Post-It For Today

 

BOD1

 

What it means:  

It means that I make my life for myself and that I can choose what and whom I allow to effect me. These words bring me to the moment, center my thoughts and remind me that I have the power to make changes in my life and to make it how I want it to be.

 

Related: 

Your Universe

If You Can’t Think Something Nice. Don’t Think Anything At All

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Fitting In Vs. Belonging

Belonging is not fitting in. In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging. Fitting in, I’ve discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them. Belonging is something else entirely—it’s showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are—love of gourd painting, intense fear of public speaking and all.

-Brené Brown

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The Origin Story

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IMG_0115In September of 2010 Advice Over Pie was founded.  “Advice” because I knew then that I wanted to help others and “Pie” because Jessiepie is a nickname given to me by my beloved aunts.  AOP initially started as anxious ramblings attempting to put together the last 15 years that I had been in survival mode.  I had always been highly anxious, slightly bi-polar and overly dramatic, but I never had the opportunity to sit and think about why. So, I wrote.

I purged myself of 10 years of hurt and I began to feel better. AOP then took a geekier turn as I wrote about how to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse and the differences between Geeks and Nerds. I quickly got bored and AOP took a hiatus.  During that time I went through a lot of therapy and did a lot of research on anxiety, shame, vulnerability etc.  I say research because for me I was looking to get to the root of what ailed me rather than mask it with meds.  I then wanted to pass my findings onto others.

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 1999 when I was 23. I did not take care of it and spent the next 12 years generally feeling annoyed by it. By the grace of God I got through my clumsy twenties fairly unscathed physically, but mentally I was tortured. In 2009 I was settled into an unhappy relationship refusing to leave just because I was unhappy.   Afraid of yet another failed relationship on my conscience I stuck it out, praying to God that he would find someone else and leave me.  I drowned my failure at life in cheap wine and video games.  Then, while playing the Mass Multiplayer game Lord of the Rings Online, I met the one I had spent my life preparing for.  He was a dashing Human Captain and I a stunning Elf Hunter.  He saved my life from a clan of trolls.  When I thanked him for his bravery he came back with such a quick wit that I was taken aback.  I instantly wanted to talk to him more.  We each shared a love for Lord of the Rings. This passion for Tolkien and most everything geek began our conversing. Fortunately for me he was newly divorced and fortunately for him I was extremely miserable, unfortunate for both of us we were a border apart.   We met for the first time four months after talking and we quickly married six months later to begin the immigration process.  I said goodbye to my husband two days after we wed and would not see him for another month.  We spent 2010 most of the time apart.  I got really sick.  The emotional ups and downs were taking a toll on my body.  Being a “single mom” of two I didn’t see any option for taking any sick leave.  Looking back there were plenty of resources for me.  My “I can do it all by myself” attitude made me blind to it at the time.  Eventually though I had lost so much blood I had no choice but to take a week off.   I lost my job three weeks later.  I was sick, away from my husband, broke, angst ridden with nothing but time on my hands to sit around and think.

In 2012, still being sick, I started connecting with members of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease community.  A very loving, caring supportive community that I’m very happy to have found.  My most popular article was “Top 10 Things a Person with IBD Can Appreciate.”   Everyone around me was very sick and talked about nothing but how extremely sick they were. I was so sad for everyone and I wrote articles attempting to lighten the mood. I wrote tips on little things to do to bring joy during those really bad days and ways to relieve anxiety.  They all fell on deaf ears.  The community I had found didn’t want to read an article about the importance of having Love and Gratitude in order to heal.  They wanted to read stuff they could relate to.  The pain, the weakness, crappy doctors, hospital experiences, medicines. I was trying to fit in a place I didn’t belong. I wanted a community where everyone raised each other up and brainstormed about ways to feel better while sick.

Attempting to heal in a negative environment is like walking in mud. If I wanted to heal, be read, and inspired, I had to expand my audience to those who were looking for the same. This meant being vulnerable and allowing myself and my flaws to be seen. By everyone. The thought about being open and honest with everyone who knows me now and in the past was very terrifying.  What if someone who knew me at 25 finds out I’m writing “self-help” articles.  How will my family take me seriously?  Do I have to stop talking about my love for red wine?  I had to write like I wasn’t going to be read. My focus is on Self-Love and Self-Talk, because that is what helped me get healthy and it’s what keeps me healthy.  The voice in my head beating me up emotionally was keeping me sick.  I keep writing about it as therapy and in order to keep me constantly buffed.  Buff Beads came to be because that is what helps me keep my self-talk in check. I wear my beads continuously because I constantly need to keep it in check. I used to be embarrassed of Advice Over Pie and its beginnings, but not anymore. I am very proud. It is a momentum of how far I’ve come in just 4 years and it’s a reminder that I’m going to go further and continue to grow and AOP will continue to change. But, the one thing that will always stay the same is the reason I started it in the beginning. I did not want to be alone in my journey.  Stay tuned for more growth.

