mother’s day chats & freebies.

mothersday

good morning beautiful people, & a happy mother’s day! 

mothers are awesome. both my biological mother, & the many wonderful women who have stepped in throughout my life, have made such a huge impact on me. while i happen to be a very independent spirit, i have an insatiable i want my mommy part of my heart. if my mom calls me up at college, i’m homesick in a heartbeat. i mean, nothing’s better than a hug from mum, admit it.

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i love the idea of motherhood & have always been the mothering friend of the group. at this point of my life & with the health issues i’ve encountered, i’m not quite sure if i’ll get the opportunity to be a mother. & as someone who has about 20 baby names already picked out, i don’t know what i would do if i couldn’t be a mother. i’ve always promised myself that i’d try & be the best mother i could be, despite my doubts. that i’d be the mother my children needed, not the mother i wanted to be. that i’d be a mother who doesn’t love her kids because she has to, but loves them because of who they are. mothers are strong, courageous people, & if one day i do get the opportunity to have children of my own, i just hope i can live up to the amazing role models of mothers in my life.

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i’m like my mom in a lot of ways. i think growing up, you always promise yourself i’m not going to turn into my mother. but in all the best ways, i totally turned into my mother. which is basically flattering myself. my mom is one of the sweetest & most giving women i’ve ever known. she quit her job the moment she had my older sister, & raised the two of us as a stay at home mom. & we had the best childhood. she’s incredibly giving. she will always be on the lookout for little gifts for the ones she loves, & this is probably the trait i’ve picked up the most. my mother also never listens. if you tell her you want just a little bit of something, she gives you the whole thing. if you say you don’t need something, she gets it for you anyway. it drove my crazy growing up, but now that i love someone with every particle of my soul, i get it. the love bug is always telling me he only wants a little, or he doesn’t need this or that, & i totally don’t listen. i have to do my best to reel myself in, but it’s hard… i get it from my mama.

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so, to my wonderful marmee, i love you.

thank you for giving me life, & for not taking it back during my teenage years.

i’m sorry for being the most complicated child, & for all those medical bills.

i’m really glad i’m turning out a lot like you. if i’m half the woman you are, i’ll be pleased.

you are the funniest mom there is, & making you laugh will always be my favorite thing to do.

can’t wait to celebrate all that you are to me & to our family.

today’s your day!

love your little girl,

meredith.

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if you haven’t noticed, each image in this post is linked to a site that will provide you free downloads of these images & more!

go check them out & enjoy!

& have a very happy mothers day.

a message from your chronically ill friend.

here’s the negative.

my body terrifies me. to be chronically ill with no answers is to live in hell with nothing to show for it. loose ends, unanswered questions, constant pain but no diagnosis, belittling, misunderstanding. just a pile of symptoms & failing organs with no explanation. i don’t know if i get a tomorrow, a next year, a long life… & plenty of “it’s going to be okay” & “stop worrying, you’re fine” sentiments are shoved down my throat but the truth of the matter is that, was life ever really guaranteed to us? so many people die unfair, early deaths. & unless i live like there is no tomorrow, i will leave this earth with incredible regret. it’s just a scary life, not knowing when the next blow is gonna come. dealing with the trauma of ER visits & pain strong enough to make you wish you would just die already, even though there is nothing you want more than to live. every day, you’re faced with a battle with your own body. & i wish that there was more that i could do. people will keep telling you to be strong, but no one will tell you that it’s okay to fall apart every once in a while. everyone will tell you to just keep fighting, but no one will allow you the luxury of giving up for the day. to be chronically ill is to live in hell, but be forced to find the bright side for the sake of those around you. it’s an utterly ugly life.

 

here’s the positive.

you may not have your health tomorrow. you may not have it today for that matter. but those few moments when you have about half of your health back… when you’re doing better mentally, so you can fight harder than usual… when you can think a thought other than “God just get me through this”… you are a professional at taking advantage of those moments. your very heart knows how to love with an intensified love. your lungs know how to deeply appreciate fresh air. your skin learns to soak up every available ray of sunshine. your hair catches every breathe of wind the atmosphere provides. your spirit prays the deepest prayer of praise, because for once, it can actually peek through the pain.

you learn to leave every conversation with an “i love you”. you learn to never go to sleep with any anger in your heart. you learn not to get worked up about the little things. you learn to appreciate every little act of kindness. you learn that there’s a difference between letting go of unnecessary negativity, & allowing yourself to not force a smile every day. you learn to allow yourself to be genuine & raw. you learn to be kind to yourself, & you learn that you deserve it.

