Changes : the introduction

I prompt this blog post by a tweet from Hannah Brencher:

"Write about the things that change you."

And man, when I think about the things that have changed me…well, I feel like I could write an entire book. Like there aren't just things that have changed me…there are people, places, events, days, that have changed me, and made me the person I am right now. Change is constantly happening, and I don't think I'm as aware of it as I should be. Or maybe I'm not aware of where I am in the moment until a change happens, and I notice where I am, and where I'm headed. Wow, change is a crazy topic.

Hmm…should this be a new blog series? I just thought about this as I was typing. Recently, blog series have been difficult for me to accomplish because I'll be in the middle of a series, and then I'll want to write about something else, but I feel the need to continue the series instead of writing what I felt I should write. Does that make sense? I don't know how I was able to write series' so easily last year. Maybe it shows a change or growth in my writing? If so, that would be dope!

Maybe I'll just take it and run with it for a while until I get sick of it. Seriously, the mind of a writer, guys…it's not as organized as I thought it would be!

But, hey, I guess since sticking with a series has deemed itself a challenge, why not?

So, with that being said…welcome to this new series: Changes

Tomorrow, let's talk about the people who've changed me. I mean, there are so many, but maybe I'll just hit the highlights for y'all haha!

I personally thought it was kind of cool how I wrote out my thought process about my writing for the next few days to all of you? Anyone else think it was kinda cool? Just me? Awesome. I don't think this was the first time I've done that. But hey, content, right?

Can't wait to write to you all tomorrow. Thanks for riding along with me!

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

favorite day of the week.

I write this post exhausted, and sad that I didn't blog yesterday. Grr. Oh well, moving on…

It's Saturday, my favorite day of the week! And this is what's been happening…

This weekend marks the first weekend in like three weekends that I'll be home, not traveling to theme parks or Atlanta for concerts or meet-ups. And I'm grateful for it because it's been pretty restful – I slept in and slowly got myself ready for today. I got to talk to some friends who live miles away from me, and laugh with them. I hung out with my sister and treated her to a sushi dinner, something we both hadn't done in a while. I got to take pictures again around downtown, and feel super accomplished about it. Both of my roommates are gone, so I took the opportunity to dance in front of one of their full-length mirrors (thank you for letting me do it lol).

Even though a small part of me is a little stressed and overwhelmed about some things, I think back on my day and realize that I'm okay right now. Truly, I am.

And I was talking with one of the writer's who regularly contributes to my #JustStartWriting website, and she informed me of a major anniversary for her writing and mine, and it honestly has me so humbled and in awe of how God has been moving in my life and writing, and in hers as well. Like, a year ago today, I couldn't imagine what writing a blog post every day would create; how God would use my faith and faithfulness and trust to inspire her. How her writing would continue to shape and grow through the same process of trusting and sticking with it. Praise be to God; this is crazy.

It's got me excited for what's to come in the next year. Where in the world is God going to have us both in our lives, and in our writing? I used to be so nervous about the future and its uncertainty. Maybe it was because I was skeptical that anything positive could happen with where I was in my life; my mindset was focused on all the wrong things back then. And even now, it's still hard to focus on the right things, but I've been learning on how to really push myself to hone in on what really matters.

But Saturday is not quite over (I mean, it almost is, but…)! After a shower, I'll talk to some more friends before bed, probably make a to-do list for tomorrow, and get some sleep for church in the morning.

I'm excited because tomorrow I'll actually be able to have a somewhat restful and productive day – going to do some adult things like grocery shopping and cooking, but hopefully do some relaxing and renewing things too. It's going to be awesome.

Until Monday, luvvies!

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

this season

Tonight, I was encouraged during a dinner I had with some friends. Each friend possesses a different creative spirit – one is a musician, the other an artist/businesses owner – and they both inspire me to continue in my own creative field of writing/spoken word.

We talked about each of our own creative endeavors and experiences, our goals. We also touched on where we currently are in life – one of those friends and I are in the midst of a living transition as we try to find a place to live together. The other friend has this grand idea, and is wanting to execute it within a certain time, and involve as many creative/artistic people she knows. We briefly spoke of our college days, which now seem like a distant memory or even a dream compared to the lives we're living right now.

