Hey 2017, Thanks for Nothing

2017 was a year that the entire world couldn’t wait to begin after a tragic 2016. But little did we know that while we sipped champagne and sang Auld Lang Syne, or if you’re like me nursed a cold and binge-watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer to bring in the new year, that 2017 was not going to be that much better. 2017 brought more mass shootings, more hate crimes, more disasters, a truckload of sexual misconduct allegations, and let’s not forget that Cheeto puff who leads this country showed us just how awful he is.

This worsening of the things in the world was mirrored in my personal life. Everything that cracked in 2016 crumbled in 2017 and I find myself headed into 2018 with very little hope. This is unusual for me, I may not get into Christmas or Thanksgiving but I actually really like New Years. All that hope and excitement of a new beginning usually warms my heart. But this year a cold wind passes through me where my heart used to be.

Honestly, I’m scared of 2018. I’m scared that the Trump administration will continue to step on the necks of the marginalized. I’m scared that another disturbed person will take a gun to a crowded concert, or mow down pedestrians on the street. I’m scared that white supremacists will find new and terrifying ways to spread their message of hate. I’m scared that wildfires will continue to ravage southern California. I’m afraid that more people will die in the Middle East. I’m afraid that I won’t find hope again. I’m afraid that my depression will worsen. I’m afraid that 2018 will be just as heartbreaking as 2017.

So how do you respond when the world is a garbage can rolling downhill?

Some of us will run to our faith and hold on for dear life. Some of us will throw ourselves into some kind of human service. Some of us will turn to drugs and alcohol. Some of us will take our own lives.

How will I respond? Not sure yet.

So here’s to you 2017. Thanks for showing us that things can definitely get worse. And 2018 for God’s sake please have mercy.

Photo by Kristopher Roller via unsplash

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Cliches That Dating Apps Prove to be True

I have been single for four years.
I wasn’t purposely single but I wasn’t actively looking either. I thought that I’d meet someone organically in my everyday life, but it never happened. So a few months ago I decided to get intentional about this dating thing and enter the world of dating apps. I created accounts on Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, and OkCupid.
I told myself I was going in without any expectations, but I was lying to myself. I’m a dreamy type, so I had daydreamed about going out on coffee dates, having great conversations, sending flirty texts, first kisses, the whole nine. I wasn’t expecting to meet the “One” or my “Forever Person” because I’m just a tad too cynical for that, but I had hopes of vibing with someone. I do realize that being a cynical dreamer is kind of a contradiction but hey I’m an onion, I have layers.
Anyways, my experience has been fascinating to say the least.

“Men are from Mars”
I could never claim to understand men that much before, but I can definitely say I understand them even less now. I realized that some men hit the like button just for kicks, they have no intention of actually getting to know you. I don’t understand this, and I’ve given up trying. Also, I have been in the middle of what I perceived as a flowing conversation and then out of nowhere a guy will stop responding. It was frustrating at first, but I now just put less stock in the likes I get.

“There’s plenty of fish in the sea”
There really is, it’s a good thing and bad thing. If a guy rubs you the wrong way or God forbid asks for nudes there’s a ton of other guys to choose from. On the other hand the endless scrolling can be overwhelming, especially on apps like Bumble and OkCupid. I started logging on every few days just to keep myself sane.

“Watch out for the wolves in sheep’s clothing”
You would think in 2017 with MTV’s “Catfish” in it’s sixth season that “catfishing” would be a thing of the past. But it is not. I was texting back and forth with a guy for about a week, and something just felt off. He “spoke” like no dude I’d ever met before, it was very flowery, and romantic. And his vernacular did not match the person he claimed to be. I did a reverse image search on his profile photo just like they do on the show and very easily found his identity to be false. I was really annoyed but also proud of myself for not getting duped.

“Love is a battlefield”
The quest for love for me has been long and arduous. Even just getting to the point of meeting someone in person has taken more effort than I thought it would. I’ve given myself to the 22nd of November to get something going and if it doesn’t happen I’m getting off all my apps and will revisit this next year sometime. I haven’t given up hope completely but I can say that my hope has dwindled.