 

here’s what you should do.

there’s a reason i no longer say “it’s going to be okay” to anyone i know that’s chronically ill. the reason is that it’s almost just counterproductive to focus your “encouragement” on the situation. because, in our cases, the situation may never get better. we don’t have an end in sight. we have to fight day in & day out, never knowing if it’s going to get better, or get worse. we have to exist in the awareness that tomorrow, we may have to conjure up enough strength to endure a hospital run. maybe you’ll be lucky enough to spend that day in bed, but maybe you won’t. that’s why, when attempting to comfort someone who is in constant suffering, it’s better to steer the encouragement away from the situation.

focus on letting the individual know that you are concerned. that you know they are suffering & that you are sorry. because we are constantly invalidated, & constantly feel that no one is taking our suffering seriously. so to hear someone even just say that they are sorry, means the world. we get a lot of “you’re gonna be fine”, & “it’s gonna be okay”. even a lot of “be strong”, “you can do this”, & “you’ll get through this”. we don’t get a lot of “i’m so sorry that you aren’t fine” or “i’m sorry that it’s not okay”. we are ever allotted a “it’s okay to not be strong enough for this” or “you shouldn’t have to do this or go through this”. i know in all efforts to comfort, our original leading is to be positive. but sometimes, just to have someone acknowledge the pain you are in is the only comfort you need. & after you connect with them in this way, they are more likely to accept words of encouragement such as “you can do this”, because they know that you understand how difficult it is to do so.

 

here’s our apology.

please don’t be angry at us. please don’t call us selfish. we are fighting oh so hard to live. we are so sorry that sometimes, we don’t have the energy to make it out of bed. we are so sorry that we are not healthy enough sometimes to even walk through the mall with you. we apologize that hanging out sometimes means sitting in bed & watching netflix together, & our adventures consist of trips to the pharmacy. we may not seem like the best of friends to you, but we treasure every moment together that you allow us to have. we spend a lot of time alone with our thoughts, so we love your company. we are sorry if you don’t love ours. we are sorry that we have to be particular about the temperature of the room, the type of food we get, the brightness of the lights, the type of transportation, the amount of noise, or the environment that we’re in. any irregular situation can cause our body to spiral out of control. we hope we do not come across as selfish when we are trying to ensure that we stay sane, we stay healthy, & we stay out of the hospital. we live with full knowledge that our life is a burden. we live with the gravity of the toll that we take on our loved ones, resting on our shoulders. we know we are difficult. but try to understand, our lives are difficult, almost impossible to live. we are trying. we are sorry.

 

here’s the point.

it’s okay to not completely understand the life of a chronically ill individual. we are complicated human beings, we know. that being said, any effort to understand will help the world be a kinder place. spread awareness. educate yourself & those around you. make an effort to care for the ones you love, because you never know who is suffering in silence. give lots of hugs. keep an open mind. be understanding. we thank you, ever so much, for doing so.

 

love,

your chronically ill friend.

i am the defender.

love only grows by sharing. you can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.

-Brian Tracy

today, i thought we’d have a meaningful chat about personalities! if you aren’t aware, there is a test over here that you can take to show you your personality type. there are 16 different options, & each is described by a title & four letters, which reflect different aspects of your personality. i’ve taken this test many times, but i recently decided to take it again so i could read up on why i am an “ISFJ”. here is what i’ve taken away from the research i did on their website! it may help you to understand what each letter of your personality truly means. & it also may help you get to know me better! let’s get going:

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these are my results! my title is “the defender” which frankly already makes a lot of sense. i was homecoming queen one year in high school, & i distinctly remember that the first thing they said about me was that i was known for “always sticking up for the little guy, & defending those in need.”  being a defender means possessing the qualities of empathy, commitment, & loyalty in abundance & using these qualities to take care of others. taking care of others is truly what i’ve felt called to do my entire life, so to have my calling validated is pretty sweet.

to get into the nitty gritty of the letters, ISFJ‘s are described as such: “The ISFJ personality type is quite unique, as many of their qualities defy the definition of their individual traits. Though possessing the Feeling (F) trait, ISFJs have excellent analytical abilities; though Introverted (I), they have well-developed people skills and robust social relationships; and though they are a Judging (J) type, ISFJs are often receptive to change and new ideas. As with so many things, people with the ISFJ personality type are more than the sum of their parts, and it is the way they use these strengths that defines who they are.” look at me being a living contradiction! story of my life though, seriously. it does happen to be true though. while i’m big on heart & passion, i’m an extremely rational personal. while i’m very very introverted, i just absolutely love people. while i almost never make a decision on the fly or do anything spontaneous, if i have enough time to think & judge it through, i love trying new things! they also tacked on this 5th letter for Turbulent? apparently because there is a particular type of ISFJ‘s that are “meticulous to the point of perfectionism“. & if you know me well, you know this couldn’t be more right.

the stands for introverted, as opposed to extroverted. both the love bug & my roomie took this test at the same time as i did. my roomie, who is a hermit just as i, got 60% introverted. the love bug, around the same. me? 92%. oh yeah, taking introvertism to a whole new level! (that’s so not a word but whatever.) the important part about your first letter is that it describes where you get your energy from. never heard that before? well then, you’ve got introversion vs. extroversion all wrong! being introverted doesn’t mean that you don’t like people. it instead means that you draw your energy from being alone, which empowers you to spend time with people. & if you’re extroverted, being alone drains you, & you then replenish your energy by attention & affection from others.

