Meditating at Midnight: Letting Go of Negativity

Meditating at Midnight: Letting Go of Negativity

Hello, readers!

 

There is something so freeing about letting go, just taking a deep breath and allowing your negative thoughts to escape from your mind. But as many of us know, this is easier said than done. And I will be the first to admit that it is much easier to read about how to change your mindset than to actually make the change.

One aspect of my life that I am working to improve is my attitude toward my relationships. It is so easy to get caught up in negative thoughts. But I don’t mean negativity toward other people — I mean negativity about ourselves.

For as long as I can remember, I have had a habit of comparing myself to other people. While this habit has slowly but surely worn off when it comes to grades or lifestyle choices, there is one thing that I still can’t help but think about, and that is my relationships with my friends and the fear of missing out. But instead of projecting this negativity toward my relationships with others and blaming myself for not being “good enough” or “fun enough” or “interesting enough” to be around, I need to recognize that this is all in my mindset and make a change.

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Taking a deep breath and letting go of this resentment and negativity can do wonders for you. Today while doing a guided meditation by Joanna Garzilli (she is awesome, go check her out), I thought of a friend of mine. I thought of how much built-up resentment I had for our relationship. And after meditating on this, I realized that I had projected my insecurities and my own struggles onto this friend, causing there to be tension in our relationship. I felt down when when she chose to spend her time with other people instead of me, thinking that she did not see me as a good enough friend anymore, and I felt saddened when I thought of the two of us growing apart. This led to me feeling negatively toward her and our relationship. I felt as though there had grown to be so much distance between us, and I felt so down, distraught, and often annoyed because of it. I often didn’t know what to do, and stopped making an effort to make plans with her, thinking I was just not good enough to be her friend anymore.

But growing apart from friends is a part of life. While we control our own lives, we cannot control others, and we shouldn’t feel so negative toward other people because of resentment and our own insecurities we feel about ourselves. Harboring negativity will not make my relationship with this friend any better. Feeling “not good enough” when she does not want to hang out with me will not cause her to realize how much I do value my friendship with her. These feelings were simply driving me further and further away from speaking my mind and opening up. In meditating and thinking about our relationship, I realized that she is not at fault for my negative feelings, and I can release them and be free of these thoughts if and when I want to. This idea was so freeing to me.

After meditating on this topic and learning to release the negativity, I know it is time to actually make the change. We often think about releasing negativity when it comes to letting go of negative people in our lives, but sometimes we feel this negativity within ourselves, and when we do, we need to recognize it.

We are in complete control of our own lives. But that also means that everyone else is also in complete control of theirs.

Make the change. Release the negativity. Instead, radiating love and positivity out into the world and into others will only lead to more. I recognize and understand that there is absolutely no reason to harbor negative feelings about others, and especially not about ourselves. How can we expect to feel love from others if we cannot feel it for and about ourselves? Releasing these negative thoughts can only lead to less. I challenge myself and you reading this to do so. Let’s make the change.

Thank you for reading.

Love,

Bailee

Becoming Content With The Present

Becoming Content With The Present

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I heard a quote last week that said: If you are so focused on the future, where are you now? 

This had me thinking…a lot.

This entire summer, I have been constantly thinking about my future and questioning so many of my choices because of it. I work four days a week at an internship because I think it will help me get into business school, or at least help with getting a job after I graduate; I study every day, sometimes for hours on end, for a test so that I can eventually further my education even more with a master’s degree. I am saving money so that in a year I can move and I will have some dollars put away as a safety net.

At first glance, these plans and actions are great. I am being responsible, working toward sustainable goals, making the most of my last summer as an undergrad. But what makes these actions concerning (at least, to me) is the thoughts that go along with them. With the studying comes discouragement and self-doubt whenever I get too many questions wrong or don’t remember vocabulary terms. And with the internship comes the lack of sleep and sluggish mornings. I love what I am doing, but I get caught up in being “good enough” or “prepared enough”or even “intelligent enough.”

I became so focused on my future that I stopped paying attention to the harmful thoughts of worry and self-doubt that I was having in the present.

As humans, we are not perfect. We are inherently flawed. So if this is true, then why should we get down on ourselves for making mistakes, for taking things slow, for not knowing exactly what our next move is or what we will end up doing after we graduate college?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being prepared. I am trying to prepare myself for my future so that I can live a worthwhile, sustainable, happy life later on. But it is just as important (if not even more important) to pay close attention to our thoughts and feelings in the present.

