What No One Tells You About Grief, Part Two

When I wrote my last post, I realized that I neglected to mention a few of the positive aspects of grief.

You may be asking, “Is there anything positive about grief? About the grieving process?”

I believe so.

Grief can empower you. 

When faced with a difficult situation, humans have an instinctual reaction that is known as “fight or flight.”

Now, there is absolutely no shame in “flight.” There is no shame in taking time to help yourself physically, mentally or emotionally. It doesn’t make you weak to address your emotions. There is no shame in taking time to grieve and to mourn your loss.

What you may not realize is that your grief has the ability to empower you. While grief can drag you down, it can also raise you up. It can remind you of your morals and values. It can show you who and what are important in your life.  Grief can help you to “fight.” Grief can show you the path to heal and recover.

And I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it will be hard. It will not be painless. It will not be easy. You may fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But I promise you, it is there. And if you’re having trouble seeing it, have other people light your way.

Grief can spark passion.

This post (and every post I write) is a product of my passion. This particular post is also a product of my sadness, my anger, my myriad of emotions. By expressing myself here, I am allowing myself to grieve. I am allowing myself to understand who I am, and what I want to fight for in this world. These words are allowing me (and hopefully you too) to empathize and connect with others. We may all live different lives, we may have different values, but we all experience grief at some point in our lives.

But passion is something that we can also all experience. How we harness and express our passion is unique to each one of us. Our passions can allow us to get to know ourselves better, and also connect to others who might share our passions.

Grief can allow you to experience things that you typically do not. Grief can expand your ideas, your creativity, your mind’s view. Grief can help you to give back – to yourself and to the world.

Grief can free you. 

It can free you from the banality of everyday life. It can free you from some responsibilities and obligations. It can also show you what you need to get accomplished. It can be the kick in the ass you require to get going. It can spark revolutionary ideas. It can produce change. It can help connect you to your community.

The only thing I ask you to really consider is this. Do not let grief consume you. Do not let be the only thing in your life. Do not let it prohibit you from moving on and fighting for what you believe in.

Grief is unpredictable, unstable in its nature. Grief provokes powerful reactions and emotional fluctuations. However, your grief should not immobilize you. If you choose to wallow in your grief, you may never truly see the bigger picture. If you choose to shy away from what’s uncomfortable, you may not see what exactly it is you have in your life to value.

Grief can empower you, it can spark passion, and it can free you, but only if you let it.

I urge you to let it.

Stay Tuned…

After several months, a much needed mental vacation, and too many cups of coffee, I am pleased to announce that new blog posts will be going up this week! 

So keep your minds open and your eyes peeled, because I don’t think you’ll want to miss what is in store. 

I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, and I do hope you’re looking forward to it as well. 

xxoo. 

What To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed. 

10) Try to relax/take some time to take care of yourself. You won’t be able to get anything done if you’re too stressed.

This means taking a few seconds to stretch your body, read a post from your favorite blogger (wink wink), jam to your favorite song, shower if you need too. Whatever gets you out of your head, and relaxing.

9) Make sure you get some sleep. Being exhausted won’t help you at all.

Even if it means quick power naps, or a full night’s sleep, do what you can t0 make sure you’re in the best possible mindset to work.

8) Make sure you eat. If you’re hungry, nothing will get accomplished.

And don’t try to insist that “you’re too busy to eat.” Take 5 minutes, grab a bar, a fruit/vegetable, anything that can keep you nourished, and enjoy. Trust me, your body (and mind) will thank you.

7) Try to make a to-do list for what you need to accomplish.

Get out a spare notebook, a piece of paper, a whiteboard…anything you can write on and something that you won’t forget to check.

6) Accomplish the little goals, that way you won’t be distracted when you try to work on the bigger ones.

For example, take a minute to send an email or make an appointment (small goal), then work on your huge project.

5) If you need help with a task, ask for it.

Whether it’s friends, family, your work partners, your boss/professor. If you have questions or are confused, ask for help.

4) Try to avoid procrastinating.

Speaking from a lot of experience here, try not to procrastinate. It’ll only make you more stressed and overwhelmed, which isn’t what you want. Trust me.

3) If something doesn’t work out, move on.

Maybe you failed an exam, or forgot an appointment or a meeting that you were supposed to attend. Instead of focusing on what you didn’t do, try to move past it and onto the next task. The past isn’t something you can change.