the stands for sensing, or observant, as opposed to intuition. this is in regards to how you see the world & process info. because i’m an observant or sensing individual, this means that i’m “highly practical” “down to earth” when facing problems. it also means i form strong habits (so true), & “enjoy seeing, touching, feeling and experiencing” when taking in the world around me. an intuitive human would, on the contrary, be full of imagination & possibility when tackling problems, love taking risks instead of sticking with old habits, & look for hidden meanings & feelings instead of taking things as they are.

the stands for feeling, as opposed to thinking. rather than the previous, focusing on how we perceive the world & think, this letter focuses on how we react to & cope with emotions. a person like me with the the feeling trait follows their heart! we are “compassionate, sensitive and highly emotional”. this is so true & i’m not afraid to admit it! i hate that there is a negative connotation surrounding the word “emotional”… (grr, perhaps this is why we need feminism??? but, that’s another rant for another time.) i’m not afraid to say  yes i’m an emotional human being. & that’s an amazing thing! here is one of my favorite quotes for you guys to ponder::

“Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things.” (Zooey Deschanel)

amen sister, amen. this is how i truly feel. i feel that the world has done a lot to me to try & harden me. & i guess at times, struggling with the mental illnesses & past that i do, i do have a tendency to shut down my emotions, & feel absolutely nothing. i can transform myself into a cold rock if i want to. but i don’t want that to be who i am. i want to feel. because i can’t let someone’s cruel actions force me to be emotionless. i don’t want my coping method to be just “shutting down”. & in fact, as an ISFJ, my biggest fault is repressing my emotions & not asking for help. healing everyone else but myself. forcing myself to gulp the pain down until a later time… ISFJ‘s, we’ve got room for improvement, that’s for sure.

as a feeling individual, i “would rather cooperate than compete”, as i value the emotions & opinions of a group over personal success. however, we “are likely to fight tooth and nail for what [we] believe in.” couldn’t be more true!

the stands for judging, as opposed to prospecting. this is in regards to our planning & work methods. as a judging individual, i’m big on organization, & prefer “structure and planning to spontaneity”.  the website said judging individuals always have mental checklists… & fellas, let me tell you. i have at least 10 mental ones, & 20 physical copies of them. i’m a list freak! apparently i also have a strong work ethic, which i have been told by my teachers, but as an ISFJ of course i’m too shy to admit to it…(i just like doing my best, okay?). prospecting people are go-with-the-flow people. SO NOT ME. they’re spontaneous, & love an unexpected challenge. at 84% judging… i don’t think i’m anywhere close to loving the unexpected. there’s a reason my wedding is planned down to the catering, my future house is planned down to the copper wire baskets & what magazines will be in them, & my future kids name’s & future pet names have already been chosen. perhaps i need to learn to loosen up a bit…

now to talk about this tacked on T! it stands for turbulent, as opposed to assertive, & shows us “how confident we are in our abilities and decisions”. as someone with the turbulent identity, that means i’m basically not that confident in those areas. these are some of my biggest faults. i’m highly stressed out, & extremely self-deprecating. on a semi-positive note, turbulent’s are “success-driven, perfectionistic and eager to improve”. i’ll take it. assertive’s on the other hand are self-assured, easy going, & more confident in themselves & the choices they make.

if you’d like to know my favorite thing i read about ISFJ’s, it’s that apparently “when it comes to gift-giving, ISFJs have no equal, using their imagination and natural sensitivity to express their generosity in ways that touch the hearts of their recipients”. reading this rocked my socks!!! if you’re close to me, you’ll know that i get SO MUCH JOY from gift giving. i think one of the greatest pleasures on the earth is tailoring a perfect gift to an individual that you love. even though i hate most things about myself, i think this is the one thing i’m okay with acknowledging. if i’m gonna like one thing about myself, it’s that i try & give some pretty great gifts.

some final thoughts::

ISFJ’s:

  • don’t know when to say no or stand up for themselves.
  • are too humble & shy.
  • will remain reliable, trustworthy, & patient in any friendship or relationship.
  • repress their feelings & won’t ask for help! (i will admit, these are my biggest faults.)
  • are super practical & actually love mundane tasks.
  • overload themselves, causing panic attacks & emotional crash & burns.
  • have a capability to be practically imaginative! (dude, can that count as my super power?)
  • are reluctant to, run away from, abhor, & are afraid of: change.
  • use their experiences to encourage & help others!
  • get taken advantage of more than any other personality type…
  • will always remember what is important to those they love.

 

“Whether it is finding (or keeping) a partner, learning to relax or improvise, reaching dazzling heights on the career ladder, or managing their workload, ISFJs need to put in a conscious effort to develop their weaker traits and additional skills, [however], ISFJs are true altruists, meeting kindness with kindness-in-excess and engaging the work and people they believe in with enthusiasm and generosity.”

& that’s all folks! i guess i’m pretty happy with this research i’ve done. i feel understood, validated, & flattered! i mean honestly, everything i read up about ISFJ‘s was so true for me personally. i truly recommend you head over to this website & check out their free personality test. once you have, head back here or tweet me to let me know what you got! this process has been so intriguing & self-enlightening for me, i hope you enjoy it for yourself.

