A Response To A Huffington Post Article

Recently, I’ve read this article on the Huffington Post about how marriage is celebrated as being a bigger accomplishment than doing something such as a college graduation or another professional kind of accomplishment. After reading this article, I had given it great thought, as I agreed strongly with the writer’s point of view.

Last summer, I met the band Kansas, which is to date one of my biggest accomplishments. When I posted the picture, I only got a few likes on my Instagram. At that same day, a friend of mine posted a picture with her significant other on a trip that they had. That photo got at least double the amount of social media likes.

What I’m complaining about isn’t about the whole “I’m a bitter single girl” matter, rather than it’s about the whole reframing how we value things as a society. It’s 2016. Hillary is running for president, and she’s a freaking badass for lack of better word. There are larger set of accomplishments for women then being able to slip a diamond around their finger, or walking down the aisle wearing a white dress. No offense to those who have done this, but honestly, there needs to be a larger round of appreciation for those who worked hard for what they want, and actually get it.

As I mentioned in a post I wrote last week called “Single by Choice,” I feel that there is nothing wrong with choosing to be more career oriented versus relationship oriented. Granted, relationships are something that should be celebrated, as all kinds of love should be. However, why can’t we apply that same mentality to accomplishments like meeting a band or graduating college? Why can’t we throw a party for ourselves when someone finishes their thesis or gets the job of your dreams? Those are pretty damn big accomplishments if you ask me. Relationships are all about luck and chance. But, there’s nothing left to chance when you graduate college or get the job of your dreams. That is the result of hard work, determination and the power of will.

So, while the picture of a cute couple will rake in the likes for lack of better word, let’s apply that same mentality to the girls who graduated cum laude, the people who get places because they busted their ass to get to that point.

The Kind of Woman I Am

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the type of person that I want to be and grow to be. This goes past thinking about what I want to do with my life past December 16 (the day that I graduate). This is more of who I want to be as a person, what traits I want to have, and the type of impact I want to leave on the world.

After doing a lot of soul searching, listening to Demi Lovato, and journaling, I have my answers.

The type of person I want to be is someone who goes after what she wants. This person is strong, independent, and knows how to obtain whatever I desire. I want to be a role model to people, especially those with anxiety. I want to be a person who can be able to do things that scare her, and not let fear get in my way.

Basically, I want to be a bad ass.

At the end of the day, it’s the bad asses in the world who are the ones who control it. I want to change the world to make it a place that is more accepting, a place that opens up discussion of things such as mental illness, and a place that is initially better.

Ozzy Osbourne once said “I don’t want to change the world, I don’t want the world to change me.” However, I couldn’t disagree with him any more. I want the world to be changed by me, and I want the world to mold me. Therefore, I want to be awesome, and be amazing.


An Open Letter to My Ex Boyfriend

Dear Mon Cheri,

This is probably the last time that I’ll ever call you or anyone that for that matter. I am writing you, well writing this for the Internet to see, simply because I thought about you today. It’s a Friday night, and usually Friday nights were our date nights. They were when you and I would spend the evening in the company of great food and of each other.

I am over you, and carry no torch of romantic interest for you. However, I still wonder how you are doing. How is the process of medical school going for you? How is Dagohir going? Are you enjoying all of your classes? Even though I no longer long for your lips on top of mine, I miss you and regret that we will never talk again.

Since we broke up, it’s safe to say that I’ve become better off with out you. I no longer feel like I am dumb, simply because I phrase something in a way you don’t like it. I no longer feel the pressure of trying to please you, both sexually and as a person. While I wanted to do those things, I am realizing now that in trying to make you happy, a piece of me had always felt that I was lying to myself. I am leading a life that not only excites me, but also has an absence of my anxiety that constantly got in the way of our relationship. I am happy, and I have grown from the person who you used to kiss on top of your bed.

Despite all that has happened, I never once will say that I hate you, nor talk untruthfully ill about you. You were great to me, in terms of my anxiety and in terms of my life. You taught me so much about the world, about writing, and I appreciate having the chance to get to know you. I think of you fondly, instead of illy.  On the other hand, a part of me will always  not agree with the times when you treated me illy, the times when you acted like a snob, and how you broke up with me. With that being said, I will always respect you, because there was a reason why I was dating you, and there is no reason why I should be rude to you.

Like I said earlier, I hope you’re doing well. I hope you find what you are looking for in life. However, I also want you to know that I am doing fine. Actually, scratch that. Better than fine. I am happier, more alive, and I’d like to think that our breakup was the catalyst to help me get to that point.