Me writing this blog post is not to say that I have had a sudden 180-degree flip or a change of heart and now I have a miraculously better mindset. I still have a lot to learn. But what I truly need to pay attention to is life is a journey, and where I am now emotionally and mentally affects where I want to be in the future. Becoming content with the present is a huge step in life, and I am going to make a point to do so.

Please share anecdotes, thoughts, and stories of your own journey with me as I continue to write and learn about my own.

Love,

Bailee

My Selfies Are (Not Necessarily) For Your Liking

My Selfies Are (Not Necessarily) For Your Liking

Why are we shamed for feeling confident about ourselves? 

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t post photos on Instagram to get likes. Sure, some people post photos to get a reaction, maybe to show off whatever it is they are doing, and that’s fine! There is absolutely nothing wrong with posting something for others to see. If you are confident enough to post something because you want to show others what you are up to, then more power to you.

But for me, I use Instagram as an online photo album. I upload photos so that I can scroll back and look at whatever I was up to and how I felt about it. I have had Instagram since my senior year of high school, and now, going into my senior year of college, I am so happy to still have access to all those photos I used to post, everything I had experienced and shared.

I am so happy to still have access to all those photos I used to post, everything I had experienced and shared.

That being said, I appreciate getting likes as much as the next person, but they aren’t something that boosts my confidence. So if I post a selfie on Instagram and I notice that it gets maybe 20 less likes than a photo that a random stranger took of my boyfriend and I, do I get insecure? No way! And this is why:

My selfies are not necessarily for your liking. And that is 100% okay with me. 

In a world where women are told to feel ashamed for being confident, where we are called “conceited” for thinking we are pretty and where we are told that not thinking we are beautiful is what makes us beautiful (I’m looking at you, 1D), posting a selfie isn’t always widely accepted. But if a woman posts a photo of herself because she got a promotion at work or she finished her finals, should she be shamed for it? Absolutely not. So why should a woman feel weird or ashamed for posting a photo simply because she feels beautiful–simply because she is beautiful?

In a world where women are told to feel ashamed for being confident… posting a selfie isn’t always widely accepted.

My social media accounts are for my own personal enjoyment, and posting selfies takes a hell of a lot more courage than an oversaturated photo of the French toast you ordered at brunch. Having the courage to show the world that you love yourself and feel confident about how you look is amazing and absolutely nothing to feel worried about. We shouldn’t ever feel as though we are not good enough or not liked enough to post pictures of ourselves online.

So post that selfie…or don’t. What you choose to publish online is your choice, and you have every right not to have your decision impacted by how much likes you may or may not get, or what people may think about your confidence. My Instagram feed is filled with photos that make me smile when I look back at them. And if a selfie makes me happy, well, so be it.

 

the importance of loving

the importance of loving

 

As a new day begins on the golden coast, a fresh cup of coffee meeting my lips to give me a sip every couple minutes, I reflect on the past few weeks–the past few years–of my life and smile.

The world can be a harsh place. There will be people who want to tear you down and cause you strife, people who do not want to see you succeed.

But there will also be people who lift you up, even if they don’t realize they are doing it. There will be people who love you unconditionally, who don’t see the flaws you see, or who maybe see them but don’t care or don’t think they’re flaws at all.

And through my reflections on this cloudy Monday I have an idea that permeates my brain, one that I want to share and that I want everyone to hear.

The most important gift we can give someone is love. Through life’s ups and downs and ins and outs, we must always remember to love one another, to tell one another that we love them. We must always speak up and make sure someone knows when we are happy and sad, hurting, angry, overjoyed, or ecstatic. We should share these things with one another.

I was speaking to a friend last night about her feelings and what she is going through, and during that time I couldn’t help but remember the moments in life when I felt similar things. And I wanted more than anything for her to feel peace. And I know that I will be here for her when she does not.

Through all your pain and suffering, I wish you strength. Through all your hopeless moments, I wish you love. 

As I continue to write this post, I smile. I smile at the times when I laughed uncontrollably with my best friend, when E and I spent our nights talking for hours on end about boys or classes or our high school lives, when just yesterday I ate some of the best yellow curry chicken with some dear people in my life.

I smile because these are the days I will always remember. These are the days worth smiling for.

I love life. I hope you do too.

 

xo

B

If You Love Something, Set It Free

If You Love Something, Set It Free

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If you love something, set it free

 

Another school year has come and has practically gone, and with that another year of my life is coming to a close. With this change is coming a lot of acceptance, some grief, but above all, excitement for life ahead, although I am not sure what it holds yet.