 

much love to all you beauties,

signing off as your friendly ISFJ.

 

 

 

 

let’s talk about anxiety.

anxiety. in technical terms, a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness & apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks. in MY terms, living hell. 

this post isn’t easy to write. but, i know i need to write it. i have suffered from anxiety ever since i was a child. & from childhood to present day, i truly haven’t met many people who understand what it means to have anxiety. the few people i have met, suffer with anxiety themselves. & i want to change that. there’s always a barrier put up between people when we are uneducated. i have felt extremely distant from my closest of friends because of their unwillingness to learn or even plain misunderstanding of my struggles with anxiety. that being said, anxiety is difficult to understand. it is different for every individual. it affects people in different ways, physically as well as mentally. i think it is important for those of us who do struggle to no longer sit in silence. there is an overwhelming sense of shame & distaste that is pushed upon you when you open up about any sort of mental illness… & i hate it. so this is me, being as open as i can, about the particular aspects of my personal struggles with anxiety. for your education, not for your judgement. & if you’re inclined to judge? you have my permission to leave.

so here we go, answering questions about my personal struggles with anxiety::

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what does it feel like?

my anxiety is being constantly overwhelmed & constantly exhausted. it’s a feeling of being trapped & being unable to do what has to be done. it’s trying to mentally handle everything you’re going through & short circuiting. it’s feeling like life is just impossible. & when it all adds up, & you’re too overwhelmed physically, emotionally, & mentally, the only thing you can do is hide under your covers & hope the world resolves itself, because you sure as heck aren’t currently capable of doing anything yourself.

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are there different types of anxiety, & if so, what do you suffer from?

it’s important to note that there are also different types of anxiety. some people suffer from general anxiety disorder, some with obsessive compulsive disorder, some with panic disorder, & some have a combination. i mostly suffer from panic disorder, & have frequent panic attacks. panic attacks are lovely. racing heart, blurred vision, inability to breathe, uncontrollable crying, incredibly dizzy, weak all over then going numb… oh yeah, it’s great. & due to how amazing these panic attacks are, people with panic disorder frequently begin a lifestyle in which they avoid people, places, & things that have given them a panic attack in the past. the frustrating part for me is that pretty much any time i am in an uncomfortable setting & feel trapped in it, i will have a panic attack. when i was younger, that meant any time i was at a sleepover or a school field trip. these days, it’s anything from crowds to airplanes to being around people i don’t feel safe with to being without my “comfort items” or without the people in my life that i know will keep me safe.

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does your anxiety hold you back?

well if you can imagine, all that panicking makes it kinda of hard to push myself “out of my comfort zone” as they say. being uncomfortable is such a battle for me. & frankly, the life path i’ve chosen is very uncomfortable to me. being a full-time college student, living in a college c0-ed dorm, eating in a cafeteria, being in college classes… it’s all very difficult for me. i wake up every morning hoping school was canceled. i wake up every morning dreading what i’ll have to overcome next. & you know, it’s difficult to find the balance between a good amount of pushing yourself, & knowing your limits.  i’m still struggling to find that balance. it’s like i love pushing myself to discover new things, but in a safe, somewhat controlled environment. unfortunately, i think going to a public university might not have been the right choice for me. i’m still learning that i am allowed to ask for help, & i am allowed to say no when it’s getting too much. anxiety, & any mental illness really, takes time to navigate & understand & cope with. it’s a long, grueling process for everyone involved.

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doesn’t being anxious just mean that you worry all the time?

this actually ISN’T actually what i experience. some people who suffer from general anxiety disorder have constant thoughts of worry & questioning. i actually happen to be quite a positive person who tries to think the best & see the best in people, & thankfully am also a super rational person who can usually reason with myself beyond trivial worries. but i live in a constant state of fight-or-flight, or a constant state of panic. i definitely have my moments where i overthink or worry, but no more than anyone else.

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& one more thing! being anxious isn’t the same as having an anxiety disorder! as humans, we do all experience anxieties, but anxiety itself is a serious mental illness. it’s a huge difference!!! so be careful when throwing around the terms “anxiety” or even “panic attack”. it can be offensive to someone whose state of life is deteriorating due to a crippling mental illness, when you’re just stressed about an exam. just make sure you are using the words in the correct way.

 

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isn’t anxiety all in your head?

an important aspect of anxiety is the physical aspect. personally, my anxiety affects my whole body. any time that i am anxious, my body gets incredibly sore from head to toe, which in turn makes me very exhausted. my adrenal glands will begin causing me excruciating pain, often too extreme to move. my anxiety affects my stomach, causing me to develop abdominal & intestinal disorders & an eating disorder. my anxiety gives me chest pain & trouble breathing. my anxiety triggers my chronic migraines. basically, NO, my anxiety isn’t just “all in my head”. my anxiety affects my entire body, making it quite the feat just to get out of bed in the morning. it’s a stigma that anxiety or any mental illness is just all in your head & you just gotta think your way out of it & be positive. oh how we wish it were that simple! while this is a mental illness, people feel it physically as well, which makes it all the more difficult to participate in daily life. so if you know someone who struggles with a mental illness & still is a full-time student or works a 9-5, you better believe they are a rock star.

