Categories
empowerment

Here's to the Single People

This Valentine’s Day, I am writing a love letter to all my friends, family, and fellow single people who are out there living their best lives.

You already know you don’t need a partner to be fulfilled.

I’m writing this letter to let you know I commend you for not settling for less. I’m proud you didn’t lower your standards to fit someone else’s mold.

If you haven’t been in love, that’s okay. If you’ve loved 100 times, that’s okay, too. It’s all a part of the journey.

This Valentine’s Day, I’m writing a love letter to everyone who knows the greatest love is the love they have within themselves. Just as Whitney Houston once sang, “no matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity.” Amen, sister. As someone who has been single since 2014, I know the love I have for myself is greater than a love that isn’t right.

If you have found someone who loves the you who you love, you are very lucky. Wait for that kind of love. Foster your relationships with the friends who embrace your quirks and your flaws. Find comfort in knowing being your true self will attract the people who are aligned with your spirit.

Here’s to the single people this Valentine’s Day. Keep doing you. You’re the best Valentine of all.

A few more posts I’ve written about being single:

Dirty and Thirty- Single Heroes (2017)

Never Old Or Lonely Enough to Settle (2016)

Broke Ass Stuart- Shallow Reasons I’m Single (2012)

Table For One- Enjoying a Date With Yourself (2016)

Thought Catalog- What’s Wrong With Being Single and Happy At the Same Time? (2017)

Categories
empowerment self discovery

The Day I Found My Freedom

I’ll never forget the feeling I had that March afternoon in San Francisco.

I was just dropped off at SFO, heading to my gate for my return flight to Michigan.  Tears in my eyes, I got out my phone to call my parents.

“I don’t want to go back,” I declared. “I’m going to call off the wedding.”

It was 2008, and I had been engaged for exactly seven months.  Although the engagement was quick, and I thought I was happy at the time, it didn’t take long for me to see the reality before my very eyes.

The day in, the day out.  The daily traffic into my corporate job.  Coming home to the same routine, every day, to the same person- at 23 years old.

I knew it wasn’t the life for me.  Two years earlier I had plans to move to New York City as soon as I graduated.  I didn’t expect to meet someone later that year, on my 22nd birthday on December 22nd, who would swoop me off to Kauai for Valentine’s Day and move me into their beautiful suburban house once I finished college.  I’ve always been a big believer in signs, so I thought, “maybe I’m not supposed to go to New York after all.”  There had to be a bigger reason for meeting this person on such a significant day to me.

Back in 2006, my partying was getting out of control despite my grand plans for finishing school and heading to the city.  At the time, it seemed like he was an angel saving me from myself.

I would later learn no one could save me but me.

When I told my father, he thought I was insane.  Of course, any father wants their daughter be taken care of and to have a good life.  A good life to me looked a bit different than my parents’ view, though.

The day before my flight, my half sister (who worked in SF at the time) and I talked about my relationship and my goals for life.  Before I even realized it, she knew the marriage wouldn’t work.  She challenged my views and helped me realize I should take some time to reconsider.  She helped me think differently about what I really wanted- because for over a year, someone else was trying to make all my decisions for me.

Little Italy, 2008

As the plane took off, I thought about how I would wait a couple of weeks before telling my fiancé that I didn’t want to get married.  I thought about what types of jobs I could apply to in San Francisco, where I would live, and who I could become.  I day dreamed of freedom, making new friends, and exploring the magical, quirky sights of the city.  My gut told me moving was the right thing to do- and from the moment my fiancé greeted me at the gate, I knew it was over.

I didn’t wait two weeks.

I told him right away.

Of course, he tried to convince me it was a phase and how my sister was envious of me. He attempted to tell me I didn’t know what I was doing and how I was meant to be with him. All of his efforts to control me- from my diet to physical activities to what I wore- filled my brain, and I no longer felt sorry for him.

I began to have a deeper compassion for myself.

For the next week I stayed on a friend’s couch, who took a day off work with me to pack up my things.  I left my princess cut diamond on the dresser, leaving behind all the furniture I helped buy with my graduation money.  No physical object was worth sacrificing my dreams- or my future.

Who knows what would have happened had I not taken that trip to see my sister in 2008. Perhaps the wedding would have happened, and maybe I would be divorced now.  We will never know.  However, despite the judgment I received from others, I knew deep in my heart that I was making the right choice.  I knew, at 23, that I didn’t want to take the easy way out and allow the wrong man to take care of me.  I simply refused to do that.

