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 💋

Today Is Tough.

“Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” – Unknown

 

Today I just needed to cry. I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and separation. Being a 29 year old single woman who lives alone has been really hard in a time like this. Add to it that I’m a Registered Nurse, and the emotions and feelings of anxiety double, triple … hell they’re in a league all their own.

I’m usually a pretty grateful person. I do a gratitude journal every morning along with my Bible study and a few other things. I drink my coffee and thank God for the multitude of blessings He’s given me. I have so much to be thankful for and very little to complain about.

Yet, here I find myself in my living room floor crying because I’m so overwhelmed with life right now. It’s the most normal chaos I’ve ever experienced. Nothing outside is crazy, everything is actually quiet and still. There’s very few cars or people anywhere you look.

You’d think that this solitude would be a nice change from the normal hustle and bustle of living in a big city, a city that is usually full of life, but really all I feel when I look at my quiet, docile city is depression.

The world is a crazy place right now.

Never in my lifetime did I think I would see something as unprecedented as this Coronavirus Pandemic. I’m an Infectious Disease RN at a hospital so when this all started I couldn’t figure out why everyone was so hysterical. I thought, “man if only people could see the type of diseases I treat everyday, they wouldn’t be so scared of this COVID-19.”

But, not long after that I understood the chaos and panic.

Little by little I started seeing new statistics and information about what was happening in the rest of the world, and I quickly realized why they were so scared. To be completely honest, it’s not the virus that’s the monster in my mind, it’s the social isolation that has felt extremely crippling to my mental health.

Everyone who struggles with mental health has a certain way of coping with it because we know our disorder will never completely go away. So instead of living in fear of our anxiety and/or depression, we learn to adapt our lives to it.

For some of us, this means taking a lot of “me” time where we can stay away from crowds and chaos. For others, that means being around family and friends in social situations where we don’t have to listen to the constant chatter in our heads.

This is me, this is my strategy for dealing with my disorder.

Yet, when this new virus finally hit, the option to get out of the house and socialize was taken away from me. I fully understand the reasoning and purpose of the shelter in place order, and I’ve abided by it. Having said that, one of the biggest triggers for my anxiety is having my options taken away.

When I feel like my freedom has been compromised in any way, I lose my shit. As Americans we’re given so many luxuries like planning our days and (most of the time) doing what our hearts desire. We can eat where we want, go to the gym, get our hair done, hang out with friends, go to sporting events … anything and everything is at our fingertips.

When those choices are taken away, I feel helpless and stuck.

I never truly realized how privileged I was until everything was shut down and taken away. I’ve been taking advantage of the wonderful country I call home, and now I honestly realize how blessed I am to live in America. I now genuinely understand why so many people want to be here, it’s the land of freedom and opportunity.

Recently I’ve seen friends losing their jobs, people struggling severely with their mental health, businesses hanging on by a thread and the world trying its best to adapt to this temporary new way of life. There’s no way we will ever be the same after this.

So, life has been a constant inner battle for me.

The Nurse in me says, “You have to be strong. You have to be an example to all of those you care about, those with less medical knowledge, because they’re scared. You can’t show weakness or others may start to panic.”

The anxious human in me says, “is this ever going to end? I’m so tired of being locked up. I’m starting to feel claustrophobic. I can’t make it one more day in this house. Why do they keep extending the date? If I don’t get out of here I’m going to lose it. I can’t do this much longer” … and on and on and on.

Every day that I wake up, I thank God for another opportunity to live this beautiful life, a privilege not all are given (there goes the Nurse in me again.) I also prepare for a mental battle, the realist vs the anxious. I prepare myself for the never ending chatter that will undoubtedly fill my mind most of the day.

I have no doubt that things will get better. We are a strong and united nation. Our country was built on resilience and has overcome every obstacle thrown its way thus far. The real question is, “How long will this quarantine last? When will life go back to normal?”

The realistic answer is, I don’t think it will go back to how it was. I believe we will come out of this situation with a new normal, and maybe that’s not a bad thing. I imagine a lot of people will have a sense of gratitude that they never had before (including me). I think that businesses will thrive, and we will be a little more inclined to help our neighbors.

I truly believe so much good will come out of this. Once the storm passes, we will see our lives in a whole new light. We’ll be thankful that we have a job to go to, that we can hug our family and friends, that we can once again plan our days as we wish.