And as I sit here in my bedroom, thinking about the season I'm currently in and seasons that I've passed through, I am trying to think of the goals I have in mind for the future, and how I can make a plan, and start executing that plan. Honestly, I've been in the planning season for a while, and I've also been trying to prioritize other things, like my health.

But I don't want my goals and dreams to sit on the bench; yes, what I've been trying to prioritize is important, but I also need to make sure that I'm doing something every day to obtain my dreams. I think for the remainder of my night, I'm going to sit here and really ask myself what I want to accomplish / where I want to be this time next week, next month, next year.

It's scary to come up with a plan, sometimes. One of my friends pointed out tonight that there's just something about making an actual plan to reach a goal that seems intimidating, and it sometimes stops us from really thinking through the process and achieving our goals. Maybe it's seeing how many steps we have to take. Maybe there's one particular step that requires us to really get out of our comfort zone.

But if there's one thing I've learned, planning and process is so important. And tonight, I realized that in a way, I've kind of been avoiding the planning process probably because I'm a little fearful of it. I've been focusing on other things I need to focus on, but at the same time, I knew I should be working on my craft.

No fear, though. Time to take advantage of this season.

What kind of season are you in? Are you doing things that are actually productive to you and where you want to eventually be? Ask yourself where you want to be next week, next month, next year; sit down and write those things down. Now write out how you're going to get there, no matter how crazy or scary it seems. Get together with a close friend and share these things with them, and come up with ways to stay proactive within your plans. 

We got this, luvvies!

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

“The Cycle”

Yesterday, I was honestly in a funk. I had already had a mentally and emotionally rough week, and I think it all just peaked yesterday. As I've grown older, I've become more comfortable with who I am in all aspects, especially physically. But unfortunately, I still have those days – those days when I don't feel very beautiful, or when I don't feel like my personality is enough for people.

But I know that these thoughts are lies; I know that I am so much more than what I feel like sometimes. I am worth so much more than other people's opinions. Yet, I just hate that I still find myself in this cycle of being okay with myself, and then not being content with myself if something happens, or someone says something, or maybe just because I'm just not feeling who I am that day.

So, I just wrote a little something last night to reflect how I was feeling. I'm feeling better today, for sure. But I wish there was someway this mental, self-esteem cycle of mine could just stop, and I could be content with who I am all the time.

"The Cycle"

The cycle is treacherous.

I find myself confident, willing to see the beauty and value in myself for a good while. Able to understand that my worth and value don't lie in other people's opinions, other people's words. Who I am isn't based on the color of my skin, or the music I listen to.

It's based on the mere fact that I am part of the Lord's creation; a unique form to behold. And all that matters is He loves me unconditionally, no matter what happens or what I'm told.

But then as the cycle makes its course,
My esteem is emptied, wasted on caring too much about what others think of me,
Comparing myself to girls who look nothing like me, say things differently, listen to music or are a part of things that are more popular than what I am interested in.
The self I used to love becomes a self I now loathe,  and I can't bear to look myself in the mirror, and admit that I am beautiful.

It hurts too much.

The cycle must be broken – I'm over following this trend of constantly feeling great about myself, and then having something not go my way, or not hearing an affirmation I wanted someone to say, which causes my esteem to be at risk.
I'm tired of the negative, mental list I make about myself, all of it rooted in two words – "not enough."

Luvvy, that's a lie, and you know it.
The stuff you want to focus on is nothing but distractions wanting to chip away at the masterpiece you are. You're worth more than those empty declarations that want to crush you beneath those awful statements.
Break the chains of those harsh judgments that bind you to the cycle of loving then loathing then loving yourself. Be free to continue to love who you are, and who you're becoming. Why wait for someone to fall in love with you when one of the most beautiful things you can do is fall in love with yourself, and the Creator who made you?