*Writer’s note: This post was written as intended as a way to release emotions/feelings that I am dealing with, and wanted to share. I hope that whoever is reading this can relate to it, or find interest in it. 

Single By Choice?

Six months ago, I would classify being single as being a curse. I wanted a relationship, a boyfriend, a partner. However, six months and a failed relationship later, I now look at my single status as being a blessing, as now I’m taking the time to be alone and better the relationship with myself. Long story short-I’m single by choice.

Before I continue let me say this: if I were to meet a nice guy, I am sure that whole first paragraph will change. However, this next relationship that I will be in with whoever I am meant to be with, I want to make sure I love myself and can make myself happy without having a guy in the picture. After all, if you don’t love yourself, what makes you think you’re going to have a healthy and happy relationship with someone else?

The answer is, you’re not.

A few week ago, I reactivated my Tinder, this time for keeps. I began swiping left and swiping right. I had matched with this guy, let’s call him Bob. We had a lot in common, and soon, we switched from Tinder to texting. After a weekend of texting, I soon realized that I wasn’t interested in that particular person, and began to cut back on the texting. He unfortunately didn’t, and continued to text me for much of the next few days. If I were to not answer for an extended period of time (yes, even though I am a millennial, I do in fact have times when I can’t get to the phone), he would only text me again and again. While I get it that he wanted to get to know me, it honestly creeped me out.  My annoyance quickly bubbled, and I wanted to throw my iPhone 6 against the wall to keep him from texting me anymore.

Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic, but you’re getting the point.

Earlier that weekend before his constant texting, I had went out with one of my friends. I told her that I had met a few guys using Tinder, and have given one my number. She was excited for me, however I interrupted her by saying that I felt that I wasn’t ready to date after my relationship ended three weeks ago. We went back in forth about the issue for a few minutes, until she got her sandwich.

The point of that story is that my decision to be single for a while has absolutely nothing to do with my ex. It has everything to do with me.

There’s something that is wonderful about improving the relationship with yourself instead of constantly searching for a new one to fill the void. This is starting with living a life that is making me happy. Instead of going on dates with a guy, I go on dates with myself, usually to Starbucks or to get some takeout. I make it a point to spend some time doing what I love to do best, whether that is writing in a journal or sketching in my sketchbook. My anxiety attacks, although I have some days when I’m a bit more anxious then normal, are pretty much gone (even though I rarely had them at the time of my breakup with my ex-boyfriend). I schedule time with my friends (and actually go through with the plans). And, I have honestly never been as happy with the life I am choosing to lead. This shift in happiness was something that came within me.

My new Saturday tradition is to get a coffee and a bagel. This one is from Whitney Donut, which has delicious food!

So while I may not have anyone to be my cuddle partner other than my dog, I am beginning to see improvements in my relationship with myself. And as for the relationship thing, I’ll get there eventually. In the meantime, I have my puppy, my journal, and some Starbucks. And that’s all I really need.

I Won’t Apologize

Lately, I’ve been doing some reflecting on what’s right for me (in the sense of relationships), the type of person I wanted to be and what I stood for. This person, the new one whose emerged from all of this reflection, is someone whose both confident and set in her ways. And I’m not sorry.

Yeah, you heard me. I won’t apologize.

Sometimes, whether you’re in a relationship or even friendship, you sometimes encounter someone who makes you budge on things that you might not otherwise think about budging on. This can be a good thing, like if someone is trying to get you to try something new to eat. However, sometimes this can be a bad thing, like if someone was pressuring you to try things that you weren’t ready to try. It then becomes up to you to decide whether or not that person is someone that you want to be with or have in your life, especially if they won’t let up about it.

However, I’ve decided that if someone ever asks me to change, then I’m going to ask them to leave. I am me, take it or leave it, and am not going to ever change because someone has a problem with the fact that I read a ton of books or spends too much time taking photos for Instagram. I won’t apologize for my quirks, for my insecurities, and for my loud music. I’m not going to move faster or slower in relationships, just because someone wants something from me that I’m not ready to give. I know what’s right for me, and that’s much more important to me than keeping someone in my life that may not deserve to be there in the first place.

And, I won’t apologize for it.

Counting My Blessings

On 3 a.m. Sunday morning, I woke up to my car alarm blaring. As I raced to check out the outside scene through my window, finding nothing, I thought nothing of it and went back to bed.

Later on that day (or morning), I got a phone call from my mom, who had left the house to embark on some errands. She said she thought someone had hit my car and ran off. I jumped out of bed, put on some shoes and raced outside to find the front driver’s side tire completely dented. Having just taken my collision off of my car (as it was 15 years old), you can say I felt like I was screwed, not to mention upset. What was I going to do? How was I going to pay for this? (Also, keep in mind that I had also just went to get my car serviced only the day before)

My car post getting hit.