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I want to hear from you. What has been your experience with dating apps? Which ones do you love? Which ones do you hate? And is there hope in this crazy world to find real connections?

 

Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

I Am My Own #Goals

Life has literally taken a bat to everything I held dear, so while I am rebuilding, all of my goals are under construction. 

When my friend Terasha thought up this blog challenge “I am my own #goals” I inwardly groaned. The phrase brings to mind someone who is out there getting things done personally and professionally and doesn’t need to look to social media for their goals in life. Personally and professionally I’m flailing and I have been guilty of coveting the lives of people on social media who seem to have it “together”. Life has literally taken a bat to everything I held dear, so while I am rebuilding, all of my goals are under construction.

I’m trying to be okay with being on this undefined road. They say there is something to be learned from every season of your life and I want to give myself the chance to learn from this experience. What I’m learning is that just like seasons change, goals change too. You could be moments from the finish line and realize this wasn’t the right race for you. And that’s completely okay, there is no definite map.

I’m discovering that comparing yourself with others is pointless. We scroll through our feeds seeing our peers sailing through life, living out their dreams or so it seems. Social media only shows a slice of that person’s life, not the whole pie. That person may have fought, cried, and bled to get to where they are. They could be terribly unhappy while still smiling in their Instagram post. I can’t compare my entire life to a slice of someone else’s. I have to figure out what is right for me, and what I want to accomplish and I won’t find that on social media, I am my own #goals.

Photo by Nolan Issac on Unsplash

I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just A Little Unwell

Your thoughts are racing, jumping from one problem to the next, your heart rate is accelerating, there is a pain in your chest like an elephant is sitting on it and you’re one upset away from bursting into tears.
Your good friend Anxiety has come to visit, and she is showing out.

I have been dealing with anxiety for a few years now and what I have found instrumental is knowing what my triggers are and trying my best to avoid them. My hope is that by listing my triggers someone reading this will recognize the same patterns and make changes, or at least someone will receive some much needed validation.

Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!

We all get a little cranky when we don’t get enough sleep. As a highly sensitive person that deals with anxiety sleep is my life’s blood. Too many nights with less than 6 hours of sleep can turn me into emotional mess of a person. Exhausted Tawni has no patience, gets angry at the drop of a dime, and takes any small dig extremely serious.

Get out of the House!

Loneliness is a huge trigger of mine. My introverted side scoffs at the idea but I need human connection. That doesn’t mean I need to go out every weekend. Sometimes just going to a coffee shop and reading a book, or writing can be enough. I need to be reminded sometimes that there is a whole world out there and to keep myself balanced I need to go out in it sometimes.

Pray!

If I’m not communing with God then everything just seems a bit worse than it already is. Daily prayer and meditation helps me feel centered and gain perspective on my problems. Go too long without it and my mind will begin to feel cluttered and overwhelmed, prime ground for anxiety to grow.

Take time for yourself!

My life can be busy between work, friends, and everything else. Being constantly on the go can makes me tired and irritable even if I have had a good nights sleep. I sometimes have to remind myself that taking a day to lay around the house and watch Netflix is okay. I work hard Monday-Friday and I deserve time to myself. Getting immersed in a new series or watching something that makes me laugh is a good way to get my mind off of things.

 

Self-care is a term we’re hearing a lot lately but it’s legit, especially for those who deal with mental health issues. We have to be good to ourselves before we can be good to others. My prayer that anyone reading this will take a good look at themselves and see where they can improve in their own lives. Self-care means different things to different people, maybe Netflix isn’t good for you but a stroll in the park is. Whatever you can do to help yourself do it!

 

 

Photo by Afonso Coutinho on Unsplash

 

Goodbye 2016, We Won’t Miss You.