Be free to believe these things – You are worthy. You are loved. You are enough. End of story. 💙

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

“Today I Affirm…” with Alex Elle, Day 4 – Despite the Failure

"Today I Affirm…"

"my failures will not stop me from enjoying the journey." – Alex Elle

Words: "Enjoy," "Journey," "Failure"

The morning mantra for this is as follows: "I am allowed to fail. I am allowed to succeed. My worth is not contingent on my ability to avoid shortcomings. I am worthy through my good times and my bad. I will enjoy my journey fully, truly, and without apology." – Alex Elle

This is honestly perfect for today because from the moment I woke up this morning, I encountered a few small failures.

The first one? Forgetting to take my contacts out before going to bed last night. So I woke up wondering why my vision was slightly blurry, and why I couldn't really open my eyes fully. That would be why.

The second one? I got to work and, after thirty minutes of being there, realized I should have been there an hour ago. Oops. It was my first week with this new schedule change, and I'd completely forgotten. And I felt terrible because I'd let my co-teacher deal with seven one-year-olds for a solid hour or so all by herself. Oh boy.

And the last one? I was expecting to record a new spoken word poem tonight with a friend, and when I went to text him to make sure he was still coming, I realized I never answered his text from earlier this week about pushing back our time. So, who knows if that's even happening anymore tonight.

On top of those three failures, I haven't gone to the gym nearly as often as I normally do, and my eating habits have been total crap all week. If you were to ask me what I think my main source of food has been this week, I may answer chocolate. Whether or not that's true, I can't tell you. I just know that a whole ton of it has been consumed, more so than in the past few weeks. And I don't feel good about it.

You're probably reading all of that and thinking, Mishy, what. Okay, so what you did all those things, it's whatever.

But I don't take failures well because, as some of you already know from reading past posts of mine, I'm a perfectionist. Ever since I was a child, and realized the difference between a success and a failure, I vowed to myself that I'd be the one making all successes, and taking no "L's" ("losses" for those who don't know the slang), and it wasn't a good time for me or those around me when I failed. As I've grown older, I've done way better at accepting failures, but I still have my moments. Like today's three little failures didn't really affect me much; I did mentally kick myself a little though.

One of the failures I still take really hard though is when I repeat a mistake. Have you ever done that? Have you done something, failed, then tried again later in a different way, but then it still resulted in the same failure? I'm not talking about if you're trying to achieve a good goal and you try different ways to get there, and you fail in different ways. That's a part of learning and growing; it's a part of the process, the journey.

I'm talking about making a mistake, thinking you learned from that mistake, and vowing to yourself that you'll never make it again, and then getting yourself back in the same situation only through a different route. Even though you avoided the way in which the failure happened the first time, you somehow find yourself back at the same failure, only through a different outlet. Does that happen to anyone else? Is what I'm saying even making sense?

Anyways, even if I'm not making sense, I will say that I think failures are crucial to the journey. Elle says that "Just because we fail once, twice, or a few times, that doesn't mean we lose sight of the chances to start anew," and it's so true. I sometimes feel like when I fail, I've missed the opportunity for anything good to come out of that attempt, when really, I can still attempt again, and I can fail or maybe I'll succeed. It doesn't hurt to try; I can't be afraid to fail, or I'll never reach new heights in the things I want to accomplish.

And it's hard to sometimes push past the failures I've made. Am I the only one who sometimes sits there, and suddenly thinks of a time when I failed miserably at something, and I physically cringe because it hurts for me to think about it? I don't do this quite as often, but it still happens every once in a while. But again – without the failures, I would have never learned anything, and my journey would have never brought me to where I am today.

I also believe the Lord uses our failures to draw us closer to Him. If we never failed, we wouldn't have to rely so heavily on Him for direction, peace, wisdom. We are only human; imperfect beings in need of a perfect Savior. And failures are a major part of that journey! That doesn't mean we should want to fail; it just means we can expect to, and be okay with it, and be okay with learning something from it.

So, as I sit here, embracing my failures of the day, I am committed to enjoying the time I had today to live my life, and to take some major steps towards this journey of mine. Despite my failures, there were some successes: I was able to bring in a couple of more people into the #JustStartWriting family today. I got to run my errands after getting off of work at two o'clock. And even though I don't get to record my spoken word piece tonight, that means I get more time to practice saying it, and making it what I want it to be and sound like so I can perfect it when the time is right. And I get more time to do other things tonight!

