The Rest Is Still Unwritten

Not to go all Natasha Bedingfield on ya, but really what a concept. We wake up every day with the freedom to choose whether we will carpe the diem, or just let it waste away. How incredible is that? Every single day we have the ability to rewrite our narrative chapter by chapter until our lives transform into a whole new story. I hear so many people complain about how unfair life is. I get it. If you want to be in a constant state of comparison then NYC is the place to be. Here in the big Apple, we're constantly striving for more.

The city is a buffet, but with the right moves you could potentially earn yourself anything on the menu. We've become so bored with the buffet and we want the next best thing. It doesn't matter the buffet is full of variety and able to sustain our needs, because beyond it lies the next best thing. None of us know what that thing is, but we can confirm it exists. For every apartment there is another with better amenities, location and offerings. For every job there is a competitor with better titles, compensation and perks. For every relationship, there is an illusion of someone else who checks every box and is somehow still intriguing and mysterious.

Nothing can be enough because everything can be improved. We have spin bikes in pools and DJs with strobe lights at HIIT classes. We have apps to help us meet our match. Each app promising to deliver your soulmate and competing with one another over features like your ability to hide your public profile and filter by height and alcohol consumption.

The world is our oyster. Anything we want we can have and yet we fixate on what we lack. Today is the last Sunday of the summer, which is the perfect time to start reevaluating goals for the fall. I've been in a somewhat transitional phase. Things have been absolutely wonderful and I'm extremely happy, but I find myself asking, what's next?

My 5 year anniversary of moving to the city is right around the corner, September 2nd. I think about how much I've changed in five years and it blows my mind. I don't remember being scared of coming to NYC, but I do remember being scared of the thought of staying in Louisiana. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my dream life awaited me in NYC. I never felt anxious or questioned how it would work out. I was operating in fight or flight mode and letting the universe guide me. I trusted that if I set my intentions and lived by faith that I would accomplish my goals.

I broke the process down and though it was challenging and frustrating, I never gave up. I sold everything, found a roommate, created a budget, established goals and hopped on that one-way flight never to return. Was moving to the city without knowing anyone and without having a job or any proof that I would make it scary? Absolutely, but if I had never tried I would've risked so much more.

I definitely felt at times that I bit off more than I could chew. Everything in NYC is a process. Finding apartments, friends, boyfriends and jobs was overwhelming. There were and are days still where I come home completely defeated. When I feel defeated, or a funk coming on, I proactively fight against it. I remind myself of my past accomplishments and future goals and it gives me the strength to keep going.

So far, 2017 has been my favorite year in NYC. This is the year I feel I've grown the most and set the most boundaries for myself. I've stopped blaming others for problems I'm facing and begun soul searching to find out what it is that I want for myself and for my life.

Life is fast and fleeting, but we can make it beautiful. Regardless of your beliefs on after life there is one thing we can all agree to right now. That is that we are here and that's all we know and it's all we're guaranteed. What if the breath you're taking right now is your last? Are you pleased with your life? Is there more you could be doing? And I don't mean trading an old toy for a new fancier version. I mean what can you do to make yourself the next best thing? Forget your material desires and really envision you and your soul in the universe. What does that look like? What does it feel like for you?

I used to be scared to ask myself these questions. I had become so accustomed to living in survivor mode that I didn't know how to handle shifting into thriving mode. When you go from surviving to thriving you have the luxury of thinking about how you want to become versus who you simply have to be to get by.

My goal in moving to the city was to close a very ugly chapter of my life. I had a near death situation that jolted my psyche into a realization that if I didn't take control of my life, my life would take control of me. I closed that book of my life and decided to rewrite my story, but in doing that I forgot to remind myself of the pain.

Sometimes taking a quick glance in the rear view reminds you of lessons you must forgive, but not forget. That lesson taught me that life is precious. That people are humans capable of doing terrible things. That things aren't always fair or easy and don't always make sense. Most importantly that you have to forge a plan and trust the universe.