 

I am a planner and a doer. I like to have things in order and I like to know what is coming. And there is something about change that really makes me uncomfortable, but that topic is one for another day. But like everything in life, the things we plan eventually must (or sometimes, must not) come to fruition, and eventually a close. One of the things in my life that is ending is my career as an editor at The Bottom Line, the newspaper that has become a sort of home to me since fall of my freshman year at UCSB. I have grown to create a career for myself at this newspaper. After a quarter of writing for it, I became hooked and I set goals and plans for myself and my life there. I went on to become a steady reporter after a year of staff writing, and eventually was hired to be the Executive Content Editor, overseeing the production and content of the newspaper each week–or really, each day.

After a quarter of writing for it, I became hooked and I set goals and plans for myself and my life there.

This was so exciting to me. I loved my job. I loved coming in to the newsroom every week to send the paper, and I got a thrill every time we completed an editorial cycle. It was exciting and new, and exactly what I wanted for myself. I set out to accomplish the goal of becoming an editor my junior year, and I did just that. I am proud to say that I can check that off my list.

 

But that’s just it. It became a job. As time went on and responsibilities became more and more daunting, working at the newspaper became less and less enjoyable. I got older, and life became more monotonous. The pressure built up and I got lost. I felt obligated and isolated at times, and I found myself often regressing into the same feelings I felt when I was in high school, the feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness.

The pressure built up and I got lost.

While I can say that I hired the new “me” with a sigh of relief, I can also say that these past two weeks have been more…well, surprising. I am so happy to be training the new person who will be taking over my job, but part of me feels anxious and weird about closing this door of my life. Giving the new ECE more responsibilities as I train her has definitely taken a load of my shoulders and given me more time to dedicate to school, but it has also given me more time to reflect and understand exactly how I am feeling. Within rant-y Tumblr posts, short journal scrawls, and finally this blog, I have reflected on how I feel and what I want. This is messy at times, and my brain can feel clouded with emotion and rules, and sometimes I don’t really even know how I feel or what I want.

 

But after a conversation with a coworker today, I think I have reached a sort of contentment. I love The Bottom Line, admittedly. Though it has caused me emotional strife and I drink a lot more coffee than water some days, I can confidently say that I love it. The newspaper has given me what I asked of it. Sure, a lot of the feelings were not expected, and there are some things I truly wish I could have changed but had no control over, but I can still say that, well…I feel content. And it is with this contentment that I feel comfortable closing the door.

 

I will still be here. I will still return to write articles, maybe even weekly. I don’t think my Tuesday evenings will ever feel the same after this year, and I don’t think I will ever feel fully comfortable in the newsroom, to tell you the truth. And that is okay with me. But all in all, this is a door that I feel I need to close. For myself, really. At least for now.

Though it has caused me emotional strife and I drink a lot more coffee than water some days, I can confidently say that I love it.

And so with a clearer, much less caffeinated mindset, I shall set it free, with more love than ever.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

xo

B

Morning Chats With Happiness

Morning Chats With Happiness

Do things that make you happy.

Go for a walk. Treat yourself to a $5 cup of coffee every once in a while. Spend time with the people you love and don’t set a limit on how much. Allow yourself to feel: allow yourself to cry and laugh and hug it out because this world is sacred and this life is not as long as you think. An unhappy thought is a thought wasted.

There is such a misconception around doing things for ourselves. Some of us grow up thinking it is selfish to do what we want, it is selfish to ask for things we want, it is selfish to do what makes us happy and think of our own happiness first. When in reality, you are never going to get anything you want in life unless you ask for it. If you spend your whole life never asking for what you want or never considering how things will make you feel, chances are you’re going to be left with a whole lot of”what if”s and “why didn’t I do that”s.

So go for it. Happiness is yours to take, so take it. Your happiness doesn’t take any happiness away from someone else. There’s plenty to go around.

A Note On Goal Setting

A Note On Goal Setting

Goal setting. We all do it, whether we realize it or not. Setting goals is our way of telling ourselves that there is more to life than the current moment. It is our way of planning out what we aim to do in a way that is more permanent than just exploring a pipedream or a fleeting idea.

But following through with your goals is just as important as setting them. We are told time and time again to aim high and follow our dreams, but how many of us actually do that? How many of us follow through with what we aim to do?

Following through is what turns goals into reality. Even if it doesn’t work out, attempting to accomplish something until it is successful or a dud is what gives us the satisfaction of knowing we tried. There is so much negativity surrounding the idea of failure, but I think if we tried hard enough, it wouldn’t matter if things didn’t work out. All that matters is we gave it a shot.

Give yourself a shot.