I would have to spread my wings and fly.

I would have to make mistakes on my own.

I would somehow, someway, succeed- and despite the failures, I would learn from them- because I finally had my freedom.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but I do know I will never have to mourn the chances I didn’t take.  It’s been nearly 12 years since I took the leap, quit my job, and blindly moved to an apartment on California and Commonwealth Avenue.  Over the course of those 12 years, I’ve lived in a dozen more apartments, several other cities, and did eventually move to New York…

All because I chose freedom.

Categories
mental health self discovery

Nothing Will Go Away Until It Teaches Us What We Need To Know

Running away from my problems used to be my favorite coping mechanism.

I can still fall prey to this old bad habit; I’ll hope people who bother me will disappear, or I will leave situations when I’m uncomfortable.  However, every time I do this the same people pop back up, and the same situations manifest in a different way… over and over again.

It’s a fact.

I could write about endless examples, but there’s one I have in mind which was so bitterly uncomfortable that I’m still surprised I got through it.  When I had a difficult roommate, I obviously thought the solution was to move.  To run away.  Despite receiving the silent treatment for weeks, I didn’t leave- and get this:

I was kind.

I still said “excuse me” when we would pass each other in the hallway, and I still tried to be considerate despite her obvious distaste for me.  Although I really had no idea what I had done wrong, I didn’t cower or run away- but I did later learn she had been secretly drinking.

It wasn’t even me that was the problem.

Old Kristin would have run away to avoid the feelings of rejection, discomfort, and anger- but New Kristin dealt with the situation, stuck to her guns, and now has a much better living situation because she stuck with it.

Completing things you started can be difficult- especially for someone like me who hates to be uncomfortable.  If you were to ask me in an interview today if I am a “team player,” I would probably stop lying and tell them I work best independently.  The truth is, I’m not a team player- I’m one of those kids who got frustrated in school and did the entire project themselves.  As a control freak and type-A person, I kept trying to do everything myself, over and over again, and do it MY way.

But those bad roommates will keep coming along, and so will team assignments.  It’s up to you to choose how to handle them today.

Maybe I do work best independently, and I look forward to the day I don’t have roommates anymore.  Nevertheless, as long as I remain teachable and willing to put down my ego and learn to live life differently than I used to, I’ll be just fine.

Categories
mindfulness

On the Cusp- Who I Was, Who I Am

June 5th, 2014 (four years ago today!)- the day of my blonde chop.

This morning I looked at my horoscope- the Sagittarius one– as I’ve always felt much more like an archer than the goat.  Although I’m born on the cusp of Sagittarius and Capricorn, sometimes I wonder, “how could anyone consider me grounded!?”

One may say my head is often in the clouds and I have a relentless need for freedom, change, and adventure, but most wouldn’t consider me calm or cautious, like a Capricorn.  That said, I turned to my “Sag ‘scope” of the day:

“A sense of dissatisfaction that has been dogging you for quite some time now will at last begin to fade. You will instinctively know that you have found your niche in life and can follow your calling to achieve your dreams. You will be able to understand what changes must be implemented to make your health as well as your work much better.”

Spot-on.

This brings me to a common theme (or struggle): identity.

Although my haircut is the same as it was four years ago, I’ve spent a lot of these four years questioning who I am.

Have I been who I wanted to be? Or have I been listening too closely to what others have said?

I’ve lived a few different places, dated different people, worked different jobs; but none of things things have made up who I am.  Wherever you go, there you are– no matter what is stripped from you, whatever title you have, or whoever is by your side.  You always have YOU.

So, what do they have to say about Sagittarius, anyway?

Strengths: Generous, idealistic, great sense of humor

Weaknesses: Promises more than can deliver, very impatient, will say anything no matter how undiplomatic

Sagittarius likes: Freedom, travel, philosophy, being outdoors

Sagittarius dislikes: Clingy people, being constrained, off-the-wall theories, details

“Curious and energetic, Sagittarius is one of the biggest travelers among all zodiac signs. Their open mind and philosophical view motivates them to wander around the world in search of the meaning of life.”

Fitting.

“Freedom is their greatest treasure, because only then they can freely travel and explore different cultures and philosophies. Because of their honesty, Sagittarius-born are often impatient and tactless when they need to say or do something, so it’s important to learn to express themselves in a tolerant and socially acceptable way.”

Although I can 100% identify with the Sagittarius theme, it makes me wonder, “am I stuck in the clouds?  Do I need to be brought back down to earth?