So go out into the world guns blazing and channel your inner badass. Don't cut yourself short and don't listen to anyone who wants to rain on your parade. Things won't always work out, or go as planned, but that's ok. Take that class, quit that job, kiss that man… just do it all, do everything now while you can. The most important part is to never stop growing.

Live Your Life

What a week, amirite? I'm not sure if something is up with the moon, upcoming eclipse, or if the universe was just kind of throwing an f you at all of us? Anyway, it was rough.

Today, one of my best friends reached out and told me she had been crying all morning over her ex-boyfriend. We talked for awhile and I told her that this would pass. I compared the end of a relationship to when you cut yourself. Initially the wound is all consuming, it hurts so much. Eventually it starts to scab and then it becomes less consuming. It's still painful to look at and sensitive to touch, but it's not an open wound. That said, every time you bump into it, or pick at it the healing has to start over. However, if you put a bandaid on it and do your best to leave it alone eventually it will heal.

Healing doesn't mean that the pain subsides fully, or that you won't have a scar. What it does mean is that over time the wound will become less and less painful. The scar will change what was once everything to a faint memory of what once was. Goes back to that old saying, time heals all wounds.

I promised her hope as I reflected on the loss of my first love. The relationship was something I never thought I would get over. I was certain there would always be a hole in my heart where he once resided. It took time, but eventually I moved on.

I moved on so much so that I realized while he was perfect for me then, he would not be now. We weren't soulmates, but he served a purpose in my life. He was a safe haven for secrets and a warm hand to hold. He happened to me when I least expected it and in the most unlikely of places. He was flawed and so was I, but what he gave me was priceless. For a time, he loved me in a way that I really needed. Sometimes we just need something for a certain amount of time to serve a certain purpose and then move on.

Eventually our expiration came and we parted ways. Losing him was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced. It wasn't just the loss of a relationship, but the death of a best friend. I kept the wound open for far too long. One of us always found a way to reopen the wound. By the end of it every day we were throwing salt in it. Eventually, I had no choice, but to remove him from my life. It was toxic and unhealthy. I was never going to heal and we had outlived our time.

I recently wrote him a letter and thanked him for the growth he helped me accomplish. He didn't work out. It just wasn't the right timing and now we've become completely different people. I would never be in that relationship now, but we gave it a good run.

It's crazy how the older you get the more you evaluate your relationships and the more you not only want but need for yourself. This year I've made a point to reassess every part of my life and rid anything/one who is no longer serving a purpose in my life. Creating boundaries and setting my intent for what I want in terms of everything really has been life altering.

Surrounding myself with positivity and people and places that are bringing me up has changed everything for me. I used to think being single was depressing, but now I celebrate it. I celebrate it because I'm actively choosing who I allow into my life. I don't need to have a mediocre relationship to feel validated, or even an amazing one that just isn't right for me.

Through doing the work and giving myself time, I've completely healed. Now, the person I decide to be in a relationship with will be one who celebrates me rather than tolerates me. Someone who is so excited to meet my friends, hear about my life and slowly, but surely emerge their world into mine. So much of what I sought in the past was validation through relationships, but now I'm perfectly happy on my own.

You can't possibly know how long it will take to recover, but if you trust in the universe it won't let you down. Eventually, you'll wake up and notice how blue the sky is, or how delicious your frosé tastes. You'll get comments in random places like the subway from strangers about how happy you look. You won't have to try to be okay anymore, because you'll actually be happy again. Until that day, just do your best to remember that you only live once and today could be your last day. Practice patience with yourself and don't beat yourself up if you reopen the wound a few times. Learn your lessons and realize what you deserve and don't accept anything less than pure magic.

The only thing I've become certain of is that when we are focused on living our best lives, our best lives happen. Grieve. Mourn. Do what you have to do, but then live your life. When I decided to live authentically and be unapologetically myself, my life changed. I have bad days, but I have good people to ride out the storm with me. Find those people and you'll find yourself and no wound will be too deep to heal.

Happy Friday, my loves!

Xx.