I trust that those of us struggling with our mental health will once again restore the balance in our minds, and I pray that all of these positive predictions will come true …

But for now, today is tough.

 

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell 💋

 

Without Me.

“Tell me how’s it feel sittin’ up there, feeling so high but too far away to hold me. You know I’m the one who put you up there, name in the sky does it ever get lonely? Thinking you could live without me…” – Halsey

 

This is a letter to those who’ve hurt me, discouraged me, threw me away like a piece of trash. This is a message to those who’ve trampled on me repeatedly and made me feel like I was worthless.

This is a note to those who’ve taken advantage of my genuine soul, those who’ve ripped my heart to shreds and those who’ve kicked me while I was down. This is to you who’ve made me forget my greatness, who’ve watched me drown all while holding a life raft.

This goes out to those who’ve caused me pain and misery, who’ve brought me to my knees in tears. This is to those who’ve made me question who I am and all I have to offer.

This is for those who were disloyal, unfaithful and straight up assholes. The ones who couldn’t truly love if their lives depended on it. This is for those who’ve led me on and repeatedly gotten my hopes up.

All I have to say is … get used to life without me.

My kindness will no longer be taken for weakness. No longer will I ignore the red flags that I so often turn a blind eye to. There’s no more free passes or repeated chances to be given. You’ll have to learn to live without me.

From now on I will be strong. I’ll spread my wings and fly like the goddess that I am, and I’ll rise like a Phoenix from the ashes. I’ll doubt myself and my abilities no more. I’m never letting anyone make me feel bad about who and how I am ever again.

This I promise to you … you will miss me. You’ll miss my friendship, my love, my never ending supply of compassion. You’ll miss my forgiving heart and my ability to see past all the pain you caused me.

You’ll miss me bending over backwards to make you happy and the constant effort I put in to you. You’ll miss having someone you never had to worry about, someone who was loyal to a fault.

You’ll miss the comfort of having someone so dedicated to you by your side, someone who would’ve taken a bullet for you. You’ll begin to realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and that losing me didn’t fix the problems in your mind.

One day, you’ll realize that you destroyed and threw away the best thing you ever had, and you’ll finally see that you made the biggest mistake of your life. You’ll search and search, but you’ll never find the things I could offer you in someone else.

You’ll never find another me.

But when that day of realization comes, I won’t be there to wipe away your tears or even see your pain. I’ll be long gone, on to the next, living life to the fullest. I’ll be so wrapped up in my new life that I won’t have time to see (or care) how you’re doing without me.

I feel sorry for you. I feel so bad that you couldn’t appreciate what you had when you had it. I pity you because I know you’ll never be truly happy with yourself. You’ll forever be fighting the demons in your mind because instead of fixing them you run away.

Maybe one day you’ll realize that no one is perfect, that everyone struggles with something. Maybe you’ll see that life is better with someone in it and that you never had to face your problems all alone.

Maybe one day you’ll understand that life is a journey with twists and turns, ups and downs, but true love is worth fighting for. Maybe one day you’ll look in the mirror and see how you aren’t perfect either.

I hope one day you can understand that you placed unrealistic expectations on everyone else without holding yourself to that same standard. Maybe one day you’ll realize that you were selfish, conceited and narcissistic.

Maybe one day you’ll comprehend all of these things, but again I won’t be there. I’ll be long gone, on to bigger and better. I’ll be in the arms of someone who understands my worth and values me as a person.

I’ll be with someone who never makes me question their love or loyalty. I’ll be with someone who thinks I’m beautiful just the way I am, someone who treats me like a Queen. I’ll be with someone who never wants to live without me.

Deep down, I really wish you well. I’d be lying if I said I never cared or wanted anything but the best for you. I just hope that you find the life you always wanted … without me.

 

 

XOXO,

Someone You Could Live Without

 

 

Timing Is Everything.

“And then it happens…One day you wake up and you’re in this place where everything feels right. Your heart is calm. Your soul is lit. Your thoughts are positive. Your vision is clear. You’re at peace with where you’ve been, at peace with what you’ve been through and at peace with where you’re headed.” – Anonymous

 

Timing is one of the most beautiful and most frustrating concepts in the world. When the timing of things works out perfectly, it restores our hope and makes everything seem like it’s going to be okay. Yet, when it’s not on our side, it can cause a darkness that we feel we may never escape.

Honestly, I find this to be a very interesting time in my life. Almost all of my friends are in serious, committed relationships, moving in with significant others, getting married and starting families (or even doing all of the above).