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how can i help someone who’s having a panic attack or bout of anxiety?

panicking::

firstly, don’t ask for an explanation. don’t pester. the last thing someone who is panicking needs are questions. the absolute best thing you can do is just be there & provide support. & for a lot of people, that just means sitting in silence & possibly being the shoulder to cry on. personally, i just need someone to get me to a safe place (somewhere away from people & somewhere i can sit down), & then just sit with me until i calm down. but it is probably different for each individual. do not be judgmental in the slightest, because while their reasons for panicking might seem trivial to you, it’s life or death to them. treat them with the utmost respect & love. & that’s the best you can do!

bouts of anxiety::

if it’s just general anxiety, it’s good to provide distraction. for example, get out a coloring book, put on the television, start telling a story, really get them engaged in something (without them really having to do much themselves). don’t try & start a conversation, because most likely since this person is anxious, they won’t have much rhyme or reason going on in their brain. engaging them in an activity where they can focus their attention elsewhere than their own thoughts is the best.

now, if their anxiety is toward a certain event or situation, it’s okay to start a conversation to try & simplify the situation. what part is making them anxious? how could we tackle this in the best way possible to limit anxiety? who can we ask for help? now, while some situations are easily solved, others have no solution. some situations or events are just going to be the most anxiety producing for that person, & there is nothing they can do about it. the best way to deal with this situation is to make sure they know that they will not be stuck. as i’ve stated before, i get extreme amounts of anxiety if i believe i can’t escape a situation. so, provide them a way out. let them know you are a phone call away & can pick them up from the event if things get too difficult. even better, offer to accompany them or make sure that someone who they trust is with them. & if it’s truly all too much, help them come up with a great excuse to cancel, & make plans for a self-care night instead.

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any last words? (about anxiety)

well, high five if you’re still reading.

i don’t really know if i’ve accurately portrayed this mental illness that encompasses the lives of many of us, but i hope i’ve at least shed some light on what it’s like. it’s not easy. it’s not fun. we didn’t ask for this nor do we want this. but we fight, every day, to participate in life. we fight against this illness & do our best to live to our fullest extent & not let this overwhelming struggle define us. i’m a person, not a illness. i’m defined by laughter & love, not by panic & disorder. but it is a part of who i am, & i do want to educate those around me about it.

know that if you are struggling, this space is a save haven for you. you will be met with words of love & prayers of support. my email, craftedfragments[at]gmail[dot]com, will always be open to those who need comfort. know that you are worthy, you are strong, & you are courageous.

i think that’s all that i’ll say for now.

all my love,

meredith.


 

all images taken from pinterest.com

valentine’s inspiration.

hello lovelies! i hope you all had an absolutely splendid valentine’s. valentine’s actually happens to be one of my most favorite holidays aside thanksgiving. & when most people hear that, they usually respond with a “uhh, but you hate pink & all things girly?” to which i respond, firstly, don’t put me in a box. ahem. but secondly, yes i do usually dislike pink & all things girly, but i am totally allowed to enjoy myself as a girl once a year. i just love that there is a holiday about love.

so many people try to ruin valentine’s day with grunts about being alone, not having a significant other, not being loved, hating the mush gush… & that just makes me sad. i mean, coming from someone who suffers from depression & had extreme bouts of it in high school, don’t get me wrong, i am the queen of the cynical. but i have never despised valentine’s day. only in the past two years have i had my love bug on valentine’s day, & for the rest of them i was single. & that didn’t bother me one bit. some of my most favorite memories are my past valentine’s day adventures.

why do we have to focus on the negative when it’s a holiday of love! don’t promote these ideas that valentine’s is just for couples. valentine’s day is for anyone who loves anyone. & yes, that includes just you loving yourself. take the day as an excuse to pamper yourself, love yourself, & treat yourself right. this isn’t just for husbands & wives, it’s for you, it’s for your friends, it’s for you cute doggies & for strangers! & don’t you forget galentines day too! (parks & rec reference anyone?) in fact, head over here to read about one of my most epic galentine’s with my bestest gal pal. february 13th is a perfect day to celebrate those girls in your life.

in past valentine’s, i used to make forts in my room, set up tea lights & candles for myself, bake myself some goodies, write valentine’s for all my friends & family. i used to buy myself a box of chocolates as well as one for my mom, & we’d watch old movies & laugh. my dad would take me out to a tea house & we’d pretend to be posh. i would put on a pretty dress, do up my make-up, & just sit in my room listening to the sweetest of love songs. i would go craft-happy & make all the valentine’s goodies. it was always a great time.

