and support…be the person willing to freely give those things. The small act of giving goes such a long way.

Lastly, always remember to be yourself. There is only one of you in the world, and that is your super power. We were each put on this Earth for a reason so never stop searching for your purpose. Make your mark on the world, and it may just leave an everlasting impression on others.

 

XOXO,
Myka Shantell 💋

Finding Balance In An Unbalanced World. 

“Balance is key. In everything you do. Embrace all sides of who you are and live your authentic truth! Be brave and bold and spontaneous and loud and let that complement your abilities to find silence and patience and modesty and peace. Aim for balance. Make your own rules and don’t let anybody tell you how to live according to theirs.”Rachel Brathen

 

For most of my life I felt like I was constantly walking on a tightrope, always scared to lean too far to the left or right. I was always afraid to fall, afraid I would be unable to pick myself back up. Let’s just say balance has never been my forte.

Growing up I always jumped from one thing to another whether it was sports, academics, friends or hobbies. I’ve always had a gypsy soul that never let me focus too hard on one thing for too long.

I used to think that was just the way life was suppose to be, a never-ending cycle of things to keep my mind busy. Sure, I’d find myself completely exhausted each day, but it was so much better than sitting in silence with my thoughts. All these years later I realize that was the unwelcome work of my anxiety.

Three years ago I felt like something was just off in my life. I couldn’t explain the feeling, but it was definitely real. I felt like I would achieve a milestone I’d worked so hard for (like getting my first apartment, achieving a Bachelors in Nursing, having a real relationship, etc) but it was never enough. I was constantly searching for the next goal to check off my list.

One of the biggest ways I used my anxious energy was by giving back. I’d become a Registered Nurse because I absolutely loved helping people. I loved volunteering with various groups and doing what I could to help others. I also loved putting my all into my relationship. These things filled my soul and gave me purpose.

One day as I spoke to my Therapist about my constant need to pour myself into others, she said something that stuck with me. She told me, “you can’t fill the cups of others when your own cup is empty.” I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant at the time, but one day the lesson just clicked.

I’d been trying to do things for everyone else without ever taking care of myself. I’d never focused on my physical, mental or emotional needs and eventually my cup ran dry. I learned in that moment that my life had been completely unbalanced for far too long.

Once I experienced this epiphany, I set out on a journey to find balance in my life. However, I realized quickly the road would be tough because our world is so unbalanced. Sadly, our society is filled with enormous negativity which made it really difficult to try to make positive changes in my life.

Although the journey was tough, I stuck it out. I began searching out ways to find peace and balance in my life. I started practicing meditation, started exercising more and started making more time for God. I started doing things that I thought would bring me instant stability, yet something was still off.

I continued to speak to my Therapist about the tiny progress I was making and how frustrated I was that I still had this uneasy feeling. I still felt like I had pieces of my puzzle missing, but I couldn’t figure out what they were. I thought I was doing everything right, so what was the problem?

At that time she encouraged me to get back to things that made me happy, things that I possessed a unique gift for. She encouraged me to write about my feelings and to start doing things for myself, things that made me truly happy. Honestly, I wasn’t sure where to begin.

I’d had my own band for years, but once I moved to a new city our concert schedule had become somewhat  non-existent. I loved music, but it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind at that time. I’d just moved to a new city with a new job, and that was all I could handle with my anxiety.

After thinking about my conversation with my dear Therapist, I decided to dust off the mic and start writing/recording music again. The mere joy I felt by simply picking up my guitar and playing a song was incredible.

I started booking gigs at different venues along with making connections with some people in the industry. A spark had been rekindled the moment I brought music back into my life, and I felt like I’d found one of my missing puzzle pieces.

I started integrating music back into my everyday life. I began to learn how to balance my professional job as an RN with my fun, expressive musical career. It was a small step, but it was a step in the right direction.

After a few months of playing music, I began to have that dreaded, uneasy feeling. I started feeling the aches of my other absent piece. I couldn’t understand why this feeling wouldn’t just go away. I gave in and started exploring what else was missing in my life.

One day as I sat at my computer, I began thinking about my past struggles and my long time battle with anxiety. I’d always loved to write, and suddenly a thought came to my mind. It was in that moment that I started this blog to help myself, along with others, know that they are not alone in their hardships.