I mean, I guess this time in my life was bound to happen, after all, I am about to turn 29 years old. In this generation, I’m considered old for being where I’m at in my life, but hey it’s my life so it’s all good.

As I look at how my friend group has evolved over the last few years I can’t help but smile for them. I’m seeing more and more happiness entering their lives and watching them transform into amazing husbands, wives, parents, professionals and overall great human beings.

This evolution makes my heart so full of joy for the ones I love. Seeing the timing of their lives play out just the way it was meant to after knowing their struggles is simply beautiful.

Now, just because I personally haven’t checked off those boxes yet doesn’t mean I’m behind in life, it just means that my life has a slightly different timeline. We all live at our own pace, but one thing I’ve learned is that as long as we do what’s best for our souls and create a life we truly love, things will always fall into place (definitely easier said than done).

Now don’t get me wrong, anxiety frequently causes us Anxious Minds enormous amounts of grief by making us feel like we have to keep up with everyone around us. It can make us settle for less than we deserve, feel very unworthy and bring out our darkest fears.

The pressure to measure up with society’s norms is often overwhelming. If we haven’t accomplished certain milestones by certain ages, it starts to feel like the timing of our lives may be eternally off.

And let me tell you, society won’t let you forget that you’re falling behind by their standards.

Living in this day and age with anxiety is one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. We’re constantly seeing others’ “happiness” being shoved down our throats on social media, being asked by family members when we’re going to find the one and getting little encouragement that doing our best is good enough.

I wish people would realize that every person is struggling with something, some more than others. A little positivity and reassurance goes a long way, especially when it comes to someone dealing with anxiety.

Of course I want all of those things that I listed earlier. If I had it my way, I’d already have them all checked off, but that’s just not the plan God has for my life. While I frequently get frustrated with not knowing why my path is different, all I can do is patiently wait for His timing.

Again, beautiful and frustrating all in one.

As I was dealing with the irrational, unending doubts in my head last night laying in bed something clicked in my mind. Why do I stress so much about stuff and people that I have absolutely no control over? Why do I allow society to dictate what is right and wrong about my life?

I so often forget that the story of my life has already been predestined, and as annoying as that can be throwing a tantrum about it will get me no where. Things have rarely worked out the way I thought they would and yet I’m still here, alive and breathing.

There were plenty of moments I thought I’d never make it through, yet as I sit here and reflect on them I’m so grateful that they didn’t work out the way I wanted. No’s are often God’s way of telling us that something better is in store for us.

It’s time to stop stealing the pen from the One who is in control of writing our stories. Only God knows what is truly meant for us and will make sure it enters our lives at the exact right moment.

His timing is always perfect.

Yes, I know it’s hard to wait. I struggle with patience every single day. No one can understand that inner battle more than me, but all we can do is continue to put one foot in front of the other and believe that our time is coming.

We have to believe that the timing of our life is playing out just the way it was fated to, and that one day all the trials and tribulations will make sense. One day we will have all we’ve ever wanted and so much more.

Until that day comes my Anxious Minds, we’ve got each other. For now, that will have to do.

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell 💋

Lonely Girl.

“And in the end all I learned was how to be strong … alone.” – Anonymous

 

Lonely girl, alone she stands
Searching for her place
Looking, looking far and wide
Then drifting into space
The love, the joy she once had craved
Was no where to be found
In her quest she disappeared
A shadow on the ground.
Lonely girl, she numbed herself
To all the pain she felt
No need to run, no need to fight
The cards that she was dealt
Her biggest fear had now come true
She sat there all alone
Abandoned, used and left behind
With no where to call home
No one to care, no one to call
No reason to hold on
The life she thought she once would have
Suddenly was gone.
Lonely girl, poor little thing
So easily replaced
No thinking twice or turning back
A memory erased
One by one the doubts crept in
And settled in her soul
Day by day she lost herself
It finally took its toll
And now she’s just a lonely girl
Unsure of what to do
Hoping maybe one day
Someone will break through.

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell 💋

*Copyright 2019

It’s Not Me, It’s You.

“If your heart hurts a little after letting go of someone, that’s okay. It just means that your feelings were genuine. No one likes ends. And no one likes pain. But sometimes, we have to put things that were once good to an end after they turn toxic to our wellbeing. Not every new beginning is meant to last forever. And not every person who walks into your life is meant to stay.” – Najwa Zebian

 

Everything was going so perfect, so right, and then one day everything changed as fast as a flash of lightening. What in the hell happened? What did I do wrong?

