6 Years Later: Time to Erase the Stigma

6 years.  Sometimes it feels like yesterday. Other times it feels more like twenty years.

It was 6 years ago that a very good friend took his own life.

Like most say, Adam was the one person that I never thought would do that.

But the thing is there’s no real way to know if someone would or wouldn’t.

Hell it is hard to even know if someone is dealing with mental health or depression.

Our society has created such a negative stigma where people fear admitting it.

They fear reaching out for the help they need.

We must work together to erase the stigma.

Depression hurts. Suicide hurts.  Mental health hurts.

Let’s work together to stop the hurting. To find ways to cope. To make society a better place where we can truly be who we are even if that means admitting that we need help. Admitting that we are hurting. Admitting that we are struggling.

Erasing the stigma can start with me and you. With how we word and phrase things. With how we put interact on social media & the web. With how we allow ourselves to truly be there and support others when needed.

RIP Adam Cole Maberry. I still miss you so much, but I strive to continue to use your suicide to help others.

So You’re Dating a Communications Major or Communications Professional….

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As someone who has their Master in Communication Studies and works in communications daily I’ve come to realize that communication or lack thereof makes me about 10,000X more insane than the average person.  I literally apply the communication theories I learned in graduate school to my life daily. Especially to my dating life, well attempts at having a dating life I should say.

So here’s some tips if you’re dating or thinking about dating a communications person: (In reality I think that a lot of these would apply to dating most females…I can’t speak for the men)

  • If you’re interested in the other person try to show interest in the conversation even if you hate texting or whatever format of conversing is being used.
  • Ask questions.
  • Take interest.
  • Continue the conversation.
  • Respond in a reasonable amount of time. If you cannot fully respond let the person know you can’t talk now, but will respond later.
  • Be honest with the person about your feelings on communicating via various formats.
  • Find ways to communicate that meet your own level of comfort. Relay your levels of comfort on communication and formats of communication to the person from the get go.
  • If you decide you aren’t interested in pursuing a relationship with the person tell them.
    • They say that silence hurts more than hateful words. I fully agree with this.
    • Communications people will analyze and then over analyze why you aren’t talking to them until they make themselves sick.

These simple tips will go a long ways when it comes to dating someone who has a strong emphasis on communication. Above all the most important thing in dating anyone is honesty.  Always be honest with them and yourself.

I’m Back….

I’ve been MIA from this blog for a while, but I’m back.  And you can also find me writing on my country music blog at http://MidwestCountryMusicJunkie.Wordpress.com! It didn’t quite hit me how much I’ve missed blogging until this last week. Blogging has and always will be my self-therapy when going through life’s hurdles.

A lot has changed since February. I’m working two jobs, living in the SE suburb of South St. Paul with my best friend, Megan; and I’m truly living and loving life as a Minnesotan to the fullest.  Yep, I’m officially a Minnesotan…well still technically waiting on that license in the mail, but my plates on my car and my yellow papers prove it!

More to come….

Closing Out 27…

This week I’m closing out year number 27.

Year number 27 was an interesting one.

It had more hurdles than I was prepared for, but then again when do we really prepare for hurdles in life.

Year number 27 saw friendship and career doors shut.

However it saw other friendship doors open wider and new ones appear.

Am I where I thought I’d be as I close out 27?

Nope, not at all.

But despite the hurdles, wrong turns, and standstills that year 27 brought me, I know that I’m on the right path.

I know that year 28 is going to bring good news and smoother sailing on this journey of my life.

And the obstacles that 27 put me through made me into a stronger person.

2 years ago would I have been brave enough to move to where I wanted to be even without a job offer?

No way in hell.

But I knew when I made the choice to move at the beginning of the month that it was the right choice. Not once in my almost 10 days in Minneapolis have I doubted that decision.

Here’s to closing out 27 by remembering the good times and the lessons that came with the not so favorable times.

And here’s to 28 bringing me good news & new beginnings.

Leap of Faith

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I’m taking a leap of faith.

I’m moving to Minneapolis on February 8th.

I don’t have a job offer yet, but I feel like being there can only help me.

I can move & keep getting UI benefits. I won’t have a 7 hour trip (1 way) for interviews. I will have more networking opportunities. I will be able to make new connections.

My plan is that if I don’t have an offer or at least several final interview lined up that first week of March that I will then be looking into temping because while I can be on UI for up to 12 weeks, I don’t want to be. I want to be working.

My brain feels like it is turning to mush the longer I spend unemployed.

While it is scary to move without a job offer in hand, I feel that it’s the best thing for my job search and my sanity. I need to start making this transition stick.