Avoidance

Yikes! Avoidance, I know it all too well. The funny thing about it is that sometimes you can't simply connect the dots on why you're avoiding something, or what at your core you're actually avoiding. Sometimes it just hits you like a sack of bricks and you're like… f&$@.

Yesterday it dawned on me that I had been avoiding something major in my life. I made excuses, I procrastinated, I blamed others and even got angry with others until I realized this was my beast of burden.

For me, I had lived in a delusional state thinking that if I ignored the problem long enough it would go away, it didn't. Instead, it grew bigger and bigger until I felt consumed by it and trapped. I felt overwhelmed and scared.

Last night, I talked to my best friend about this issue and she was so incredibly supportive. Sometimes just saying something out loud gives it less power. Sharing something with someone and asking for help made me feel more in control.

Apart from her listening and not judging me, she helped me think of next steps. This is what love is. For the first time, I felt cared for in a way that I hadn't in a very long time. My anxiety eased and I felt at peace with the universe.

I woke up today and a new day presented itself. A brand new chance to start over and to chip away at my now less intimidating monster. So, I started the day with a new workout class, Bari Bounce Lab. I entered the studio to open arms by one of my best friends who hugged me and loved me. I then got out of my comfort zone and bounced my heart out on a mini trampoline to amazing music and a bomb instructor.

When I walked out of the studio I felt an insane amount of gratitude. We get so caught up in the day to day. So caught up in avoiding the things we should be prioritizing that we forget to give thanks. Life is nothing without relationships.

The issue I had been avoiding made me feel alone. Today, as I walked out of the studio I realized just how far from alone I am.

I have best friends who are family who provide advice and help in times of need. I have mentors who advise me and deeply care about my professional success and personal development. I have trainers who fill me with inspiration and make me stronger each class. I have colleagues who hold me accountable and push me to be my best by stretching me. I have wonderful doormen and staff at my apartment building who keep me safe and listen to my stories. And biological family. The list goes on…

I owe it to myself and to the people who keep me going to embrace my challenges with a positive attitude. I don't believe in looking back, but every now and then it's nice to reflect on accomplishments. They can remind you of your strength and ability to crush any roadblock that comes your way.

So, I encourage you while encouraging myself to abandon avoidance and take back control. I tend to want immediate results and I'm learning that life is about consistency. You have to try and try and try until you see change. Nothing worth having/accomplishing comes easy anyway.

Xx.

What the Funk?

How do we get ourselves out of our funks? How do we define these funks? There are obvious funks such as the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, but what about the less identifiable funks? I like to think of these funks as being transitional.

Transitional funks could be anything from an untitled relationship status, lack of clarity in job role / opportunities for advance, holding onto the weight you’re trying to lose, vague apartment searches, etc. These funks linger over our lives like a big dark cloud. You never know when the rain is going to hit, but when it does, it pours.

We find our energy zapped and our state of mind completely overwhelmed. It’s painful. When one thing is off in your life, everything can feel out of control and burdening.

So, how do we rise above these funks, forgive ourselves and start living our best lives? I don’t have the one size fits all answer here; however, I can tell you what I’ve found to be helpful throughout my transitional funks.

When I’m in a funk, I retreat. I’ve always been an all or nothing person. My highs are high and my lows are low. So, I’ve learned that when I feel a funk coming on, or a shift in my energy that I have to proactively change it.

I find exercising and being social with friends critical to overcoming my funks. I’ve realized that most things seem daunting and overwhelming until you take action. Once you’re chipping away at whatever is chipping away at you, you will feel a sense of control.

Last year, I felt helpless and hopeless. I was alive, but I wasn’t living. My fight with New York had finally caught up to me and I didn’t have the energy anymore. I was tired of fighting the current, I was exhausted and that’s when I learned something that changed my life.

In wilderness class we were taught to never fight the current. That you must flow with the current, because otherwise the current will consume you and that will be the end.

There have been many points in my life where I could’ve fought the current until it killed me, but when I’ve surrendered to the universe, it always let’s me free.