& now that i’ve got my love bug, it’s all the more wonderful. showing people that i love them is what gives me the greatest joy in life. i spent far too much of my life feeling that i wasn’t loved, & i don’t want anyone else feeling that way. this year i had so much fun making all my friends valentine’s & going on a galentine’s brunch date. i loved spoiling (& getting spoiled by) my love bug, celebrating in some of the most romantic ways.

originally, i meant to take so many photos of the love bug & i’s valentine weekend & create a look book for you guys! unfortunately, i was too in love & forgot to pick up my phone even once to take a photo. i blame love. it makes you crazy. so, instead, i’m gathering a bunch of photos i used as inspiration for our valentine’s adventures to hopefully inspire you as well for your next valentine’s. i hope you enjoy!


 

 


 

& that’s all folks!

again, hope you all had a delightful valentine’s day & treated yourselves like royalty.

xoxo,

meredith.

you are so worth loving.

love.

loving yourself, loving others, & letting others love you.

& always remembering that you have worth.

no matter your past, your present, or your future. no matter the amount of bad days. no matter what lies your heavy heart might be telling you. you are so worth loving.

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hello people of worth! i’ve wanted to make this post for some time. i work alongside an amazing community over at so worth loving. so worth loving, as the video above detailed, is a clothing company. but so much more than a company, it’s a life style, a way of thinking. a message that you are worthy of love & respect. a physical reminder that you deserve to be treated with kindness & that you believe in yourself & in those around you. being a part of this movement has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. & i’m just getting started!

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i discovered so worth loving probably around 3 or 4 years ago, at a time in my life when i believed i was completely worthless. it was one of the darkest times i’ve ever been through. i latched on to the message, but only in regards to other people. i spread the word, & constantly uplifted others, but never could apply it personally. then a couple years later when i started at university, i again went through one of the most difficult & painful experiences of my life. guilt, depression, shame, & overwhelming feelings of worthlessness took over my soul. & i began to realize that the more my heart was encompassed in grief, the less i was able to pour out love to others. my heart for others is one of the only things i’ve ever been able to admire about myself, & i didn’t want the one good thing about me to be compromised because of my pain. so i clung to this message in hope. i spoke in faith. it took months of doing everything i could to shun this disbelief, but i soon began understanding what it meant to love yourself.

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& that, dear ones, is really where my genuine involvement began! this slogan of SWL, “love you, love people”, truly encompasses what they’re all about. it’s not enough just to love others. & it’s not about just loving yourself. it’s about loving everything you are, in order to be capable of loving those around you. i began seeing this wonderful change in my life when i committed to believing i was worth loving. & since then, i’ve had the amazing opportunity to work as a campus representative for this company, spreading this wonderful message of worth.

just thought i would let you all in on this incredible part of my life, & remind you all that::

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xoxo,

meredith

let’s get real.

so i’m genuinely just sitting down to write with no idea what i’m going to say. i’m guessing this post is just going to be a lot of word vomit. sorry in advance.

i know i haven’t written in a while. if i’m just going to be blatantly honest, it’s because i feel like crap. actually, scratch that. i feel worse than crap. i’ve had a lot of posts i’ve wanted to post, but they’re such happy posts & i don’t have a lot of happy within me right now. in fact, i mostly started writing this post to distract me from the fact that i was crying  & that the only thought running thorough my head was “i can’t do this anymore.” which is really sad. because that’s a really depressing thought.

i used to struggle with severe depression, & in the last year managed to overcome it. it was mainly based in a feeling of worthlessness & self hatred, due to the people in my life & my relationships with them. i worked extremely hard at it & had to choose every single day to wake up & challenge those feelings. i had to sever friendships. i had to alter relationships. i had to put myself first. & i had to choose to believe i was worth loving. i’m so proud of myself for that journey, & for being in a place today where i am much nicer to myself & can say that i am worth love & respect. loving others actually starts with loving yourself, & i’m so glad to be in a mindset where i can pour out love for others while still treating myself with love.

however, i’ve been encountering a new kind of sadness. & it comes from the fact that i am a very ill person. despite the fact that i do everything in my power to stay well, from getting a good amount of sleep, to drinking endless amounts of water a day, to eating well balanced meals, to taking countless vitamins & supplements… i am always sick. nope, not being dramatic. i’ve been sick this entire month. & pretty much all of last year. & a good chunk of my life. hashtag, i’m chronically ill. & what’s more is that i am also always injured. for example, i began my college career as a music major, to then injure my voice & no longer be able to sing. i then switched to an art major, which became not only a major but truly a therapy to me. alas, now i have tendonitis in both my arms, which inhibits me from really working with my hands as much as i’d like. & yes, that even means it keeps me from blogging as much. so, all of my outlets for stress & sadness have been taken away. & as i’m currently laying in bed, spending the last week with tonsillitis & pharyngitis, & now suffering from just a regular ole’ cold, i’m blooming depressed.

so not fair! i mean, didn’t i totally just conquer depression? isn’t it time for me to get a break now? no? oh. okay. & that’s just it. it doesn’t end. ya see, my birthday is in a week, & i really could care less. in fact, i’m dreading it. i don’t really want to celebrate my life, because at this point, i’m not really living it. i’m merely surviving. suffering through each illness & injury & major crisis that faces me. i don’t remember the last time i wasn’t in pain. so, no, a day dedicated to celebrate another year of life is not something i’m looking forward to, because i am not looking forward to another year of pain, sickness, & misery.

