The happy girl can be the sad one, too

Before: I wouldn’t write a personal post like this for fear of potential employers, current employers or past employers seeing it. What would they think? Would it change their impression of me? Would it ruin my chances at the next great opportunity? What if, what if, what if…

Now: I am sad and I have SAD.

SAD stands for seasonal affective disorder.

I never really experienced this while living in the Midwest, coincidentally enough, but my first winter in Northern California has proved to be quite challenging.

For my friends in the Midwest, let me explain:

Winter in Northern California equals grey + a TON of rain. Doesn’t sound too bad, but for me it is. In Chicago while it may be in the negatives with snow on the ground, the sun was still shining. It’s easier to want to go outside when your brain THINKS there’s a chance the sun equals warmth. But, when it’s grey and raining… inspiration gone.

I have gained weight because I’ve made snacking my new hobby. I have become addicted to sugar because it is my “treat of the week”… on an almost daily basis. I need 2-3 cups of caffeine to get me through the day. I get less than 6.5 hours of sleep on a regular basis. I’m easily offended and irritated by others. All in all, I’m a mess.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in a cold room in a conference center in Portland watching this video that my perspective shifted…

Human beings put a man on the moon. Think about that for a second. But it wouldn’t be possible for you to record an album, or start an interior design company. Explain that to me. The fear of the unknown is debilitating. We’re all scared to fail. We’re scared to mess with the status quo, even when we’re not content with how things are. We’ll ride it out. Because unhappiness appears better than uncertainty. This in itself is a tragedy…

‘Human beings are the only life form that will do less than they possibly can. There’s never been a tree that didn’t grow as tall as it possibly could. They’re hard-wired to do that.’

Now, I’m not saying that I can just fix my symptoms of SAD by watching inspirational videos. What I’m saying is, that by owning ourself — all of our positives and negatives that make us, us — and sharing that ownership with others… it creates empowerment. It creates conversation. It creates community. It creates change.

I am a happy, loud, friendly, outspoken, and opinionated person that you know…most of the time. What you don’t know is that I tend to hide my insecurities, my struggles, my sadness and my hurts all inside. Why? Because I don’t want to be seen as negative. I don’t want to sound whiny. I want to be a good friend to you. But by allowing the sadness, the hurt, the anger to build, I’ve started to lose the better parts of me a bit at a time.

Instead of being worried of scaring people away, I have decided to live without apologizes. Carrie Fisher didn’t apologize for who she was.Why would I? We admire and remember the ones who dare to be their crazy selves.

The point of writing all of this is to acknowledge my struggles, throw away the stigma I placed upon myself, and encourage others to acknowledge their complexities, because ignoring them won’t make them go away.

Plus, you are beautiful & you are enough.

 

Why I succeed at failing

I have been letting myself down a lot this past year. I’ve been making excuses for why I’m treading water. I’ve been blaming the universe for giving me difficult circumstances, that prevent me from moving forward. I then decide that the solution to get away from all this negative juju invading my headspace is to well, move. Queue positive vibes & blissful living!

Nope. Maybe it was blissful living for the first two weeks, but then the frustration with life came roaring back.

You see, ever since I graduated from college almost 4 years ago, I haven’t felt fulfilled. Or, if I did feel fulfilled it was fleeting. My dreams were cut down by reality, so I adapted. But for me, adapting isn’t good enough. I tried the whole full-time job thing. Fine at first, and then life hit me again and again with dilemmas.

Caitlin, your family needs you.

But Caitlin, you have rent to pay.

Caitlin, live each day like it’s yours and their last.

Caitlin, how are you going to excel in your career, adulthood if you keep going off to follow your heart? 

I am a rational person. I would like to think I’m smart, even. Maybe even overly cautious sometimes when it comes to taking a risk. A square.

But when it comes to a career, I fly by the seat of my pants. My heart bleeds down my sleeve as I continue to search for that soulmate,  that fulfillment. I can’t force to do the easy thing and “just find a full time job until you figure it out.” That seems so wrong for me. Soul-sucking. Uninspired.

So, in the eyes of many, I continue to succeed at failing. Failing to conform to what generations before me did because “they had to,” but really did they? Failing to be comfortable with a steady income at a job that is just a job. Failing to do something “useful” and “productive” with my $50K+ college education, therefore disappointing my parents. Failing to be normal.

I always had said growing up that I would HATE working in an office if it wasn’t work I loved doing. “I’ll never take a job just for the money.” Well, I’ve done that in the past…slightly unavoidable Younger and Unknowing Caitlin.

But now, I’ve decided to embrace my failures. Things didn’t work out for a reason, because if they had would I really be my best self? My happiest? My most fulfilled? Maybe my failures are leading me up to a road of successes that just so happen to occur later in life, because I’ll handle it better then and not become a drug addict or fame whore.

I want to keep failing. If I keep failing then I’ll keep growing. If I keep growing then I’ll become a more evolved individual. If I become a more evolved individual then I will be fulfilled.

Simple enough, right?

Content with No Control

One day, something clicked. I felt a weight leave my shoulders, my soul. And now, I can honestly say that I am fully content with having absolutely no control in this crazy chaos of life.

This year has been a fast one.

I don’t remember what I did in January.

I don’t remember what I did in May.

I don’t remember what I did August 31st.

But, I do remember moments. I remember trying times. I remember wanting to give up. I remember wanting to quit. I remember wanting to walk out. I remember wanting to shut myself away from the world.

It’s the end of September now. There’s less than 100 days until Christmas. And soon, 2016 will be here.

But for me, my “new year” has already begun before the drop of that oversized disco ball in Times Square.

One day, something clicked. I felt a weight leave my shoulders, my soul. And now, I can honestly say that I am fully content with having absolutely no control in this crazy chaos of life.

I realized that I have spent too many days this year trying to control other people, blaming outside forces for my unhappiness, distracted from the reality that I choose my outlook on life, how I’m going to view each day.

Finally realizing that released so much anger, so much frustration that I was letting cloud my true self. I am no longer beating myself up for “not using my college degrees.” I am no longer feeling trapped to provide for 3 other lives in addition to my own. I’m taking control, not giving others the control. I am making the best of how my life has turned out.

I declared September to be a month of gratitude. October will be a month of giving my undivided self to the people and relationships that matter most.

November and December are probably the most hectic times of year for people, even more so if you work in retail (like me), but I am determined to make those months ones filled with positive intent, quiet moments, and full of laughter and smiles.

A quote I have always told myself in stressful times, is to “let go and let God.” And I think I am finally doing just that… it just be a little bit more of “let go and let Grandpa.”

One small positive though in the morning, can change the entire outcome of your day!
One small positive though in the morning, can change the entire outcome of your day!