Still so much to be grateful for despite the failures of the day. It's all just a part of life, and I thank God for it all.

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

The Little Things, Part 2 – Lost & Found

Okay! So, this is what happened…

Provided For

Last Wednesday night, my stepdad texted me saying that one of our neighbors we used to live by when I was growing up was selling a Nikon camera with two lenses (one that shoots farther than the lens I had originally) that she'd bought from him. I was pretty excited, but also pretty nervous about how much money I'd have to spend.

The next morning, I get a text again from my stepdad, saying that the whole camera package was a great price – like, the price of what one lens would cost. I was thrilled, and immediately messaged our former neighbor, saying I'd purchase the camera and the lenses.

Honestly guys, I was crying like a baby in my dining room, thankful that God had provided an alternative camera for me to use, and that with one of the new lenses, I could possibly take pictures of the moon, something I'd been wanting to do for a while.

Well, things got even crazier after that…

Lost & Found

Yes, I mentioned this yesterday at the very beginning of my post, but I eventually found my cameras. Yes, the cameras I'd lost almost two months ago. The cameras I thought I'd left in a hotel room in Atlanta. The cameras I thought someone had stolen, and carelessly sold or used without thinking about who they actually belonged to.

Last Friday night, I came back to my friend Jessica's house really late, and was going to stay the night because the next morning we were going to Dollywood. I was in their guest bedroom when I saw a black camera bag that looked exactly like mine. Part of me was like, "Ehh, it's just Jessica's camera bag." But another part of me decided I should check.

And, lo and behold, there were my cameras. The bag, the charger, the cameras, everything. All safe and sound at my friend Jessica's house this entire time. I was honestly so shocked that they'd been found, I couldn't believe it. And I was overwhelmed with joy that God would give them back to me, even though at the beginning of losing them I was like a child, and threw fits about them being lost. And even though He'd already provided another camera and lenses for me to have.

He still let me have my cameras back. I was floored.

I'd gotten so used to living without them, that having them back was like getting them as gifts all over again. Only this time, I'd grown through the process of not having them; I learned so much about myself, and honestly, I am grateful that these things went missing for a while so that I could shift my priorities and learn the lessons I learned.

And today I received the camera and lenses from my neighbor, and here I am now with more cameras and lenses than I ever thought I'd have, and I'm overall just humbled and grateful for everything. I'm excited for the potential growth of my photography skills, and to be able to shoot with my stepdad again once I can get back home to my island.

I'm also excited to know that the Lord is still teaching me. The lessons and the way I learn the lessons may have been hard, but I'm thankful that He's still patient enough to work with me and my crazy self.

So yeah! That's what happened! Now I gotta go play around with these cameras; the world is waiting to be captured. And maybe I wasn't ready before, but I'm ready now.

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

The Little Things, Part 1 – The Lessons

Whew, even though writing fiction was pretty fun, I'm glad to be back to what I know and love – writing non-fiction.

Guys…lemme tell you…

This past weekend was insane. So good, but insane. I did so many awesome things – I got to go to a meet-and-greet for one of my favorite bands, The YRS (shameless plug – @the.yrs on all socials, go check 'em OUT!), and go to Dollywood for the first time in my life.

But a major thing that happened was…I found my cameras.

Mishy, You Lost Your Cameras?

Yes, the week before I went to Mexico, I lost my Nikon D5300 and my Instax Mini 8. I thought I brought them to a hotel in Atlanta during a weekend I spent time with my mom and sisters, and I called the hotel several times to have them tell me they couldn't find them. I'd searched my grandparents' house, my friends' houses, my apartment, my car, and I couldn't find them at all. I'd decided that they were probably stolen from the hotel I stayed in in Atlanta. And through all this, I experienced several different emotions…

Hurt

Honestly, I was extremely upset about it all. Those cameras were both gifts from my stepdad, an avid photographer himself, who gave them to me to feed my interest in photography. I reminisced about the times I went out with him to take photos together with my cameras, and it hurt me to think about the fact that I'd been careless to lose them. I looked at the Polaroid pictures hanging in my room in my apartment, and almost took them down because I was sad I wouldn't be able to take photos like that anymore.