2) Try to get outside if you can.

Taking a few deeps breaths of fresh air can do great things, even if you only have a minute to spare. Fresh air beats stale inside air any day.

1 ) You’re not going to always be overwhelmed.

Sure, you’re overwhelmed now, but there will come a time where all of the stress and anxiety will go away. So instead of panicking about what you have to do, keep in mind that it won’t always be this way. You can do it, I believe in you.

Writing In The Prison: First Experience

This past Thursday, I had got my first opportunity to go visit the correctional facility in which I am conducting my independent study. I won’t begin teaching until after I am back from Spring Break, but here are some of the things that I learned and noticed while on a tour of the facility.

  • Street clothes instead of uniforms

The inmates in the correctional facility are allowed to wear their regular clothes, as compared to jumpsuits. I found this particularly interesting, as it makes the facility feel less like a permanent place for the inmates, as their stay time is usually 18 months maximum. It also helps to add a sense of personal expression and identity, whereas in a larger prison, individuality is often taken away.

  • Lesser Crimes

As this is a correctional facility, not a prison, many of the inmates are there for smaller offenses, usually drug or alcohol related issues or crimes (i.e., DUI, DWI, drug possession, petty larceny) However, for some of the male prisoners, they may also have domestic offenses. If that is the case, they will not be placed with the female inmates in most programs or classes. At the present moment, there are about 200 people (excluding personnel) in the facility, with roughly 45 of them being women. I will be predominately teaching some of the female inmates during my time there.

  • More freedom than heavier security prisons

Many of the prisoners are part of a work track, meaning that they are able to leave the facility in order to attend job interviews or their outside jobs. They will also keep these jobs once they are released from the correctional facility.

There is also a variety of programs and classes that the inmates can attend, from alcohol and drug counseling, to GED preparation. The creative writing class that I am teaching with is also part of the list of programs, in which the inmates can either be placed in, or volunteer to attend.

However, there are still some restrictions. All food and items that are brought in must be checked by the guards for contraband, there are cameras in almost every hall or room (including the bathroom), visitors are required to sign in, and the guards are armed. While the inmates do have more freedoms as compared to the larger prison, the facility is still a secure place, and there are rules that must be followed.

Overall, my first time going in the correctional facility can be best explained by the facility’s program coordinator.

“When they leave here, we want them to be better off than when they first arrived here.”

And with that, I cannot wait to start teaching soon, and I can’t wait to tell you all about my experiences with the writing group, and in the facility in general. Until next time.

What To Do When It’s The Weekend

10) Catch up on sleep. I cannot stress this enough, as sleep is very important, and it’s a great way to relieve stress. Also sleep is amazing.

9) If the weather is nice, go outside. Fresh air is good for you.

8) Spend some time catching up on hobbies or activities. Personally I like to binge watch Netflix.

7) Find a new hobby or interest. Again I recommend Netflix. I’m currently watching Jessica Jones (which is phenomenal, and I highly recommend giving it a shot)

6) If you’re a writer/blogger, catch up on your writing. This is what I’m doing right now.

5) If you have the time, cook or bake. It’s always fun to try out new recipes. Plus the end product will most likely be delicious. It’s a win-win scenario.

4) Hang out with friends or family. Most people aren’t busy on the weekend so it’s a good time to catch up with everyone.

3) Go to events. Plays, festivals, sporting events, etc. Getting to take in new experiences is always a great way to spend your time.

2) Catch up on work if you need to. If you use your free time now to get stuff done, you might have more free time later on. Again, it’s a win-win scenario.

1) Enjoy. There’s nothing better than having the weekend off to do anything that you want. Have fun, and don’t forget to relax!

What To Do When You Have Free Time

10) Remember this moment. You may not have free time again in the future, so cherish it.

9) Catch up on work/hobbies! The less stressful, the better.

8) Spend time with family and/or friends. 

7) Spend time by yourself! Being able to spend time by yourself is sometimes a great way to spend your free time. 

6) Take a nap, or at least rest a little. It’s good for the mind, and the body. 

5) Catch up on blogging or reading others blog posts. Like you’re doing right now.

4) Go outside! Especially if it’s nice outside. Fall is one of my favorite seasons, and it’s a beautiful one. 

3) Go do something fun! 