i know, i know, woah mere. dramatic much? where’s the happy go lucky girl that usually posts on here? right? sorry. i really am sorry. because this is reality. this is how my life is, & has been for years & years. it’s hard not to feel like one big burden of a human. & it’s hard to be real with people. because this is all stuff i would never say to my friends. to my friends, i would smile & say “i’ll get through it!”, or make a joke about how isn’t it funny that i’m sick AGAIN, i mean wasn’t it just last week i got over the flu?  if i were emailing my teachers, i’d be apologizing profusely for being an inconvenience & promising i’ll somehow get all the work done despite missing a month of class. & if i were posting on here, i’d be distracting myself with stationary & homeware hauls. well, here’s your first raw post! a day in the life of mere!

in conclusion, i don’t really know why i made this post. i guess i was frustrated with myself for not posting just because i wasn’t happy. it’s hard not to want to just put up one aspect of myself. it’s hard not to want to portray a happy girl who faces adversity with ease & elegance. i mean, don’t we all suffer? don’t we all have bad days & don’t we all cry? so why should any of us be ashamed to own up to that? i won’t keep myself from posting because i feel like crap. & i hope you don’t keep your pain hidden away either. if you’d made it this far, if you’re still reading, remember that you don’t have to suffer in silence. it’s okay to hurt. i have spent too long listening to people who told me that i needed to stop hurting. that i needed to get over myself. that i needed to be silent. & if you’re in that situation too, join me by screaming a big NO. no, i won’t be silent. no, i won’t pretend i’m okay until i am. i will own my sadness, own my pain, own my suffering, & surround myself with the people that will say “i will stand with you until you are better”.

i am doing everything in my power to be better. i suppose, maybe i will never physically improve. maybe i will always be sick. & right now, i’m so not okay with that. right now, each minute is hard to live because each minute is filled with so much pain. but i will learn & i will grow & i will try to be okay with that. i will try to find happiness in the pain. & i will surround myself with people who will help me get there, instead of silence me. nothing is worse than people that constantly de-validate you. in this space, on this blog, i reject that. you are VALIDwhat you feel is VALID. & you are allowed to hurt, as much as you are allowed to love yourself through it. we are crafted fragments, we are a mosaic of pain & wonder, right? perhaps i haven’t done the best job of encompassing our mantra, but i promise to reconnect with that & remind all of us that it’s okay to be not okay. someday, we will be a masterpiece. & we will be able to find beauty in the broken.

all my love as always, with a little extra for the bad days,

meredith.

get your priorities straight.

 

across the world, there are people writing their lists of new years resolutions that they will probably never achieve. i mean, i’ve even got mine. including: drink plenty of water, keep saying “i love you” & “i’m sorry”, read more books, keep up with your journal, & work on your self-love. now, technically a resolution, by definition, is a firm decision to do something. so why, by january 5th, do we forget what we’ve “firmly decided to do”? i’ve got myself a little theory, & i’m gonna share it with you guys.

when you wake up in the morning, what do you decide to do first & foremost? most likely, it’s something like get out of bed. then as the day goes on, you choose to go to work or school, choose to fulfill those responsibilities like cleaning & washing & such, choose to eat, choose to sleep… etc. & this reminds me of something that was constantly shoved in my face growing up. get your priorities straight. 

if you look at that list again, from your mother’s point of view so to speak, yeah. you have your priorities straight! right? you’re going to get a degree, you’re working a job to get money, you’re cleaning after yourself, you’re sleeping… you’re doing everything society expects of you, aren’t you? & that means getting your priorities straight, doesn’t it? i mean, heavens above if you choose to quit your day job & start your day dream? you wouldn’t have your priorities straight… or would you?

here’s where i’m getting with all of this. i don’t have my priorities straight. i don’t really truly think that any of us do. i think we walk around fooling ourselves that we know what’s important, but we don’t. we let our dreams stay dreams. we don’t allow ourselves to practically attack what we are passionate about.

let’s get back to my new years resolutions. a list of things i find important to remember in 2016, right? i mean when anyone is writing down their resolutions, they don’t write down the mundane tasks of our every day lives. those aren’t really important to us, are they? you see, we remind ourselves to call our mothers more often, to write more snail mail, to work on our health, or to create more. & just think what kind of life you would live if those were your priorities.

so, in 2016, i challenge you to get your priorities straight. i challenge you to make your priorities the same as your new years resolutions. align the two. wake up every morning & firmly decide you will live a life of love. firmly decide that it begins with loving yourself! firmly decide you will drink more water, because it’s good for you! & because you are also a priority. you are worth taking care of. firmly decide to hug your family more, to laugh more, to actually stop & smell the roses… like actually, do it! why can’t those be our priorities?

in 2016, i’m going to firmly decide on what’s really important to me. i’m going to treat my dreams like i used to treat my job or my schooling. i’m going to get serious with my passions. i’m going to treat them as my priorities. life is so short, & wasting it on following society’s standards would be shameful. i’m going to create, i’m going to dream, i’m going to write, i’m going to blog, i’m going to photograph, i’m going to love, i’m going to live a life i’m oh so proud of. i’m going to get my priorities straight.

what are you going to do?