So here I sit knowing that I am taking a big risk, but knowing that this risk has so many benefits.

28 Things I Believe

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Today (21st) marks one month until I turn 28, so here are 28 things I believe in no particular order.

  1. I believe in chasing your dreams
  2. I believe that sometimes it is time to let go of old friendships
  3. I believe in love even though I haven’t found it (in the romantic sense) for myself yet
  4. I believe in laughter
  5. I believe that smiling is the best
  6. I believe in music
  7. I believe in the power of social media
  8. I believe in being selfish when you need to
  9. I believe in always being thankful for what you have no matter what you may be lacking
  10. I believe in hope
  11. I believe in the idea of love at first conversation
  12. I believe in friendship at first conversation
  13. I believe in talking it out
  14. I believe in the power of a good run
  15. I believe in life long learning
  16. I believe Jesus > Religion
  17. I believe love is better than hate
  18. I believe in 2nd chances
  19. I believe in making broad plans
  20. I believe that you can never plan for some of life’s hurdles
  21. I believe being happy is what matters at the end of the day
  22. I believe in making a difference
  23. I believe in the power of a song to take you back to times in your past like that
  24. I believe that many of us will always have a “what if” person, but that doesn’t mean we are supposed to act on it. If it was meant to be it would have been.
  25. I believe that the good and the bad in life got me to the person I am today, so I wouldn’t trade any of it in despite some of the struggles
  26. I believe that I will someday call myself a writer and not just an aspiring writer
  27. I believe that the tough times show you who really is there through thick and thin
  28. I believe in myself

My Compass

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There are plenty of people who don’t understand why I’m only looking for jobs in the Twin Cities. Of course these people don’t know the real me, most likely.

Because as Lady Antebellum’s current single says, “So let your heart, sweet heart; Be your compass when you’re lost; And you should follow it wherever it may go.”

Well my heart is in Minnesota and has been for a while. And no, there isn’t a guy I’m moving for. I’m moving for my happiness. When I’m in Minnesota I’m truly at my happiest. I don’t know if it is the thought of a fresh start, the idea of finally living close to some of my closest friends, all the sporting events & concerts, all the networking opportunities, or something else. I just know that Minnesota is where I’m supposed to be going with this chance to start a new chapter in my book. Deep down in my heart it has been the only answer for months. Even before my door with PP was closed in SD I knew my next home would be Minnesota. I didn’t know when it would happen for sure, but I knew Minnesota was the next place for me. And with the partial and then fully closing of my door at PP it was the only answer. Even as I’m entering month 5 of job searching I haven’t once given up hope or started to think maybe I should find somewhere else to point my arrow. My arrow is pointed where my heart is, Minnesota.  As Kacey Musgraves says, “Just follow your arrow, Wherever it points.”

I’ll always be a South Dakota girl. You can’t take South Dakota out of this girl if you tried. But it is time for me to embrace my inner Minnesota girl. So whether it be this week or in a few weeks, Minnesota is the only place my compass will be taking me with my next move.

Life in Transition

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Life in transition is weird.

It has perks.

A 50lb Wheaten Terrier as my shadow and constant bed buddy. Family time which I’ll definitely appreciate when I’m living 7 hours away after being used to never living more than 4 hours away. Time to catch up on old shows and become addicted to new ones thanks to Netflix. Time to reflect on what I really want in life. Time to reflect on how far I’ve come in life. Time to rehab my hip. Time to find the right next step for me. Time to appreciate all the good in my life.

It also has plenty of cons.

Living out of suitcases. Lack of income. Lack of insurance. Being 7 hours away from the place where I want to be. Being 3 hours away from most of my packed boxes. Having to adjust to being under the parentals’ roof for more than an extended weekend. Having to justify every purchase I make.

Overall, I know this time will help make me a better person. A stronger person. And that the right door will open and I’ll understand why the 287(total guess, but the number is nearing that if not already past it.) other applications I submitted didn’t work out when it does.

But meanwhile if I seem down, if I seem crabby, or if I’m driving you nuts with posts about job applications just try to understand that I’m just trying to find my way through this odd time. Whatever the transition is, life in transition is rarely easy.

Being Honest

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I’ve been on hiatus from my blog even though writing has always been my therapy to get through things like the hurdles I’ve faced in the last 6 months of my life.

And honestly, I’ve been on that hiatus because I feel like completely being honest about what’s going on in my life makes me sound like a failure. I know I’m not really a failure. And my performance and awesomeness as a person did not cause my current situation, but in the down moments it is hard to not think that. It’s hard not to think that every time I get another rejection email or phone call. It’s hard not to be negative at times.