The Sickness Crutch

“If someone wishes for good health, one must first ask oneself if he is ready to do away with the reasons for his illness. Only then is it possible to help him.” ~ Hippocrates

Being chronically ill, it is easy for me to always have a reason for why.  Why I’m late.  Why I’m leaving early.  Why I’m not going.  Why I’m spending the day playing videogames.  Being bloated and crampy, however is not my excuse.  Up until a couple years ago “I’m not feeling well” was the most popular phrase out of my mouth.  Sure I was not feeling up to par, but if I was honest with myself I didn’t want to do it anyway.  In 2011 I had a great life.  I had everything I had ever wanted.  My dream husband, a gorgeous apartment, the ability to stay home and get better.  But, I wasn’t getting any better.  In fact, I was getting sicker.  Frustrated, I scrounged for ideas on why my medicine and healthy living wasn’t working.  I came up with the realization that being healthy scared me.  It would mean not having any more excuses.  Like many with a chronic illness I was using being sick as a crutch.  It protected me from having to work, social gatherings, being late and house hold responsibilities.  It was my go to reason why I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to do, which scared me.  This realization took me back and the thought of being sick forever terrified me.  All the things I wanted to do “when I got better” would never happen if I continued to be defined by my Ulcerative Colitis.  I am a solid believer of Einstein’s definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.”   So, I threw caution to the wind and I quit talking about being sick. I began to say “No”.   If you’ve never said an honest “No” before, I recommend you doing it. It’s very liberating and esteem building and it feels good.  And feeling mentally good is a great way to start feeling physically good.  Once, I decided that UC didn’t own my present or my future I was able to move on to other things that did.  I began to strip away the layers of my beliefs of what defined me.

My road to getting mentally and physically healthy was a long and painful road, but if I had allowed myself to continue using being sick as an excuse I would have never experienced the freedom and liberation of being healthy.  I don’t often decline invitations anymore and it’s because now that I’m feeling good, I actually want to do the things I never wanted to do before.  I wished for good health and I was ready to accept the responsibilities that came with it and I got better.  It’s been six months since the disease went into remission and every day I feel good I give thanks for feeling good.  Any days I don’t feel especially well, I allow those days to be and I say “No” where I must.

“A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us. “― Pema Chödrön, The Places that Scare You

 

Honesty: The First Step to True Self-Love

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Durilonlinessng my journey to heal myself form the inside out I had a mass period of growth.  I had been studying positive thinking for weeks and everything I had been reading and hearing was like another eureka moment.  For days I was walking around high on the new found sense of peace and unadulterated bliss.  I then hit a roadblock.  I started to realize I was beginning to feel really sapped on energy.  My foundation started to feel a little shaky and the words I had been reading that were keeping me high daily were losing their potency.  I once again was beginning to feel anxious and question people’s motives.   Memories of my past mistakes and bad experiences were not so easily brushed aside.  I tried meditating harder…grasping for my Zen fix.  I expressed gratitude more, but the words were forced. I went through my notes and quotes I had written down from books, I prayed “Please, God what is going on?  Why I am I losing it?”  My answer came to me in the form of a shame punch that literally knocked me off my feet.  Old memories, thoughts and feelings, came at me all at once.  It was a full on attack and I was completely defenseless.  I have never felt such internal pain.  I remember thinking, this is why people commit suicide.    I never wanted to experience what I was feeling ever again and in order to finally do this I had to face all the thoughts and memories that I had for years and decades refused to face.

I confided in David what was going on, when he asked what he could do I just told him “I want to be left alone.”  Which has now come to mean, “I have too much on my plate, I can’t worry about another single thing, but please don’t leave me alone.”   I began to write down in great detail every shameful, hurtful negative memory that had ever haunted me.   It was not easy and at times my hand felt so heavy.  With every memory taken from the vault and put on hard copy, I experienced relief.   It took a few days for me to get balanced, but despite being physically shaky, I had such a deep sense of peace and confidence that has since stayed with me.  I began to have eureka moments again and it’s now easier to recover from setbacks, which still do happen.   If I had known my reward for dealing with my suppressed pain was forgiveness, self-love and peace, I would have done it a long time ago.