My blog took off and before I knew it, it had become a huge part of my life. I got so much joy from hearing the comments about my writings. I was able to work through my own issues while also helping others. It was a win-win that I could’ve never dreamed of. I’d finally found my last puzzle piece.

Ultimately I learned this important lesson, that we have to put in the work to find balance in our unbalanced world. With balance comes happiness, peace and tranquility. Balance allows us to find our purpose in life and live it out full force.

Some people may have that one special thing that fills their cup, and others (like me) may have several diverse pieces that make them whole. Each one of us is unique and original. There is no one in the world like you except for you.

Although the journey is never easy in achieving such tranquility, it’s never impossible. In order for us to find our harmony, we have to find the things that make us happy and use those in our everyday lives. We have to locate those missing puzzle pieces that make us whole.

Balance is something I fear our world will never completely find. There will always be tragedy, always be suffering and always be sadness. There will be negative stories and heinous crime. However, we can’t allow the world to dictate the type of life we live.

Someday you will find all of those things that make you into the complete, unique individual you were meant to be. My happiness comes from balancing my life as a Nurse, a Singer/Songwriter and a Blogger. It comes from expressing myself and helping others.

I finally learned how to fill my cup, and now I’m able to fill the cup of others around me who are struggling. I’m able to give back and encourage those who need it most, and all of this is possible because I found my balance.

So don’t be afraid to take the leap. Find the things that set your soul on fire and give you purpose. Discover the things that allow you to refill your cup over and over again…and someday you’ll be walking on the tightrope without fear of falling.

 

XOXO,
Myka Shantell 💋

 

Learning to Just Be.

“Beware of Destination Addiction: a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job or person. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.” – Robert Holden

The last few weeks have been full of anxiety for me. I’ve been planning trips, working out details of upcoming events, furthering my nursing education and keeping extremely busy to say the least.

I found it really hard to just take a moment to relax, and it started catching up with me physically and emotionally.

I’m a do-er, and I hate to sit around and wait for things to happen. I want to get out there and put my thoughts into actions. In some cases this is a good thing, but recently I was pushing my limits.

Since I was a child I’ve always found it difficult to just be happy in the present, to just be happy where I was. Every moment had to be filled with action, or my anxiety would reach an extreme level. Being in the moment is simply not in my DNA.

When I started this year of transition, I decided I wanted to look into some new practices. I wanted to do things I’d never done before.

Ultimately I wanted to create a routine that allowed me to manage my anxiety better. So I looked around a bit, and after countless hours of research I began my journey of new age spirituality.

One of the main components of new age spirituality is meditation. Honestly, I always thought it was stupid and pointless. I’d watch people meditating and think “what a bunch of crap.” However, this was a time of exploration so I thought, “what the heck, what’s it going to hurt?”

Fast forward almost a year later, and I absolutely love my meditation time. I meditate each morning for at least 10 minutes (it took me a while to be able to sit still that long), and during that time I’m able to reflect on my life.

Through meditation and other practices I’ve slowly began to realize just how important being happy in the present moment is.

Being a Pediatric Oncology Nurse I find myself constantly surrounded by grief and sadness, and sometimes it’s hard to embrace hope. Yet there is also something inspiring about watching how tough the human body can be.

We have so many blessings to be grateful for, but we consistently look for happiness in the future.

If we can’t be happy in the here and now then what’s the point? Today is all we’re guaranteed, and it’s a shame that we waste so many wonderful moments.

I look at the world we live in, and it saddens me. The world has turned to violence instead of love and understanding. While my empathetic nature forces me to feel all of the sad emotions of the world, my hopeful side has taught me to embrace the present.

Each day that we live is a precious gift that we so often take for granted. We are always looking for the next best thing, the next moment for happiness, the next opportunity to live. However, we fail to realize that now is that time.

We will never be younger than we are now. We will never be in as good of health as we are now. Our lives will always be busy, and there will always be things we can use as excuses. It’s time we start living. It’s time we start learning to just be.

So many people would be amazed at how long 5 minutes can feel when you are sitting in complete silence with yourself. I say this because I know from experience. When I first started taking time to reflect, my body sat still but my mind ran a 100 miles a minute.

It takes time and true effort to teach ourselves to stop forging ahead and see all of the blessings our lives currently hold.

There is so much beauty and wonder to be found every day. There are small miracles that are overlooked because we are too busy. Take time to embrace the magic, embrace the wonder. Take the time and learn to just be.
XOXO,
Myka Shantell