I think the world would  be a better place if we let go of the fear of letting go. I think the world needs a pep talk.

Inside the Junk Drawer: What It’s Really Like to be The First Person in my Family to go to College

Inside the Junk Drawer: What It’s Really Like to be The First Person in my Family to go to College

I am starting a new series on this blog called “Inside the Junk Drawer,” in which I will explore certain experiences (mainly old works of writing) that I have shut away for a while, and reflect on how I feel now. Let me know what you think! 



I wrote an article with the same title (What It’s Really Like…) almost exactly two years ago, after finishing my first fall quarter at UCSB. I remember listening to the opinions editor of The Bottom Line (where I have worked for almost three years) pitch an article about what it is like to be the first person in your family to attend university. I remember looking around and not seeing any writers raising their hands to write the story. And I remember volunteering to be the one to do it.

I had never written an op-ed in college before, and so I didn’t know what to expect. The editor seemed like she wanted a story with a lot of bite, one that would give the readers the inside scoop about “what it’s really like” to be one of “us,” one of the kids whose parents did not attend college. She seemed really excited to be publishing an article like this, but I wasn’t so sure.

Today, while listening to a podcast about college experiences, I remembered the article I wrote back then. To be honest I don’t know why I forgot about it. I take pride in all of my work, but soon after this piece was published, I shoved it aside, stuck it in my mental junk drawer, and never paid any mind to it again. Sure, I knew my name would always be attached to it, but it wasn’t something that I thought was extraordinary or worthy of recognition. The article, as it still exists today, is a simple story of my experiences and how I felt after my first quarter. No angst, no deep regrets or resentment, just a reflection and an honest opinion. That’s what I intended.

But looking back on these past two, almost three years since beginning school at UCSB, I am wondering if anything has changed. Do I still feel this way? “College is hard but I am doing it for myself and it doesn’t matter what happens or how many other people have their lives figured out because I am trying my best and this is a big deal in my family…” ?

Since writing the article, I have definitely moved forward in my college career. I have realized which friends really are lasting, advanced in my roles at the paper, happened upon love, maintained a stable on campus job, realized what I really want to study…I feel comfortable. I feel happy. I have always craved more and wanted more for myself, but after coming here and learning and growing, I feel good. I feel right.

When I wrote the op-ed two years ago, I thought that is is okay to struggle if I know I am trying my best, and that life is hard but I am living for myself and nobody else. Sure, these are truths that still hold, but I think my outlook is more than that. I have accomplished a sort of self reflection and realized that it is okay to be doing something for other people. And it is okay to not have it together all the time. And sometimes, comparing my personal goals and life’s path to others’ is healthy, if it motivates me to try harder and be a better version of myself. I am going to college for myself, yes. But I am also going to make my family proud, and my future family proud. And at the end of the day, if I am happy with this, if this motivates me, well…then that is exactly how it should be.

… Still reading? Here’s some photos through the years.

 

 

 

 

xo

B

Being Twenty

Being Twenty

There is something so abstract about being twenty-years-old. Throughout my two decades on existing on this earth, I am only able to remember approximately eighty percent of them. My brain has been stuffed with information since the ripe little age of two and there is not a place in this world I do not yearn to go.

This post is three sections that don’t necessarily string together in the most cohesive way, but in my head it all works out, so bear with me.


Listening

I have always been a listener, ever since I can remember. Listening to the telephone ring off the hook when nobody wanted to answer it, listening to my brother stem to himself as he played with his toys, listening to the sound of the microwave beeping incessantly to remind me that my nacho-flavored Easy Mac was ready to eat. My dog barking and my mom laughing and my dad snoringso many sounds filled my life, and I remember them all.

Now, at twenty, I have become well-acquainted with particular sounds that come with being an adult: the keypad on the ATM beeping every time I select “Deposit Check,” the fan above the stove whirring so I don’t set off the smoke detector, the alarm on my phone beeping loudly and repeatedly so I don’t show up late to work.

I want to hear everything…okay that’s a lie, maybe only the good things or the things that will make me a better human being. I want my ears to be engulfed by the sounds of today and I want to be forever curious of how tomorrow will sound. These sounds of being twenty are a daily reminder of not how long I have been alive; rather, they are a reminder of how long I have yet to live.

Writing

I have always been a writer, ever since I can remember. I have spent hours upon hours brainstorming for English papers or newspaper articles, and I can remember the first book I ever wrote (let’s just say I had a thing for ponies back in the day). There is something to therapeutic about stringing together letters that form sounds and words and feelings, something to beautiful about turning nothing into something and then being able to take it apart and put it back together once again, differently each time.