All I ever did was try to be the best person I could be, to love without fear, to let go of every lie that my anxiety constantly told me. I tried to be better, I tried to finally let down my walls.

Yet, nothing was good enough, and the end result was once again the same.

Many of us have experienced this all too real feeling of heartbreak and disappointment. Unfortunately, it seems like most of us are forced to go through it more than once in life.

Anxiety will always try to tell us that the heartbreaks and struggles in our lives were our own fault. If only we’d been better, prettier, stronger, more … anything, then this wouldn’t have happened.

It sends us down into a rabbit hole of darkness and self-doubt (a very scary place to be). Once we’ve fallen, it’s nearly impossible to find our way back out.

We spend hours, days and weeks trying to figure out how things could’ve been different. We search for every possible clue that could point us to some sort of resolution and closure for the pain we’re enduring, though we never seem to find it.

Anxiety will always make us feel like the failure in the situation no matter what, even when we had absolutely nothing to do with the decisions that others made.

All of this, in turn, results in weeks and even months of questioning our worth, criticizing ourselves and hitting rock bottom. We can’t understand what happened, and we get angry when we realize we can’t fix it.

You can’t change someone’s mind when the decision had nothing to do with you.

So instead of simply letting go, moving on and doing the whole “I know my worth” thing, we harp on every single detail of the past. We over-analyze every memory until we’ve gotten ourselves back into that dark place.

I totally understand this relentless cycle because I’ve been there many times before. Yet, today I generated a new perspective of heartbreak and negative situations.

IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU.

This is my new mantra. Screw the stupid anxious thoughts in our heads that make us put the blame on ourselves. We did absolutely nothing wrong. The way others treat us is only a reflection of themselves, not us.

If something was meant to be, it would work out without question or doubt. I don’t know about you, but I have no more time for bullshit.

Words are now merely words, it’s all about actions.

I don’t want to hear, “You’re seriously amazing, I just need to figure things out” or “you are the best thing that’s happened to me it’s just not going to work” or whatever other cheesy movie lines can be thrown at me. Forget that BS.

If someone really means the world to you, you do everything and anything to keep them.

Anyone who tries to tell you that it’s just not the right time or maybe things will work out in the future, leave them behind because they are making excuses. They’re trying to let you down easy so that they won’t have to feel so bad about breaking your heart.

I’m here to tell you that each of you are warriors. We all face invisible battles every single day, and somehow we still show up. Each day we put one foot in front of the other and make it through.

We rarely receive sympathy or understanding from others because if the world can’t physically see it, it’s as if it doesn’t exist (aka Mental Health Disorders). If only people knew the inner struggle we battle every day.

But back to my point.

Ladies and gentleman, never let someone’s decision to turn their back on you or leave you behind define you. Don’t let it send you down that dark rabbit hole like it has in the past.

The older we get and the longer we deal with a mental health disorder, the stronger we become. Have faith in yourself. Love yourself as deeply as you love others. Look in the mirror and realize that you are a diamond.

You’ve been through tough things, and yet here you are still standing. If someone can’t see your worth and all that you bring to the table then let them go. If they’re willing to release you and risk losing you forever then tell them “goodbye.”

With anxiety, when we love we love hard. When we drop down our guards, it’s a huge deal to us. When we fall, we fall completely. This is both our greatest strength and our biggest weakness.

One day that person who left you behind will realize their mistake. They’ll see that they let go of someone who understands the struggle, someone who would’ve supported them no matter what.

They’ll look back with regret of losing someone with unwavering strength, loyalty and undying love. But by that time, it’ll be too late.

Once you’ve shown an Anxious Mind your true colors their trust is forever broken. Not saying it can’t be earned back, but boy is that a tall mountain to climb.

My dear Anxious Minds, please always remember your worth. When people let you down (and unfortunately they will) never forget that the darkness is only temporary.

The sun will shine again.

You will heal, you’ll become stronger and eventually you’ll find that one person who will never turn away. You’ll find the one who will love you unconditionally and never make you doubt yourself again.

This person will hold sacred every milestone that you reach together. They’ll do everything in their power to keep you, to be your safe place from the monsters in your head and to show you a life of love that you truly deserve.

Hang in there my friends, and remember it’s not you it’s them.

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell 💋

Cut The Cord.