After a police report was filed and my mechanic was called, I was finally able to relax. And then, I soon realized that I was lucky (or as lucky as one could be in this sort of situation). I wasn’t in the car when it happened, nor was I hurt. My car, even though it’s going to cost a bit of money to fix, was still drivable, and wasn’t severely damaged.

While the situation isn’t exactly ideal, at the end of the day, I count my blessings and realize that I was as lucky as one could be in this sort of situation.

And, that’s a blessing.

Why I Won’t Let My Anxiety Define Me

I remember when I first deal with the symptoms of a panic attack. It was on a Tuesday afternoon in early November, and I was having a stressful day at school where I had to pile on multiple class assignments, in addition to balancing working at a newspaper and a library. After a fight with my friend a few minutes after class, I literally snapped. Tears flowed with no sign of stopping, just like the rain that poured onto the rooftop of my Honda Civic. I couldn’t control the tears, nor could I control the crushing feeling that was in the pit of my stomach.

That night, I was lucky to have a place to run to and a person that could comfort me-my good friend Kari. As I sat on the couch where she worked at the time, she embraced me and whispered words of comfort and support.

However, I knew I had a problem.

At the time, I was seeing a therapist at my college’s campus. However, I would always find a reason not to go, because whenever I did go, I constantly would hear the same things: you should take medication, you should do this, etc. I felt like there was a strategic plan, however, this plan was just a checklist, not something that was tailored to me. It made me not want to go.

I thought this problem would go away once December break came, as panic attacks came and more emotional outbursts. I couldn’t be more wrong. I was not happy-in my job, in my love life, in anything. So, I decided that it was time for me to change something.

The first thing I changed was my therapist. When I first met with her, she sat down with me and helped me come up with ideas that would benefit me to help combat my anxiety, such as rubbing lotion on my hands to help me focus on something other than whatever was making me feel that way, or allowing myself to take a break.

The second thing I changed was the job that I was working. Although it was a bit rocky at first, I decided to go from working at a library where I was constantly unhappy, to the accounting office at my campus. The change gave me a chance to work for a boss that was both understanding and drama free, but was a much more relaxed environment for me to work in.

For much of the spring semester, I still experienced panic attacks, despite seeing a reduction in my anxiety. I still saw my therapist, who was working on me to help change my thoughts patterns and methods of dealing with anxiety.

However, the real reduction of stress didn’t occur until May. At this time, I was done with school, and was able to finally get down to learning about how to truly manage my anxiety. And thanks to the support of my therapist, family,  friends, my boyfriend at the time, I began to notice a true change in my anxiety, it reducing to almost nonexistence. During this time, I began to learn about myself, what works for me to calm me down, and just made changes to improve my general way of life. I further learned how to talk to myself, and worked on changing my self talk. Soon, the panic attacks became further and further apart.

A few months later, that boyfriend broke up with me, and I had resigned from that job that was giving me stress. You can say that I felt the symptoms of a panic attack brewing. However, instead of fighting them, I allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel. I knew that although right now I wasn’t happy,  I would eventually find it. I also decided to do what I needed to do to find that happiness on my own. I made a playlist to listen to whenever I felt the crushing sadness, to help pull me out of that bad mood. I purchased some self help books to help me learn more about myself. And the best part of all? I told myself that I am a strong woman, practically Superwoman, who can handle almost anything.

I’m celebrating nearly two months of not having a panic attack. And the person that I have to thank is none other than myself. Anxiety has taken over my life, but I know that it’s now a losing battle. I am not the label. I can handle the symptoms, I allow myself to do what is right for me, but most importantly, I learned to love myself, and am now leading a semi happy life with people that truly are there for me. For the first time in years, I can honestly say that I am happy and content with my life.

And that’s all matters.

I’m going to leave you all with a quote I found on the Internet: “I love the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her.” And I fought to become this strong, confident woman. I fought to be happy, and know that I deserve it. But, most of all, I learned that anxiety is just a small part of me, and something that I will no longer let dictate my life.

I am not my anxiety. I am Natalie.

And that’s so much better, don’t you think?

Ingredients for Happiness?

It seems like everyone out there has a recipe for how to  achieve happiness. In fact, there’s literally an entire wing of the bookstore that is devoted entirely on how to make yourself happy, on how to get from blah to wow. However, who has the magic word to get there?

The answer? You.