2) Clean. I personally find cleaning to be soothing, so I highly recommend it. 

1) Enjoy! Free time is some of the best time there is, so make the most of it. 

What To Do When It’s Monday.

10) Avoid everything and everyone. Mondays are not fun days.

9) Trick yourself into thinking it’s another day of the week (like Wednesday or Thursday)

8) Realize that despite trying to trick yourself, it’s still Monday.

7) Consume a large amount of caffeine. Your choice. ( Although I recommend hot chocolate)

6) If possible, take a nap. This will help you get over your Monday blues.

5) If taking a nap is not possible, you may end up falling asleep in a random place. Make sure to watch out for that. 

4) Eat energy boosting foods, because Monday has a way of depleting any energy you have. 

3) Distract yourself from the harsh reality that is Monday by wearing your favorite clothes, or jamming out to your favorite music

2) If possible, eat your favorite foods to kickstart your week. 

1) Sadly accept that it’s Monday, and go through the grieving process that occurs each week when Monday rolls around.

What To Do When You’re Waiting

1) Try to figure out what you’re waiting for. 

2) Try to figure out if what you’re waiting for is worth the wait. This is a crucial step.

3) If it’s a long wait (i.e., waiting for a concert or a ride at Disney), find something do distract yourself. 

4) People watch. This is a favorite activity of mine, and it’s always interesting no matter where you are. 

5) Make sure your electronics are charged (especially if you use them frequently). This is very important.

6) Make sure you bring your chargers for said electronics. (see tip 5). 

7) Wear comfortable clothes/shoes. It could be sweatpants, it could be a suit. If you’re uncomfortable, the wait will be even worse. 

8) Bring snacks. This is especially important if you are 

A) A nervous/bored eater like myself

B) Waiting with a lot people/children 

C) Because you never know when you’ll need a granola bar Continue reading “What To Do When You’re Waiting”

You’re Not A Certified Therapist (And Why Your Friends Should Stop Treating You As One).

Happy Sunday!

I know I haven’t posted in a few weeks, but now that midterms are officially over I can get back to a somewhat routine of posting.

You know those friends you can always talk to if you’re upset/having a rough day? The one you can tell your deepest secrets to, and they’ll keep it. The one who always listens, and doesn’t expect anything in return. You all have that friend, or in my case, you are that friend.

And over the course of this year, I’ve learned that it can be hard to be that friend. It can be hard to be the one who always listens and cares, and who expects nothing in return. But I am writing here to tell you that it is okay to say no, that it is okay to not want to listen, to focus on yourself for a little bit. It does not make you a bad friend, it just makes you a human being who needs some time to their self.

I know this because I am that friend, and I am slowly learning that life doesn’t always have to be about everyone else, it is also about yourself. Self-care is one of the most important things in the world, and you will feel so much better if you take some time to do it. And if people don’t accept that? It’s not your fault, it’s theirs for not realizing how amazing of a person you are.

(UPDATE) To the people who have these types of friends, it does NOT mean we don’t want to help, believe me that’s all we want to do, but sometimes we need a little break to focus on ourselves. It doesn’t mean we won’t be there for you if you need it, we will listen, but sometimes we need you to listen to us too.

Have a great Sunday!
xxoo

Chapter 543: Questions

Happy Monday!

I know I’ve been gone for a few weeks, I had some personal issues I had to deal with, and that meant going offline a little bit. Fortunitely, those issues are beginning to get better, so hopefully I will start posting regularly soon.

I wanted to share a series of questions I typed up, and I wanted to get your opinions/answers to them! 

Here they are:

Is life a series of questions that we have no answer to?

Are we simply waiting for the end to come to help us understand?

What is it we’re supposed to do with our time and energy?

Do we just simply wait for something or someone?

Or do we take matters into our own outstretched hands?

Is it allowed to bite the hand that feeds us?

Or do we just eat what we are given without comment? 

Why do people always have to fight for something?

Cannot they not just let it go without an argument?

What is the point of fighting for something that cannot be won?

Is it pointless or building confidence for something in the future? 

Why do people always say to live in the moment?

And then moments later tell us to focus on the future?

Aren’t we confused enough as it is?

How is it possible to worry about the present and the future?

When all we focus on is the past?

Obviously, there’s no need to answer any of them, but if you want to, here they are.

Hope you have a great week. xxoo