“Let today be the day you finally release yourself from the imprisonment of past grudges and anger. Simplify your life. Let go of the poisonous past and live the abundantly beautiful present … today.” – Steve Maraboli

 

Over the past four years, I’ve built up some pretty steep walls around my heart. The last relationship I was in showed me that letting my guard down is dangerous. My heart and mind had to find a way to protect themselves, hence the insane amount of mistrust and second guessing I constantly feel.

You see, when someone with a Mental Health Disorder goes through heartbreak, it’s a totally different process. Now, I understand that heartache definitely hurts no matter who you are, but these heartbreaks are catastrophic to us Anxious Minds.

The moment you break the trust of someone with Anxiety you’ve doomed them from trusting anyone else for a really long time. It takes so much damn courage for us to place our hearts in your hands that when you break it, we hit rock bottom.

Honestly, I don’t even think I realized how much past heartbreaks affected me until I began a new relationship that brought up feelings I didn’t even know were there. All of the sudden self-doubt, distrust and feelings of impending disappointment began to flood my mind.

I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop because it seemed too damn good to be true (which in my mind meant that it was).

I started feeling these emotions that I thought were long dead and gone. After four years my hope for true happiness had began to seem more like an impossible fairytale, the kind we dream of as children.

Until one day, the day that everything changed.

I think the most terrifying emotion that emerged from this new found happiness was the thought that it could end just as gut-wrenching and traumatizing as the last one. My heart wanted to let him in, but my mind kept constantly reminding me of what happened the last time I let my guard down.

I knew that he deserved 100% of me because that’s only fair in a relationship, but I was so extremely hesitant to even consider giving him a glimpse inside the real me. What if I wasn’t good enough? What if he didn’t like what he saw?

Anxious thoughts consumed my mind for weeks, and I just put on the show of the perfect girlfriend. I was constantly being who I thought I should be instead of who I truly am. That was a really tough act to keep up, but I honestly didn’t know what else to do.

I always felt like I had this one last string that was tying me to my traumatic experiences of the past. I had done the work, gone to therapy, journaled and worked through my feelings, but I never knew there was one last cord hiding somewhere that I couldn’t see.

This string was the final connection between what could be the happiest times of my life and the memories and feelings of the most crushing times I’d ever experienced. I knew what I had to do, but I was afraid to cut the cord.

Don’t ask me why because I honestly don’t know.

I knew the amazing and wonderful things that were sitting in front of me just waiting for me to let go of the past, but deciding to take that leap of faith again is one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in a long time.

I knew that cutting that cord meant jumping in with both feet, no holds bar, no looking back. I knew that it meant giving 100% of myself and letting down all those walls I’d worked so hard to build.

It meant giving love another chance.

So for the next few weeks I pondered the idea and fought a battle inside my head. I listed the pros and cons, I tried to reason with myself, I explained the benefits of this new opportunity again and again.

And finally, after weeks and weeks of anxious thoughts and sleepless nights, I decided to cut the cord. I decided that no way, no how were my fears and past experiences going to deter me from what I feel like is the best thing to ever happen to me.

He is worth every risk. He’s worth opening my heart up at the chance of it being torn apart. He’s worth putting myself out there for rejection. He’s worth every possible thing that could go wrong because he’s everything I’ve ever wanted and more.

I’m not willing to let my fear and anxiety keep me from someone so wonderful.

So as terrified as I am to start this new journey with an open heart and an open mind, I’m also so ridiculously excited to see where it goes. Not only is this a new chapter as a significant other, but it’s also a new chapter for me personally.

In life, we can either continue to be afraid of the things that broke us, or we can rise from the flames like a phoenix from the ashes. We can take those lessons we’ve learned from past relationships and use them to improve ourselves and our future romances.

If we never open our hearts back up to love, we will forever be alone. If we’re constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, we’re going to push others away. If we can’t eventually let down our guards, we’ll never know what might have been.

As crazy as it seems, the moment we finally release all the fear, resentment and hesitation that’s been holding us back is the moment the enormously heavy weight is lifted from our hearts.

And let me tell you, it’s a remarkably wonderful feeling.

My amazingly wise Mother told me, “don’t make someone in your present pay for the mistakes of someone in your past.” That really hit me. This new person deserves our everything. They deserve to receive every part of us, the good, bad and the ugly.