I suppose I should back up some. Back in September my job was cut to part-time because of budget restraints. I had to stick it out because I was having surgery done in October, but told my boss right then and there that it wouldn’t work for me to be part-time long-term. I started applying for new jobs immediately though because sometimes the process takes forever.

Job searching was finally starting to bring me some interviews in late November, when I learned that my job was completely cut for 2014. Well unfortunately none of those interviews turned into an offer. I continued applying until the last week in December where I had to turn my focus to packing up my bedroom. I made the decision to take a “mini vacation” to my parents’ house in Pierre rather than put myself in debt by continuing to live in Sioux Falls or moving to Minneapolis without a gig cemented.

Well here I am January 14th 4 months after the job search started and I’m still searching.  The mini vacation to Pierre has allowed me to focus solely on job searching and rehabbing my hip. However it means spending more than a week at my parents’ house for the first time in over 5 years. And obviously my situation can cause me to be quite moody at times which isn’t easy for them or me to deal with.

I have my moments when I’m so positive and thankful that these unfortunate hurdles allowed me to escape a place I really wasn’t happy working anymore.  I mean really this was a blessing in disguise in a way. Not on the checkbook, but easy way to pursue a job that fits my passions and I can turn into a career. I don’t have to secretly apply.

And really you have to find the positive in the negative. I mean that is where the name of my blog comes from. My life mantra, tattoo, and blog all share lyrics from my favorite Garth Brooks’ song ‘Learning to Live Again.’ I’ve always taken that song to mean to smile your best smile and laugh like it’s going out of style and make the best of whatever you do have in life.

But I also have the breakdown moments. I have breakdowns out of nowhere. The littlest thing can push me over. And I seem like the most irrational person ever when I have one of those breakdowns. I know that.

I was raised to be so independent and strong. And now I’m having to lean on so many people due to circumstances that I didn’t deserve. And having a Master of Arts degree and yet having to file for unemployment and entering month 5 of the job search are hard to deal with at times.

But I know the only way out is to keep chugging along. So chugging along I go.

I have a place to live in the Twin Cities already so if the hip is holding up I will be moving by the end of the month and finding something through a temp agency if I have to.

Speaking of which, feel free to check out my LinkedIn profile here!

 

Good Enough For Me: A Message We All Need to See

This afternoon my dear friend Holly Thompson wrote a note on Facebook that hit home with me. No, I haven’t had children, but still I find myself finding things to hate about myself. And I’m horrible at accepting and truly taking to heart compliments. I think we all are and that this note can be a great reminder to love ourselves as we are for all, not just us ladies.

Here is her note:

Listen Up, Ladies

Today at Walmart, a complete stranger peeked at Jerica in my cart as we stood in line to check out. “She’s adorable!” She said, to which I readily agreed. “How old is she?” I explained she’d be three months old on Thursday. “No way,” the woman said, “you look way too good to have just had a baby three months ago!” And that’s when I did it. I began explaining that I did NOT, in fact, look good. That I still have at least 10 pounds I’d like to lose, and I just don’t understand it – I’m almost back to pre-pregnancy weight, but my arms and legs are still fat – what’s up with that? Because they weren’t before! And seriously, I would totally have been in the gym before now, but she’s been so colicky, and it’s like I just can’t have a minute to myself, so I’ve just been EATING and EATING, haha, and I thought breastfeeding was supposed to help, and…

 

She was a stranger, you guys. A STRANGER. With no idea what I looked like before I got pregnant. With no clue that my life is hectic, that Jerica is the fifth child in our household, that I haven’t been to the gym, etc. What she knew was that from her experience and in her opinion, I looked good. And she made the effort to tell me so. We’re women. You know how we get; we compare everything about ourselves to everything about everyone. And if that weren’t bad enough, we’re catty. So we often withhold praise, or give passive aggressive compliments, etc. This lady, knowing the struggle, reached out to make me – a stranger – feel good. And I shut her down HARD.