Angry

I was mad at myself for being so careless, and not remembering where I'd put my cameras. I was angry at the person I'd thought could have taken them, and simply used them or sold them without a second thought to who the owner was. I was angry that, despite normally being able to find things within a several hour span, it was taking me one week, and then two weeks, and then even more weeks to try to figure out what exactly happened to my cameras. It all just made me angry.

Stressed

Stress pretty much encompassed all my feelings. There were moments I couldn't stop thinking about trying to figure out where I'd misplaced them, who could have seen them last, where they could be. It took me some time to realize just how much the stress of all of this was consuming my every day life.

 

Even though I was scared to admit it at first, I eventually told my stepdad about my situation, and he sympathized with me, but also said, "Don't let this crush you." And honestly, I knew he was right; from the moment he said those words, I began to think about all the aspects of my situation…

What's More Valuable?

The first thing God was asking me to evaluate about myself was what I deemed more valuable in my life.

When we lose something, we become upset because things like money, time, value, etc. were associated with that thing, whatever it is. And when that thing is lost, we've also lost all those things associated with it. As I was realizing how much my mind and time were being consumed by trying to figure out where my cameras were, I began to realize that my attachment to those things was somewhat unhealthy.

Yes, it was okay for me to be upset because my cameras were special to me – gifts from my stepdad. But it wasn't right for me to obsess over the loss of them, to constantly kick myself for losing them, and to long for the days in which I still had them.

Things are things…they can be replaced. Sure, you may need to spend more money, time, effort, etc., but it can still be replaced. I had to ask myself if I valued my things more than I valued the people and circumstances around me. Would I be more concerned about my cameras, my cell phone, my clothes more than I was concerned about the situations of a family member, or the cry of help from a friend? Those were people and moments that I couldn't get back if I lost them, or if I was too focused on something else to really live in the moment. I really had to evaluate myself when it came to my priorities, and what I really deemed valuable.

Gratefulness

Once when I realized how much I was thinking about losing my cameras, I thought of the Friday before my trip to Atlanta when I almost got into a car wreck on my way to work, but didn't. And I thought of the loss of my car over the loss of my cameras, and realized that if I had lost my car – a need, something I needed to get myself to work, and to other appointments - it would be worse than losing my cameras – a luxury, things I used to continue my creativity. Sure, I used my cameras for the creative work I was doing, but my creative work doesn't pay the bills (yet!).

So, with this situation, the Lord opened my eyes to being more grateful for where I was. Yes, I was out two cameras, but I was alive and healthy. My car wasn't damaged, although there was an opportunity for it to have been. Because my car didn't get damaged in a wreck, I was able to travel to Atlanta the next day to spend a weekend with my mom and sisters. And I still had a roof over my head, my job, and food to feed myself. There was so much to be thankful for.

Letting Go

The biggest lesson I had to learn through this was letting go – letting go of the fact that my cameras were gone, and I may never see them again. Letting go of the anger towards myself and that potential person who'd stolen my cameras. Letting go of the worry and stress that I brought upon myself about them.

And I think it was the hardest lesson to learn for me, honestly. Because I'm a perfectionist, when things go awry, I cannot be at rest until it's all resolved. But in this situation, once one week, two weeks, three weeks rolled around and my cameras still didn't show up, I had to face the reality that maybe I wasn't meant to have them back, and I had to move on without them. I had to let them go.

It was difficult at first, but as time went on, I started to accept the reality, and even called my stepdad, and asked if he would help me buy a new camera. We sat on the phone for a while, looking with each other on the same site. He emailed me some options, options I was slightly cringing at knowing I was going to have to drop some major money on one of them. But even though I'd let go of the fact that my cameras were gone, I began to miss the nostalgia of taking photos, and that connection I had with my stepdad, so I was more willing to spend the money.

I prayed, asking God to help me let go of all the things I was holding onto in regards to my missing valuables, and to provide someway for me to get another camera for a cheaper price.

One month after I lost my cameras, an answer to prayer had come. But you'll have to read tomorrow's post to find out what happened! 😉

#MishyWrites 🦋✨