Making My Triumphant Return to Blogging!

So it has been quite awhile since my last blog post. This past semester was awful. My classes were fine, work was fine, but the amount of drama that erupted in my personal life over the last few months left me incapable of focusing on anything beyond school, work, and starting my post-undergrad job hunt. I even pushed my GRE back to June because studying for my original November date just wasn’t an option.

I’ve resolved for 2012 to be better. Even though I still don’t love the idea of resolutions, I am making a small resolution-type-thing… in 2012 I refuse to get caught up in anything that will drag me down in the way that this last year did.  My anxiety issues (which I will talk about more in a future post) have hit their peak in 2011 (seriously, I’m calling it) & 2012 will be the year that I pull myself together and become the calm, collected, kickass person that I can be 24/7, instead of just when I am out in public and my reputation is on the line. Part of this resolution means writing here (and elsewhere on the web) a lot more again, because I miss blogging & everyone who I interact with on here!

While I was missing from Imagine Today a TON happened elsewhere. The two most exciting things are…

(1) I got an article posted on xoJane.com!

(2) I also got accepted to present at Momentum 2012 alongside Maria Falzone! Check it out, check it out! I added the conference icon to my sidebar (FINALLY) so if you’re interested at all check it out and consider attending. Last year’s conference, the first ever, was fabulous, it was new, exciting, and experimental yet the organizers obviously knew what they were doing… the workshops were well scheduled, presentations ran smoothly and were well times, plenty of delicious and refreshing snacks were constantly available. I normally really enjoy conferences, but Momentum is on another level entirely. Check out the liveblogs & recaps I wrote of last year’s conference…

Maria and I will be co-facilitating a presentation called Selling Safer Sex to College Students: Tips and Techniques of the Trade. Click the linked title to check out the description! Maria is ridiculously funny & we are both committed to facilitating a session with plenty of dialogue and engagement, so I can promise you this will be awesome. I know my biggest issue that week is going to be choosing between so many wonderful looking workshops.

So I am signing off for now, but I promise this time it won’t be for nearly three months (sorry!) I’ll be back with new content (and a renewed commitment to writing here) soon! In the meantime, do any of you have resolutions? How do you stay calm and focused when life seems to want you to lose your mind? I always love having conversations in the comments!

A Rose By Any Other Definition…

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Words have power, this much is obvious. Sometimes, however, that power can be a little ubiquitous. Take the word bitch for example; to some it is an innocuous word meaning, “the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals.” However, over time it has come to also mean “a lewd or immoral woman” or “a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse.” Both of these definitions are printed in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, and given the  – same credibility. Does this bother anyone other than me? How can hate-speak have become so acceptable in our society that even the dictionary acknowledges the hateful twisting of these words – into things they were never originally intended to mean – and give them the same credibility as the words original, harmless, definition?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming the dictionary publishers, or writers for this phenomena. The truth is almost all of us have uttered the word bitch at another woman or man, we’ve all contributed to this shift in meaning. But should we allow this to go on?

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Healthy Relationships (For You)

self-esteemYesterday I wrote about how to recognize and develop healthy relationships with others, today I want to talk about the relationships we have with ourselves. Realistically, this post probably should have come first since its impossible to love fully and completely without first loving yourself, yet this is the relationship that is most often ignored or not even considered.Why is it that, in society, that we will treat our friends with respect and love before turning around and showing hate and frustration to ourselves?

It may be corny but I do believe that there is wisdom in the saying, “be your own best friend.” Think about it logically: if a friend called you fat, or untalented, or stupid… well, they wouldn’t be a friend much longer, would they? And yet, so many of us believe these things about ourselves every day. Just like negative relationships with others can harm our confidence levels, a negative self-relationship can shatter a person’s self esteem. So, here come some guidelines for building a strong positive relationship with the most important person in your life… you.

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Healthy Relationships (For Two)

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I look around and see friends in relationships that obviously are not making them happy and yet, they stay… why? The most common response, of course, is “because I love them” however, a few of those friends who use this excuse also tell me they will consider moving on when someone better comes along. Suddenly, I don’t think its so much about love. I feel as if many people stay in relationships that obviously are not working out because they are afraid of being alone. Obviously I’m not talking about everyone, at eighteen I am in a relationship that is well over two years old – the difference? I’m not waiting around for anyone better. I’m still dating my boyfriend because I love him, both for who he is and for who he encourages me to be.

When I have friends ask me for relationship advice I always try to ask one thing: is their relationship helping them to spread the love they feel for that person bothhands towards towards the world, and inwards towards themselves? This advice really goes beyond romantic entanglements and touches upon all close relationships. So, here is my simple guide to recognizing and developing relationships that are go beyond healthy and help both parties involved blossom into the people they truly want to be.

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Reframing (Literally)

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Over the time I spent with my therapist last year (no shame, therapy is a wonderful addition to anyone’s life) we spent a lot of time teaching me how to “reframe” stressful events so that I could cope better with anxiety and improve my outlook on life. I’ve found this strategy to be incredibly rewarding in so many aspects of my life that I’d like all of you to try a very literal interpretation that may help you to begin your own “reframing” process…

1) Go on facebook, look through your photo albums, whatever… find a picture of yourslef that you do not like.

2) Pin that picture up somewhere, frame it, put it on your wall… just place it somewhere that you’re going to see it a lot for the next week or so.

3) Every time you pass that picture find one thing about it that you like. (Maybe your hair looks great, or you have a fantastic grin?)

4) If you feel up to it, show off that picture in the comments and tell us what you love!

I bet by the end of the week you’ll be feeling much, much better about that picture… and maybe even about your body image as a whole.

Now imagine trying this exercise metaphorically…. with job challenges, relationship issues, people you dislike… wouldn’t life be much better if we all just focused on pulling out the good in things?

New Years Resolutions?

The week before New Years tends to be a time of reflection, at least with the people I know, where time is spent considering what needs to be improved in each person’s life so that they can make a New Years Resolution concerning whatever aspect they decided needs work. But seriously, honestly, when are resolutions EVER kept? The answer, as we all know I’m sure, is rarely. But why? I think it has to do with negativity.

Most New Years Resolutions I have seen have revolved around something negative such as…

  • I’m fat and need to lose weight
  • I’m not as successful as I would like to be and must change that
  • I’m lonely and therefore something about me must change so I can get more dates…
  • and so on.

While I think some Resolutions – like quitting smoking or deciding to commit to a cause – are great, I believe that most fail because they are rooted in insecurity and negativity about an aspect of a person’s self. These resolutions generally push the resolver somewhere closer to a social ideal (ie. weight loss) which makes them very socially acceptable – but even if your friends are proud of your resolution, that doesn’t make it healthy or good for your own self esteem.

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I propose we start a New New Years Tradition, or, just an anytime tradition. So, this New Years (or any time you have the time) sit down and write a love letter to yourself. No, I’m not kidding. Yes its cheesey, but its cheesey in a very good way, in a way that will allow you to take this letter out later when you’re feeling down and remember all of the fabulous things about you that make you the awesome person you are!

It doesn’t have to be a Shakespeare worthy sonnet or something for the history books. If you don’t like to write so much try making a list, or drawing a picture even. Just create something that celebrates you, right now, as you are. And, then, if you want to make that resolution still; go ahead and make it – you may be surprised at how well your new found self-appreciation will help you to stay positive and right on track with whatever you resolve!

In the comments: Go ahead and tell us why you’re awesome, or talk about Resolutions or anything this inspires you to say…