So, I looked back at the blog posts from the past few days, and came to this conclusion:

My theme for June: grounding. 🙏🏻

What does that mean?  Well, it means quite a bit.  For me, the first things that come to mind would be to get out in nature, turn off the phone, meditate, read, relax, and most of all: sit still!  I often think my way into problems, or over-think the world around me. This has not only caused me anxiety, but has held me back from being my true self.

Once you re-center and become one with yourself, feeling comfortable in your own skin, you are limitless- no matter what your sign.

Although I’ll never back down from my adventure-seeking, curious nature, maybe I can stand to embody a little bit of my sea goat, after all. ✨

June 5, 2018- a little older, a little wiser, and maybe (just maybe), a little more grounded.

Categories
minimalism

Start by Simplifying: Align With Your True Self

Something has felt just a little “off” lately.  Apparently this has been obvious to the world around me, too.

For example, earlier today I walked up to a friend and stopped.  She must have noticed I was unlike my usually-energetic self, so she gave me a look of wonder.  Looking up, I said, “I haven’t been feeling myself for the past couple of weeks.”

She looked at me and nodded.  “You do seem a little bit off.”

I’ve been feeling this way for weeks now- but why?

There comes a point in everyone’s life when you recognize all you need to let go of in order to move on.  You may struggle to say goodbye to people, habits, behaviors, or doubts.  I know I have.

If I can talk the talk, why is it so hard to walk the walk?

I’ve thought I’ve let many things go, but apparently some of those things are still bubbling at the surface:  Insecurities.  Doubts.  Fear.  In turn, I also learned that my solar plexus chakra (also known as our “third chakra”) is extremely blocked and unbalanced.

I had never studied the importance of the solar plexus chakra before, but after doing so, it all made much more sense.  Although I have always felt I had a strong intuition, big heart, and solid communication skills, I never had a strong sense of self, identity, or confidence.  I moved city to city, and job to job, all to find a place where I fit, not knowing my true home was within.

After learning a little bit more, I learned that blockages in our third chakra can effect:

  • Will, personal power
  • Taking responsibility for one’s life, taking control
  • Mental abilities, the intellect
  • Forming personal opinions and beliefs
  • Making decisions, setting the direction
  • Clarity of judgments
  • Personal identity, personality
  • Self-assurance, confidence
  • Self-discipline
  • Independence

All of these attributes are obviously important to any human being, but I have found that these can also be challenges for many.  Without a strong sense of self, of course people flounder.  We change relationships, professions, neighborhoods, and even pick up bad habits, such as excessive shopping, addictions, or gambling.

Sometimes we just need to take it easy and give ourselves a hug… and a mental break.

After writing a blog post yesterday morning and relaxing in the park, I watched a June energy update in hope of finding some sort of help or answer to my “off-ness.”  One of the YouTubers I love watching is Lee Harris, who gave some helpful insights for the June energy, and the challenges we faced in May:

MAY WAS AN INTENSE MONTH.

It brought with it a lot of change, a SHIFT IN OUR IDENTITIES and also new levels of CLARITY around any aspects that had been unclear or muddy in your life. Your mind may suddenly have become clear about these areas and allowed you to make changes in patterns of behaviour, relationships or careers. The changes may have been obvious – things that weren’t working and for many, the element of surprise would have accompanied this. What this now ALLOWS you to do is make room on the inside to adjust and calibrate, before taking your next actions or welcoming the next level of energy into your life.

There are two ways we create change on the planet; we try something out externally and it changes who we are internally as a response; or equally, we can sit with ourselves and go within for a while and meditate on who we are and what we want from life. Then after this period of INNER SHIFT, different and new things start to manifest in our outer lives.

Confidence is the next big factor of my life I need to work on; being confident in doing my best.  Confident in my friendships.  Confident in my work.  Being confident in my identity.

I have spent so many years concerned about what my family, friends, or complete strangers have thought of me.  Maybe that is my next step: becoming truly happy no matter what is going on on the outside.  Don’t get me wrong; I’ve taken a lot of steps.  However, there is always work to be done.

So far, I’m off to a good start- over the past couple of days I’ve been busy at the gym, got a new haircut, and have learned to slow down… a little, anyway.  As we move through June, I am optimistic that each day I’ll become a little more grounded, a little more sure of myself, and a little more in-tune with my third chakra; because if I’ve learned one thing by now, it’s “wherever you go, there you are.”

If you still have questions about the June energy, you can check out the rest of Lee’s energy report here.