We have to live the best lives possible… The world is crazy and there’s no way to know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Let’s make 2017 the year we shrug off all our fear and anxieties, live passionately and purposely.

via Daily Prompt: Hopeful

 

2016 was an interesting year to say the least. The terrorist attacks in Europe and Orlando, the deteriorating situation in Aleppo, the shootings of black people by police and the shootings of police in reaction. Then there was the election, Brexit, the deaths of many pop culture icons, and that whole killer clown thing.
The general mood of 2016 was that it was a terrible year, that things are worse than they’ve ever been. Personally, this past year reminds me of that saying “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Because it’s always been this awful it’s just that now social media and 24 hours news cycles keep the bad news constantly in our faces. Black people have been killed unjustly for hundreds of years, wars where civilians are killed happen plenty, and America has seen it’s fair share of questionable presidential candidates. Death, lawlessness, hatred, murder are and have always  been apart of our world.
So what can we learn from this? What can we take from 2016 into the new year that’s beneficial?

We have to live the best lives possible… The world is crazy and there’s no way to know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Let’s make 2017 the year we shrug off all our fear and anxieties, and live passionately and purposely. Do the things that make you incandescently happy, offer your hand to a neighbor in need. I’m not talking about another meaningless resolution but an actual life change. Let’s not waste one more moment not loving our lives, because this is our only shot at this. Those people in war torn, impoverished countries could only dream of the opportunities that we have right in front of us.

This is not only a call to action to you but to myself as well. 2016 challenged me mentally, emotionally. I found myself depressed by the world and my place in it. I thought to myself “The days are passing so quickly, am I making the most of my time? ”
In the new year I vow to spend less time doing things out of obligation and more time doing things because I actually want to. I want to continue nurturing my gifts, and exploring my passions.

So what’s calling your name in the new year?

2017 is going to be a roller coaster so buckle up, put your hands up and enjoy the ride.

Second Thoughts, Third Thoughts, and Sometimes a Fourth.

via Daily Prompt:
Second Thoughts

photo-1446108440972-3798c860067c

I am the queen of second thoughts, very little I do is done without a second thought, and a third thought, and sometimes a fourth thought. I am a closet control freak and sometimes fully thinking things through can give me the illusion that I can control how it plays out. Keyword there is “illusion”, my sub-conscious knows this but that doesn’t stop my conscious mind from overthinking.

The overthinking stems from self-doubt. I doubt the first thought that’s why I must give it a second. Should I finish college? Am I going the right direction? Am I pursuing the right things? Or the right people? Did I choose the right health insurance plan? Everyday the thoughts cycle through my brain as I reevaluate my life. I often wonder what life would be like if I had had less self-doubt in my past. Would I be finished with college? Would my life be going in a different direction than it is now? I believe the passions I have now were always meant to be mine. I  still would be writing and working with kids but maybe in a different way.

I tell myself that I will be more decisive in the future. Not overthinking but strategic thinking, but I’m lying to myself. I’m an introvert and we’re characterized by our propensity to overthink. But what I can do is not overthink to the point of paralysis, and pray and trust God to lead me. They say self-doubt is God doubt, and I’d never want to doubt Him.

Of all the things I constantly think and rethink about, of one thing I can be sure; one way or another it will all work out. My life may end up being something wilder than anything I could’ve dreamed up. What I want to work on the most is not letting the anxieties of the future outweigh the numerous possibilities. Yes they’re a lot of things that can go wrong but they’re also a lot of things that can go right and that is the part that I have to focus on.

Everyday Inspiration, Day One: I Write Because…

Writing is how I process my life, a lot of times I don’t quite know how I feel about something until I start writing about it. It helps me make sense of my chaotic mind.

journal

I write because…

It connects me to the world around me. Ever since before I could read I have been obsessed with stories of people’s lives. The love, heartbreak, ups, and downs that mark us and make us individuals but also unite us. The written word is how these human experiences can be shared with the masses. So someone I don’t know and will never meet can share their story with me and I can share my story with them and we can share that bond. And through this bond we can learn something new or find a fresh perspective on something old. Maybe your experience will help me in my life, maybe we’re two of a kind.

Writing is how I process my life, a lot of times I don’t quite know how I feel about something until I start writing about it. It helps me make sense of my chaotic mind.

I love words. I love how words can make us feel something, whether it’s good or bad. I love how a person can string the right words together in just right the way and transport me to another time and place.

It’s my gift. God gives us gifts because he wants us to them. My goal in life is to make the most of everything God has given me.

 

*photo by Negative Space