I’m used to dealing with high level stress. Like crazy people, moving in 24 hours, jobless, loveless, broke, kind of issues. Now, I find myself very far from such extreme and toxic situations.

That said, the transitional funks can be just as daunting. Sure they aren’t life altering, but they are events and people and places that you have to overcome.

How do you get through the tough times? You force yourself out of your comfort zone, but you also listen to your heart and mind. You have to find the balance between flowing with the current and doing all you can to save yourself.

I mentioned that when I’m in a funk, I retreat. Knowing this about myself helps me avoid getting down, because I know what I need to do. I need to show up and see my friends who give me more life than I ever thought possible. I need to book that class, meditate for a few minutes, eat something green and give thanks for the beautiful life that is mine.

2012 was one of the roughest years of my life. I had a choice then to sink or swim. Leaving the life I knew to start a life I wanted was the best decision I’ve ever made. Every step throughout my New York journey has been a process, but this process has matured me and healed me.

Whether you’re dealing with a transitional funk, or a life needing an extreme makeover, take the plunge. Figure out what it takes to get to where you want to be and just do it. We’re afraid, we’re anxious, we’re blah blah blah. We should be excited and ambitious and dreaming endlessly of all the possibilities.

Everything is perception. I’ve literally watched my own life transform in front of my own eyes because I let go and let life take the reigns. When you love the universe, the universe loves you back.

You are all that you need to get to where you want to be. You are the love you share and the lives you touch. You’re beauty and grace you share with the world. If you’re in a funk, figure out a way to flip it around and change your life.

I Hope That You Choose You

I’ve had a lot of friends reach out to me lately regarding their relationship status. Some of them are single and dating, some in the talking phase, some in relationships. What I seem to keep hearing over and over again though is a feeling of inadequacy. Girls wondering why they simply weren’t enough. I used to struggle with this as well. I mean if we’re being totally honest who hasn’t taken the blame for someone not choosing them at least once?

Rejection in any form can trigger underlying insecurities and make us wonder why we weren’t enough for the individual. Why couldn’t this person see us for what our friends and family see us as? Why didn’t they think we were enough of a catch for them to stop trolling bars and dating apps? Why is it that we get traded in for the next best thing?

My view on this has changed drastically over the years. I used to bear the cross of rejection spending way too many hours analyzing myself and rehashing jerk after jerk with my girlfriends. Thankfully, I dated some truly wonderful gems and have an incredible support system who have helped me get to the place where I am now. Where is that? It’s above all of the judgement.

What I’ve learned is that most of the time people aren’t really thinking about you. It’s honestly not really about you at all. Timing is everything. Finding a strong connection with someone is actually really hard. You aren’t going to click with every person you go out with. You aren’t going to see fireworks and feel your heart drop to your stomach just over anyone.Β It takes time to find the right people for yourself.

Previously, I wrote about finding your friends and surrounding yourself with positivity. I think dating is no different. You might go out with one person and know they are your soulmate instantly. You might go out with 5 million people and not connect with any of them. You might find someone who captures your heart and turns you into a total mush only to be ghosted, or rejected. It’s ok. The lesson is to not lose yourself despite whatever scenario is currently going on in your life. People will come and go, but you’re stuck with yourself forever. So, make yourself someone you want to be around.

I hope that you don’t settle for comfortable, or convenient. I hope that when someone doesn’t choose you, you still choose yourself. I hope that you are kind to yourself and love yourself when someone else decides not to. I hope that you’ll remember your worth and uniqueness and you won’t skip a beat for anyone else who doesn’t as well. I’m not saying strive for perfection, but I am saying strive for your best.

One of my girlfriends and I were talking last night and she just made my day. She was so sweet and selective with her words. We were talking about life and she said “you deserve everything. You deserve a good morning text and above and beyond. You deserve everything.” And she’s right, I do and so do you. We all deserve that.

So, I challenge you to let go of the ones who don’t give you everything. Life is too short to be half ass. Life is too short to blame yourself instead of recognizing that sometimes things aren’t meant to be. We waste time wondering why x,y,z didn’t work out when we could be making something else happen.