 

return of the blogger // laugh it up fur ball.

oh dear. it’s been a while, hasn’t it? so long that i’m forgetting how this blogging thing works! i could give my excuses, including medical emergencies, injuries, & illnesses… buuuuuut who really wants to hear about that. that’s a downer. & it’s already monday. so let’s just get back to blogging twice a week, shall we?!

now, to attempt to make your monday a little brighter, here is a video that has me ROLLING on the floor giggling.

*cue the laughter

as a blogger, instagram enthusiast, & art major, i am guilty of forcing friends, family, & my darling love bug to play the role of the “instagram husband“. at least the sentence, “we used to eat our food. now we just take pictures of it“, really rings true for me. i’m not much for photos of myself/mah face, but admittedly i won’t let anyone take a single bite until i get good pictures of the food!

anyway, please check out their hilarious website, instagramhusband.com, & laugh your face off. laughter is good for the mondaze.

 

hugs & love,

meredith.

high five if you picked up on my title references. 

home.

here comes a really heartfelt rant about the word home.

cracker barrel checkers with my love bug.

for those of you who don’t know, i’ve hopped around a few times in my life. there have been a lot of abrupt moves & one in particular that made the most impact; 3000 miles is daunting, especially for a 13 year old who thought she had every detail of her life already planned out. as a result of each living adjustment, i guess you could say “home” became a very hazy term for me. it seemed like when i finally settled down into a place, when i was finally ready to deem that “house” a “home”, it was time to pick up & move again. & as a result, i became a bit of a detached person.

i’m afraid i can be a little bit pessimistic with a dash of cynical. i have my super duper goofy side, don’t get me wrong. one of my favorite colors is yellow & some days it’s like pixie dust & daises are flowing out my soul. but, especially after the big move, i became pretty skeptical when it came to the word “home”. i hated north carolina. it just left a bad taste in my mouth. i didn’t even care to try & change how i felt. i just wanted to hate it & that was that. i put up walls, & i put them up out of fear. because if i let myself fall in love with north carolina, wouldn’t i be forced to move again? i was afraid of getting too attached or too emotionally invested in anyone or anything… because i couldn’t bear the sorrow of having it ripped away from you. & looking back, i realize that this was a trend. in friendships, relationships, & living environments… that lack of stability & that unsettling feeling will definitely cause you to put up walls. especially for teenage meredith.

now, let’s fast forward to now. i just bought this bracelet::

(no, i didn’t buy it just because of the pun… but that was like 70% of the reason...)

this is the first time i’ve been proud, & even willing, to call this my home. it’s just a bracelet, meredith. well yeah, it is just a bracelet. but to me, it carries some deeper meaning. it means i’m ready to establish a home. it means those walls are coming down. & here’s why:

my bestest pal & homegirl Susanna just wrote this awesome post. she entitled it, to survive study abroad you are going to need a sanctuary. she defines home as “a place where you are completely one hundred percent with no exceptions comfortable.” & she goes on to introduce the word sanctuary, defined as “protection or a safe place, especially for someone or something being chased or hunted.”

i’m gonna riff off her brilliant post & tell you to survive being human, you are going to need this place. this safe haven, this place of comfort. a place to let your walls down & a place to be yourself.

& this is where this post gets sappy. i think as a moody teenager, i expected there to be some place that i could go that would be my home. now, as a young adult, as someone who has had every ounce of safety ripped from her & had forgotten what comfort & protection felt like… i have come to understand that this safe haven does not exist in a physical place on earth.

my safe haven is Christ. but even more beautiful is the way my Christ has made Himself known to me these days. He can’t be here physically to hold my hand, but He has made sure there was someone to do it for Him. home, to me, has become something more than just a place. home, to me, is my love bug, his hand holding mine, encompassing me in a safe embrace. home is the warmth & comfort i feel in my soul when i’m spending time with my mother. home is the laughter i share with my father. home is a phone call from or rambling session with my sister. home is the plethora of e-mails & chats with my bestest gal pal. home is a cuddle with my pup. home has become smiles from strangers, a shared understanding that we are all lonely, we are all scared, we are all searching for a glimpse of home in another human. we are all searching for recognition & acknowledgement. we are all searching for a place to be ourselves.

in conclusion, this brings me to my life’s purpose: i want to be a home. i want to allow Christ to make His home in my heart, so that He can manifest Himself as a home in me to others. i want to be a place where my loved ones can have the perfect comfort to be themselves. i want to be a person who’s presence also brings the presence of the One who is the ultimate safe haven. a home, a sanctuary, a safe house, a resting place, whatever you want to call it… we are all in search for it, aren’t we? we all want to belong.

in order to survive being a human, you are going to need a home.

who is your home?