The truth is that you can read all of the self help books in the world, and you can still not achieve that perfect level of happiness. Happiness, at least I think, is different for each and every person out there. For example, what makes me happy isn’t necessarily what will make my friend happy, or my mom happy. Just like we are all different in personality and in temperament, we are all different in  what exactly makes us happy.

With that being said, I still think that each and every one of us out there closer to happiness is spending some time to figure out the puzzle.

That means taking the time to read the books and try out their suggestions. That means going to a therapist and learning about yourself. That means taking long walks, eating lots of good food, and writing in journals, if that works for you.

It means finding yourself.

At the end of the day, happiness is something that is achieved, just like a college degree or something else. It’s a journey, one that we must embark on our own, however, once you get there you will feel on top of the world.

So, to whoever is reading this, how do you strive to achieve happiness? Let me know in the comments below.


Blog Goals

Now seems like a good time to discuss my goals for this blog. It’s been a while since I’ve kept a blog, so I wanted to take the time to discuss my blogging goals.

For about a year now, I’ve dealt with the symptoms of anxiety, as well as experienced numerous panic attacks (I’ll share my story in a later post this week). The cause, as it looks to be, was a result of working three jobs while being a full-time student. Needless to say, it was easy to fall down the rabbit hole of endless tears, feeling stressed and other emotions associated with anxiety. I felt like I lost control, of myself, of what I was feeling and of my life.

It was an awful feeling. However, now I am so happy to say that I’m doing a thousand times better thanks to the support of friends and family, as well as going to a therapist on a pretty much regular basis.

With that being said, one of the reasons why I wanted to start this blog was not only to share my story, but to also talk about issues related to mental health. My goal is to make my readers much more aware of anxiety, as well as its’ effects, as I know several people including myself who experience its’ symptoms. I want to also inspire others who may be feeling the same things I have/do, and let them know that in the end, it will be okay.

Besides being a journalist, one of my main goals in life is to be a role model. This I believe is one way I can do this, and spread not only awareness to those who may not have that much information, but also promote positive thinking.

So, stay tuned folks!


Emotional Relapses?

With any kind of physical ailment, you’re told to basically “take it easy,” by basically resting and limiting your physical abilities until you’re healed. And if you don’t do that, you basically make that wound or injury ten times worse than it was originally.

When it comes to an emotional wound, however, things are slightly different. You’re expected to “bounce back” from whatever happened to you almost immediately or soon after. And, sometimes that expectation can lead us down a dangerous path, a path I would like to call “emotional relapse.”

This happened to me recently.

As mentioned in my last entry, I’m going through a breakup. One of the only ways that one is able to move past it is to truly be patient with yourself and allow you to feel the emotions that you need to feel. When going through something that is as challenging as a break up, it’s important to move slowly and be careful with yourself. Otherwise, you can easily relapse, and the result can be awful.

This means taking a break to make yourself stronger. In my case, that means taking a break from the dating world. However, the question still remains on when is the right time to get back into the game.

And that’s a tricky question.

And the answer? Well, it’s really when you feel emotionless towards the event/person/whatever. It’s when you’re done eating your cartons of Ben and Jerry’s, and you’ve cried your last tear. It’s when you have forgiven that person for all that they have done for you. And, most importantly, it’s when you’ve properly healed.

This doesn’t happen overnight, folks.

On Sunday, I thought I was ready to dive back into the Tinderworld, so I booted up my profile and began to swipe “right” and “left” for guys. It was all going well-until, I saw a familiar face-my ex. This was six days after breaking up.

Needless to say, the feelings that I thought I was done with slowly crept back and I felt a knot in my throat, signaling the tears that would soon come.

I called my best friend, who reminded me this: taking a break after a breakup needs to be something that lasts longer than a week. And, when you do decide to go back in the game, it’s when you know you feel ready. However, it’s going to take time to get to that initial point, so it’s important to give yourself as much time that you need.

Otherwise, then you’ll relapse and those same feelings came to haunt me.

So, I deleted the app, and began to focus on all of the emotions that I was feeling, allowing myself to feel them instead of repressing them. One day, I’ll be able to take on the world of Tinder, but for now, it’s just too big of a step.

When going through things, whether it’s grieving the death of a person or a relationship, it’s important to not jump back into the way of life beforehand. For relationships, it means taking a few weeks off from the dating world before going into the treacherous seas of Tinder. For grieving a death, it means allowing yourself time to really come to terms with the loss, without the people telling you what you need to feel. At the end of the day, it will be the only things that can truly prevent an emotional relapse such as the one that I experienced.