I was lying in bed last night thinking about my life and what will come of it. At the age of eleven, after seeing my first episode of Gilmore Girls on ABC Family, I knew I wanted to be a journalist, just like Rory Gilmore. At the age of 13 I found a 1980 World Book encyclopedia set with only four volumes missing, and I would study the history of different universities, running downstairs to tell my parents which ones I wanted to attend. I have wanted this for myself for almost a decade, a textbook life defined by movies and books like His Girl Friday and Harriet the Spy (okay she wasn’t a journalist, but she sure knew how to get a scoop, am I right?).

At twenty, I have realized that a career in writing isn’t just about being a bestselling author or working for the New York Times. It is so much more than producing exactly what an editor wants or working somewhere that will make someone else proud. Writing is passion, it is focus, drive, determination, creativity… Little rockets shoot out of my fingertips every time I write a story, every time I find the right angle or the perfect adjective. My mind runs a million miles per hour on a treadmill staring at a computer screen. Writing is what makes me feel alive, here on this earth at twenty-years-old, and I am happy that I am now understanding that it is okay to feel this way from only a simple blog post, even if only two people read it (cough cough Mom and Chris).

Being

So far, being twenty has been full of firsts. Four months ago, I celebrated my first anniversary with my boyfriend. For the past five months, I have held my first and longest steady job. In a month, I will move into my first apartment. In five months, I will travel to Taiwan for the first time. This may sound so repetitive or selfish, but there are so many milestones I am passing as an adult.

Simultaneously, there is still so much more I am trying to do. I am trying to call my family more, because I miss them and I know they miss me too. I am trying to be more compassionate and understanding, and I am trying not to take things too personally or too seriously. Being twenty is this interesting and exciting, yet awkward limbo between being a legal adult, but not yet being grown up. I can vote but I can’t drink, and I can make important decisions like sign leases and pay taxes, but I am still afraid of the dark and I don’t like being alone. I am mature yet immature, and more often than not I wish my parents could still take care of me, yet I want to make my own choices.

Being twenty is…just that. It just is. And I am coming to terms with the idea that sometimes, it is okay to just…be.

This post felt fragmented and odd and jumbled and not cohesive whatsoever, but it felt good to write, so I’ll press the publish button anyway. Thanks for reading, if you’ve stuck along this far 🙂

xo

B

PS: Leave me a comment with your thoughts on your age! What is it like to just…be?

Sunset Musings III: New

Sunset Musings III: New

Sunset is my favorite time of day, especially during the summer. It is a time for reflection when the day is coming to a close, turning the sky a milky blue, allowing for reflection. Chris and I took a walk to the shore to watch the sunset during high tide, his face turning the same beautiful shade of gold, the delightful color remaining in the west as the sun took its deep, daily dip. Some days feel endless, others seem to zip by so fast I don’t even have time to think about what I am eating for dinnerbut I never fail to think about the sunset, and I never forget to give it at least one quick glance before its through and I have to wait another cycle of a day to see the next one.

My new favorite picture… 🙂

There is something so comforting about a reset, or knowing that every evening can be the beginning of a new phase of life. When the yellow beams of light are no longer covering my path with their buttery warmth, there is a time of solitude. I can use this time every evening to my advantage: productivity, or maybe relaxation, can occur. I can spend the time with a mix of darkness and artificial light to recharge, regroup, and rethink. And in an hours-long blink of an eye, it is a new day, a new start, a new phase in this long chapter called “2015: The Year of New Beginnings.”

This year has been full of “new.” I realize “new” is not normally a noun, but in this instance, it is. So far in 2015, I have gotten new opportunities, new celebrations, new life, new habits and the breaking of old ones (though I still nervously pick my nails; I won’t ever stop that, I’m convinced). New is a great feeling this year. New means bright, it means change but also hope. If my world were to be described in one word, it would be new. Interpret that how you wish.

And 2015 will continue to be new! A new year at school, a new apartment, a new job, a new language, a new countrysome may call it overwhelming, but I am beyond excited… and okay, yes, overwhelmed, but confident. That is something Chris has always told me to be: confident. He is the most confident person I know. I can only hope it is rubbing off on me, but I digress.

The sunset is the time for a new start. Some say it is the sunrise, but every ending is only a new beginning. As the sun dove into the depth of the ocean, sliding gracefully down into the inverted bowl where indigo sky meets indigo sea, Chris and I walked up the steps back home. But the sun wasn’t gone; we carried it with us and lead it into the fresh nighttime air.

xo

B