The idea behind self-love and positive thinking is not to walk around like Botox infused smiling zombies, but to be honest with ourselves.  You will never truly feel at peace until you look at those painful memories and feelings that keep surfacing.  Big or small.  If it keeps coming up then you need to face it.  When my neck is stiff I move my head around until I find the spot on my neck that hurts and then I stretch it that way.  It really hurts to do it, but after a few times of stretching into the pain it feels better.  The same goes for painful thoughts, memories and feelings.  You need to stretch into the pain to make it better.  Stretching into the pain means getting to the root of it.  A negative situation can create a negative feeling which can create a negative event which then creates another negative feeling.  For example, a teenager’s parents are divorcing and are too preoccupied with their own pain to notice their teen is feeling lonely and insecure.   The teen begins to hang with the wrong crowd and act up and do things which as an adult they are ashamed about.  The adult has shameful memories but is unaware that really, the reason behind the event was because they were lonely.  This discovery is very healing.  The adult identifies the loneliness and *poof* the shame is forgiven. And so is any other event or feelings that are branched from that loneliness root. The memory will come up again, but the adult shows themselves compassion and says to themselves “I was very lonely.”  This gives reason behind the event that caused the shame.   If a painful memory or feeling is harassing you despite accepting it, then identify the root feeling.   If you are like me and sometimes don’t know what the heck you are feeling, having a list of negative emotions can help.

Being honest with ourselves is the first step to loving ourselves.  Identify your pain, stretch it out, and then let it go.

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame

Buff Yourself!

You Don’t Care? That’s Okay.

“I don’t care” can be a harsh statement. It can potentially throw out negativity that doesn’t have to be there. The easiest way to pass off a hurtful comment is by saying “I don’t care.” But, that’s not always the truth. “I don’t care” said with defiance can bring even more power to the hurtful comment.

It’s helpful to remember that there will always be critics. The bigger your universe becomes the more critics you will have. It’s best to accept that not everyone is going to agree with you and to be okay with that. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable it’s always a hit to the gut when you have that one person that chooses to pull the trigger and let fly their opinion. We learn quickly at a young age how to stop allowing ourselves to share and be who we are because of being knocked down. Eventually we awake as adults and realize we don’t know who the hell we are because of the walls we’ve put up. Being aware of these walls brings a sort of conflict within. On one hand it feels really good to keep going with the flow, be yourself and to not care what people think. On the other hand it’s scary because as much as you hate to admit it, another person’s negative opinion of you stings a bit. Imagine you do something you’re very proud of. Eighteen people tell you how great it is, how talented you are and to keep it up. Then one person fires off an unsolicited “constructive” criticism. Now it doesn’t matter if a hundred people tell you how great you are, that one person throws you all off. You can say “I don’t care everyone else loves me.” But you may care. The phrase “I don’t care” is overused and a lot of times not true. We are humans and we are meant to care. People are entitled to thDon't careeir opinion. These days we are bombarded with people’s entitled opinions via the internet. Instead of saying I don’t care, we should learn to accept that there are going to be critics, there are going to be people who don’t agree with everything you believe or do and there will always be people that flat out just want to argue. “I don’t care” is a brush off statement and can have a negative under tones. Saying, “That’s okay” acknowledges the critic without an argument. It allows you to stand behind your truth and gives you strength and confidence. Saying “That’s okay” after someone disagrees may defuse your critic allowing for an unheated discussion on the issue. Imagine being on the receiving end of a “That’s okay” and a loving smile. How would that make you feel? Would it make you feel validated and recognized? You may not change your mind and the other person may not either, but it neutralizes the energy and can change the course of the conversation. The best part about it all being okay is that we don’t have to dislike the person on the other side. With families and friends it’s important to realize that we aren’t always going to agree.  And that’s okay, because we love and respect each other and dammit we have a lot of fun together.  It’s no fun and adds a lot of tension if we feel we have to stand our ground on opposite ends of an issue.   All sorts of awesome things can happen from taking negativity out of words.

Criticism can be detrimental to an already fragile human being. It takes practice and courage to face criticism. When you find the truth of what you believe and who you are it gives you the stability to withstand the waves. Your armor is no longer an impenetrable wall, it is replaced by your truth and the love and respect you have for yourself.