Every person’s journey is different. For some is only takes a few months to feel ready and willing to open up to another, and for others (like me) it takes years. No matter what your journey looks like the main thing is this … always be willing to give love another chance.

Be willing to cut the cord that is tying you to your past and holding you back from what could be the best parts of your life. We have one life to live and not much time to live it. Don’t let someone who didn’t know how to love you keep you from the one who was meant to love you all along.

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell 💋

 

 

Hard To Love.

“I know I’m not easy to love. I’m a chronic over-thinker, I overreact more than I should…And every once in a while, I might be a little insecure. But if I’m in love with you, I can promise you wholeheartedly that you will be loved with so much passion and intensity. That you’ll forget what life felt like before I came along. You will always be cared for, and you will always have someone in your corner. Maybe I’m not the best at being loved – But I like to think I’m pretty good at loving.”  — Chelsea Carroll

 

I’m hard to love. At the first sign of a red flag or the first glance of your fear of commitment, I’ll bolt. I don’t have time for games, not anymore.

There was a time when I was patient with love, willing to bend and mold myself to be who I was told I needed to be. I was full of insecurities because of all the late night rendezvous, lame excuses and shady behavior.

I’m hard to love, not because I want to be but because that’s the way life has made me. My DNA is woven with never-ending thoughts of worst case scenarios. What may seem like a simple conversation to you is dissected by my brain until I’ve picked apart and over-analyzed every single detail.

This is the curse of an anxious mind.

I’m hard to love. I’ve been bruised and scarred by infidelities, lies, secrets and words that cut me to the core. I’ve been the one who was blamed for their transgressions and the sad thing is I thought it was my fault.

I tried to ignore all the warning signs, just chalking it up to my over-active imagination, but come to find out my gut was completely right. Ultimately, it was me who paid the price for not listening.

Stupid girl.

If only I would’ve been better, smarter, prettier, funnier, more charming … then they wouldn’t have thrown away everything like a piece of trash (or so I thought).

I’ve laid on the floor for hours, sobbing and feeling numb to everyone and everything, unable to eat or move or breathe. My brain couldn’t comprehend the destruction that had just ripped through my life like a tornado.

I’m supposed to be smarter and stronger than that. I’m not supposed to let anyone bring me down, but I did…repeatedly. I took the pain over and over again because that’s the only kind of love I could seem to find.

I take things personally, even when they aren’t meant to be. I find fault in myself and sometimes when the going gets tough, I break down. My mind shifts to overdrive and can’t make sense of the chaos, and at that point I pull away.

I’m hard to love because the moment I feel like you’ve got one foot out the door, I’m done. One time cheating, I’m done. Unwillingness to admit fault and work on things, I’m done. Shady lies and excuses, I’m done. I think you get the point…

I now have zero tolerance for bullshit.

I know I’m not easy to love, and that’s not a challenge that everyone can or is willing to take on. It takes a lot of time and patience to love someone with a Mental Health Disorder, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t worth it.

They say to “trust the overthinker who tells you they love you because they have most assuredly thought of every reason not to.” This quote couldn’t be more true.

I may be hard to love, but when I love someone I love deep. If I truly love someone, I go full force and do everything in my power to make them happy. I’m a people pleaser, and making others happy brings me joy.

However there’s still this other side of me, the wounded side, that won’t completely let down my guard until I’m sure of someone. Unfortunately, I haven’t been sure of anyone in a long time, and during those years my wall has grown taller and nearly impenetrable.

Now, I’m not sure if anyone can tear it down.

I know it may not seem fair to be so unforgiving when it comes to finding love, but you can thank the world for that. You can thank all the losers who have done nothing but prove my point time and time again.

I’m hard to love. I make no excuses for this fact, and I know I’m far from perfect. I’ve made mistakes and let people down. I’ve had one foot out the door and been unable to let my guard down before.

But what do you expect when all you’ve found in your attempts at love is heartache and misery?

I’m hard to love, but there are reasons. I’ve learned to be my own knight in shining armor, to never depend on anyone else and to not be trusting of others. I’ve removed all the gullibility I once possessed and replaced it with unrelenting strength.

There’s nothing wrong with being hard to love because ultimately we have to be our own savior, our own warrior. We have to love ourselves before we can ever truly love someone else.

We have to work past our demons and decide that we’re ready to truly give someone a chance. We have to be open to change and willing to slowly surrender ourselves to that person, all while bringing down that wall.