I hope that you know your worth. I hope that you only allow relationships that propel you to be the best version of yourself. I hope that you choose YOU. ❀

Go Where You Are Celebrated

Wow! It feels exciting and scary to be blogging again. I started Big Apple Little Seed years ago to share my New York experiences with friends, family and the worldwide web. I was very consistent and found so much joy in writing. I stopped blogging and picked up other pastimes, some good and some bad. For years, I wrestled with the decision of whether or not to blog again. I started a personal website, but it felt way too formal. I started blogging about my dating life, but I didn’t feel inspired.

It wasn’t until today that I felt inspired and clear on what I wanted to do next. I owe my clarity and inspiration to my friends and family. This past week, I was going through a lot and my friends and family showed up. Last night, my girlfriends and I got dressed up, pranced around the city, danced on stage at Public, made new friends, and laughed until we quite literally cried.

Last night, I injured myself. I was walking up the steps of Public’s stage and checking someone out simultaneously and the universe wasn’t having it. I busted my ass. I woke up with a foot the size of my face and have had to spend the day rotating frozen Brussel sprouts from my knee to my ankle. I don’t do very well with down time. I like to keep moving and going and accomplishing something. So, being a lard all day has felt a bit out of my comfort zone. That said, it’s led me to major realizations.

Throughout my day, my friends and family called and texted me. They offered to help me, to bring me things, to take me to the doctor. They reminded me that they love me and they made me smile. So tonight, I want to honor these lovely humans and share what having solid female friendships has done for me personally and how these women have changed my life.

If you know me, you know that I’ve been through some really awful experiences. Who hasn’t? We all have obstacles and pain that we can use to propel us, or bring us down. I’ve been betrayed time and time again by some of the people I’ve loved in my life. This betrayal was across various relationships, but tonight, I want to focus on the impact female friend betrayal has had on me.

I tend to greet everyone with open arms. This means that when I meet someone, I assume the best until they’ve proven otherwise. I’ve gotten myself in trouble from assuming that everyone deserves your trust and loyalty before they’ve earned it. I’ve learned the hard way that everyone has the capacity to betray your trust and you have to be careful about opening up to people before you know their true colors.

I’ve been burned throughout my life by those whom I considered family. Due to this, I unknowingly lived life thinking that if I allowed females to get close to me, they would stab me in the back. I’ve always been incredibly independent, so I began relying on myself even more through hard times. I got tired of surface friendships and surrounding myself with people I had to censor myself with. I lost interest in surrounding myself with those who made me feel bad about myself, those who constantly made me feel like I was doing something wrong, with those who didn’t make me feel inspired.

2016 was one of hardest years I’ve ever had. It was lonely. There were the friends I still carry today, but I was working through things and changes and my life holistically was in Β a transitional state. Carrie Bradshaw nailed it when she said in New York City, you’re always looking for an apartment, job, or boyfriend. If everything in your life is perfectly aligned, you’re a walking miracle.

2017 has shown me the beauty and power in strong, positive and inspiring female friends. At the beginning of this year, one of my best friends told me that you have to build your group and know that these people will have your back no matter what. That you could rob a 711 (do not advise this) show up on their doorstep and they would take you in without judgement. These are the friends who tell you to put the ICEE down, return to the store and help you make amends/ develop an action plan for next steps.

This example sounds silly, but it totally resonated with me. When you surround yourself with people who love you no matter what, who have your back and who want you to be the best version of yourself, you grow. This year, I’ve found my squad. They consist of career-driven women, fitness fanatics, foodies, world travelers, fashionistas, philanthropists, volunteers, adventurers, dancers, artists, health nuts, and everything in between.

These women bring so much to my life and have made it a life worth fighting for. We keep in touch via FaceTime, phone calls, texting, or if I’m lucky in-person. I cherish every second with my soulmates and I’m so thankful that the universe brought me my angels. Find people who celebrate you and never let them go.