 

This is just the latest example; I do this all the time. And I have a feeling all of you do, too. My sister (who is also my best friend and confidant) and I were just having this discussion the other day. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to each other? Why are we so dead set against receiving compliments or – gasp – feeling confident? I know she and I aren’t the first to ask this question, but then the question becomes why are we all STILL asking this same question? It’s time to be as gracious to ourselves as we are to others. I’ve always envied my sister. She’s younger than I am, but she’s also a thousand times prettier than I am. She’s got this gorgeous little waist, legs for days, boobs that are in the right spot, hair that always looks ridiculously good (and she’s always like “I seriously just woke up and left it like this”), etc. As we sat having this conversation, she told me how she doesn’t feel pretty, how she’s gained weight, how she wishes she had a nicer butt, etc. We started thinking about virtually every girlfriend of ours; they all complain about at least one thing they hate about themselves – something that we’d either never noticed or didn’t see the same way. If we don’t see the flaws of our friends and loved ones, why is that all we see when we look in the mirror? And this isn’t just physical, ladies – this is personal. There are plenty of things about my personality that frustrate me – things I wish I could change, things I wish I could hide. There are plenty of highly public mistakes I’ve made that I wish I could undo or at least have stricken from everyone’s memory. And because I think about them all the time, I feel like everyone else probably does too. Like I can’t walk into Walmart without perfect strangers going “not ONLY does that girl have fat arms, but isn’t she the one that…”

 

But instead, a perfect stranger at Walmart told me I looked great.

 

And these are the people I don’t even care about. Why do I put THAT much thought and concern into what strangers at Walmart might think? My kids love me. They love me so much. They’re so blissfully ignorant that I’m a terrible mother! They don’t hold it against me when I’m impatient, when dinner is disastrous, when I forget to send something to school, when I don’t have enough money to do x, y, or z cool thing…they just LOVE me. And they tell me I’m a good mom. And I’m THEIR mom, so maybe I should let them be the ones to make that call. And my boyfriend (who is outrageously fit and attractive) tells me daily that I am the sexiest woman alive. That I have a beautiful soul. That he loves the way I think about things, that I challenge his beliefs, help him to grow, and give him peace. He has said on more than one ocassion that I am everything he has ever wanted in a woman. And what do I do, guys? That’s right. I start proving him wrong. It’s like I make it my mission to make him change his mind – and the last thing in the world I want him to do is change his mind. If I don’t want him to SEE the cellulite, why do I point it out? If I don’t want him to remember my mistakes, why do I keep bringing them up? We pay Hollywood to pay actors to say these things so we can ooh and ahh and cry over them, and here he is, a real live man that I’m ridiculously attracted to, saying them to ME. And he’s the most honest person I’ve ever met (seriously, I’ve had to tell him on several ocassions that we don’t have to tell everyone everything we know). So why shouldn’t I believe that he finds me sexy? Just because I don’t see myself that way? I am robbing myself of joy. That’s all.

 

I know that God sees us perfectly through the filter that is Jesus. And yes, that should be enough. But I’ll be honest, guys. For me, it isn’t always. Almost never, in fact. It’s hard for me to lean on the the acceptance of someone I can’t see or speak to – or some days even feel. And so I care what everyone on earth thinks. And you know, to a point, I guess we should. Anybody who says “I don’t care what anyone else thinks” is 1) lying and 2) misguided. The problem is that, as I mentioned, I’m letting it steal my happiness – and it probably isn’t even legitimate. When I stop and think – really think about it, from the most objective standpoint I can manage – I’m doing well. I’ll kick the rest of this weight – I will. It took nine months to gain it. I can be gracious with my body. After all, it just performed a miracle. And things ARE hectic. If I had a nanny and a personal trainer, I too would look like a celebrity after they give birth. But I don’t. And so for what I’ve got, I’m just fine. I should be proud. And so I’ve made mistakes…I’m not alone. They’ve been big. They’ve been public. But I have learned from them, and I have learned humility and the power of grace and forgiveness on top of the multitudes of other life lessons. I’m a better person now than I was just a year ago. That’s nothing to be ashamed of; I should be proud. I have three amazing children of my own, and two that I’ve inherited but love just the same. I’m not always good at the things that I feel qualify one as being a good mom, but the kiddos are all well fed, well dressed, well behaved and well loved. I should be proud.

 

I know that there are people who would love to have my life. It’s high time I be one of those people. So from now on, the next time someone compliments me, I’m going to do my best to say “thank you.” And the next time I see an opportunity to judge someone who I now realize is struggling with a thousand insecurities just like I am, I’m not going to. And the next time someone points out a flaw, or brings up a mistake (because there’s always going to be a hater or two, am I right?!) I’m going to say “I’m working on it.” And instead of letting it get to me, I’m going to try to do just that. Work on it. And throw a little grace in the hater’s direction, because I know they’ve got struggles too. And when they realize all of this that I’m slowly coming to realize, they’re not going to want to be a hater anymore. That’s exhausting. And I’ve been my own biggest hater for far too long. I’m Kevery, Layna, and Jerica’s mom, I’m Joey’s girlfriend, and I’m the daugher of the King. I am good enough for them. And so I am good enough for me.

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