So be hard to love and wait for the right one who will tear down your walls, erase all your fears and prove your past experiences wrong. Be strong, be you and be patient. The right one will be worth the wait.

 

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💋

Today Is Hard.

“It is the hard days, the days that challenge you to your very core that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”  – Sheryl Sandberg

 

Today is hard. I’ve yet again had another door slammed in my face, another rejection that’s left me lost and confused.

I keep trying and holding my head up high, but the weight of disappointment is quickly dragging me down. I feel stuck in a pit of sinking sand that I can’t seem to escape.

I haven’t quite figured out the magic formula that will lift me out of these hardships, probably because in the back of my mind I know it doesn’t exist.

There is no magic cure for Mental Health Disorders, and honestly that pisses me off.

It doesn’t matter how many books I read, how many times I meditate or how many journal entries I write, my anxiety is always there. It’s always just waiting for the smallest of openings to creep back in.

Today is hard. I found myself struggling to merely get out of bed, and unfortunately this happens more that I’d like to admit. I have so many amazing things and people to live for and so much to do in this life.

Why does every morning have to be a struggle?

I numb my mind, my anxious thoughts, with TV or unimportant tasks just trying to not think about the judgements lingering in my head. I let my passions suffer because I’m too damn tired to fight the monsters in my mind.

The worst part of dealing with a Mental Health Disorder is that even when you have weeks or even months of good, you always know that the bad times are just up ahead.

You never know when they’ll strike, but trust me they’re there.

Today is hard. I feel like screaming and shouting at the top of my lungs merely to find relief from these feelings I’m holding inside, but I know that I have to keep it together. I don’t want to worry the ones I love and frankly I don’t want to let my anxiety win.

So instead of screaming and having a complete meltdown, I write this blog entry. I let my words speak for themselves so I can clear at least a fraction of my mind, so that I can maybe find some sanity.

It feels good to release all of these lingering doubts, fears and negative emotions, even if only for a while. It won’t be long until my mind is once again filled to the brim with worry, but for now I’ll cherish the peace and quiet.

Today was supposed to be a new start, a fresh beginning. I was hoping for positive news and an end to the mental suffering I’d been experiencing. Yet before I could even get out of bed, I received the complete opposite news.

It sucks, it really sucks to have such a hopeful, positive outlook. It sucks to think, this is the day when it all changes, when I break the chains that have been recently holding me down only to find out that my hope was naive.

Negative self talk immediately creeps in and again I find myself in a hole that I’d just escaped.

Each time I’m knocked down it makes me lose hope that things will ever change. It takes away the excitement of new opportunities because, what I’ve seen from the past few years is that excitement only leads to disappointment.

And once again I’m lost, looking for the next opportunity but not even sure of what I’m hoping to find.

All these doubts start to creep in and cloud my judgement. They make me take ten steps back in my progression towards mastering my anxiety, and suddenly I’m left to pick up all the pieces by myself yet again.

Today is hard. It’s hard because I constantly battle with the angel and devil on my shoulders. I know I shouldn’t let these refusals get to me. I know what I have to offer to the world, and it’s damn good.

I know I should push forward and take some of my own advice that I so freely give to others. However, I’ve experienced more rejection in the last 6 months than I have in the last 6 years, and I’m finding it really hard to deal.

I always say when the time is right, things will work out the way they’re meant to, and I truly believe that. The angel on my shoulder reminds me that I live a wonderfully blessed life, and I have so much to be thankful for.

However, the angel is meek, quiet and subtle. The devil on my other shoulder screams lies and insecurities to me, reminding me of my doubts and failures. He’s like a loud yet invisible sound that I find hard to ignore.

Eventually his words creep in my head and I’m left to deal with anxiety on top of anxiety. I wish he would just SHUT UP.

Today is hard. I’ve got self love and self hate, strength and weakness, doubts and reassurances all going through my head at the same time.

Welcome to life with anxiety.

Although this post seems like a negative narrative, it’s really not. By putting these words on paper I’m able to sort through these clashing thoughts. I’m able to think through the truths and the lies one by one.

Ultimately, my goal of each post is to show the true battle of Mental Health Disorders, to give you an real view of what happens inside an anxious mind.

We all have a devil and an angel. We all experience hard and good days, and in the end we’ve survived 100% of the bad ones. So never let that devil win, never let him take away that beautiful person that you are.

Listen for the quiet reassurances of the angel, and know that even though today is hard it’s not impossible. We will survive together.

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell💋