The Fight to Forgive 

Forgiveness. It’s easy to say, hard to feel. It’s easily forgotten yet one of the most important truths of letting go and moving forward.  

You need to forgive yourself. You need to forgive others. 

For a woman who has only spent a little over two decades on this earth, I have encountered a lot of struggle. Isn’t that the story of quite a few of us? My struggles may seem more difficult or much simpler to someone else but to me, they have been challenging opportunities to showcase my strength. They have downright sucked and believe me- I was not this philosophical when I was in the midst of tears and anger.

The truth is you are going to get hurt. By friends, family, significant others or even strangers. You are going to be tested and when it comes down to it- you can succumb to the anguish or rise to the journey. 

You are going to be beaten down at some point in your life and you are going to feel like you are on the ground cringing at what life’s next blow might be. It’s true, if you stay down you aren’t going to be able to fall much harder. If you get up you are recognizing the chance of landing in that same spot in the dirt. 

You don’t think of this moment as pivotal. You don’t realize that deciding to stand up is going to influence how you fight the next battle and the one after that. You have no idea how standing up will strengthen you and your soul to the next challenge you face. The next war you fight with yourself or another person might bring you down but you’ve stood up before, this time it’ll be a little easier. Still difficult but once again your legs will strengthen and your heart will beat stronger. 

The person you were just became a little more determined to fight for happiness. The person you are is not going to let anything stop them from chasing a life they deserve. You don’t wait for anything. You seize the day and take your next step forward. 

You can’t do that unless you forgive yourself and anyone else and let yourself let go. Don’t let go of the memories or the happiness you had. Let go of the poison that infiltrated you. Let go of the pain and the hurt and all of the betrayal you feel in your heart. Forgive yourself for the blame you have hung on your shoulders. Forgive someone else for the decisions they have made. No matter how hurt you are, forgive them so you can be happy and move on. Forgive them so you can push your hands into the earth and force your feet to balance on the ground. So you can dust yourself off and start the next chapter. 

Take your time to forgive but push yourself to not let huge events control you. 

Time is precious. It’s quick and quick sand. It pushes you into the future and  pulls you into the past. It’s the beauty in the mirror and the wrinkles on your forehead. Time waits for no one. 

Therefore, the longer you take to forgive- the longer you will beat yourself down for the past that is now occupying your present. The harder it will be to forgive once you start holding a grudge. 

Forgive. Let go. Move on. Find happiness. Easier typed then practiced. I know. ❤️

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

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Travel For More Than Bragging Rights

Yes, we’re all jealous of your trip to Cancun. Wow, you went to Paris? We wish we could have eaten macaroons under the Eiffel Tower. Oh, ANOTHER story about how you touched the seven seas and explored the back alleys of another famous city?

Don’t get me wrong, I want to do ALL of those wonderful things but I can’t tell if you’re bragging right now or if you’re genuinely moved by everything you did while abroad.

There are several different kinds of travelers who explore the world for many different reasons.

The one that I’m not too fond of? Bragging rights. People who travel the world simply to say that they did. The ones who aren’t abroad to learn about culture, experience new customs and get to know a different kind of crowd.

Travel is so much more than a checkmark off of your bucket list. WHY did you want to see Paris? Because it’s popular? Sure. Also because of the historical monuments and culture you can find hidden between the tightly squeezed apartments? HELL yeah!

You should go to a new place with an open mind and expectation of embracing something new. If you are going to keep to yourself in a new country- all you are seeing is new scenery but did you really get a feel for what that country has to offer? Not as much as you could of I bet.

Try new food, do an activity the locals consider normal and try to learn a little bit of the language if you can. Putting yourself in a country isn’t going to be worth while if you don’t try to absorb the culture while you’re there.

Here’s a few things you can do to make sure you aren’t just traveling to say you did. Don’t travel to brag, travel to grow.

1. Google search some history. It doesn’t matter if it’s five or ten minutes, look into the uniqueness of wherever you are going. This will make you appreciate the area and most likely help you with some customary actions the citizens part take in.

2. When you’re there, be open to spontaneous decisions. Trying ants? Sure. Gondola ride? Sure! Take the moment and go for it.

3. Talk with locals if possible. The best way to learn about a country is from the people who live there. Ask them where the best restaurants are and what the best meal to eat is. Be safe while doing so.

This will get you started. Be on your way traveler and dive deeper than just another stamp on your passport. Travel to grow as an individual and learn more than you could have expected!

Until Tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Who I Am, Who Are You?

I’m a Caucasian female in her twenties. I’m an American red headed middle child . I’m a college student in the Midwest.  Do you think you know me yet? I bet some of you do.

That’s what I’m labeled as. You can make a lot of conclusions from that information but that’s not who I am.

Today, I am going to tell you the top three things that I think you need to know about me in order to understand a vague outline of the person I am. I will do this, in hopes that you will return the favor and tell me three things that make you who you are.

It’s so important to understand ourselves before we can start to grow as a person. We cannot be a better version of ourselves if we don’t know where the starting line is. We also can’t finish the race if we’re struggling for the start line. Understand yourself before you decide if you want to make a change.

SO…

Photography by the lovely Steph!

…who am I?

I am smart. I am strong in academics in school because I crave knowledge. I want to know everything about anything and love to know depth on various subjects. I don’t like to half-ass learning and take advantage of any opportunity to improve any skill I have. I am also smart when it comes to my actions and thinking. Everything I do is usually very deliberate and thought out. I rarely say or do things without thinking it out first unless I am extremely comfortable with someone. I am very observant of others and can usually get a very good picture of a person within the first few times of meeting them.

I am driven. I have strength that I don’t realize can push me to do more than my mind believes. I am strong-willed and determined to reach goals and accomplish tasks. I am always putting my best foot forward in each situation and will give 100% effort at all times. I can be stubborn with this quality but I am always focusing on a goal while enjoying the ride. I can do what I put my mind to.

I am caring. I inherited my mothers big heart. I have a passion for people, stories and those who I can see a part of myself reflected in. I have a need to help those who are struggling and am a good listener to those who need it. I wear my heart on my sleeve because I believe it takes a certain kind of bravery to be open and honest. While sometimes this has hurt me beyond words, I will never regret the connections I have made with others because I opened up myself to them. I have a knack for caring about each and every good person I meet, no matter how long I’ve known them. When I get to know someone, they’ll always have memories in my past that have created the person I am today.

As of today, I feel like these three traits are some of my strongest. I understand the upsides and downsides to each trait I have and in recognizing them, I know where I want to go from here. I want to continue to call myself smart, driven and caring so that others will be able to see the same qualities I see in myself.

Your turn. It doesn’t have to be what everyone else tells you. It doesn’t have to be what you felt yesterday. Right now, what three traits do you feel explain a vague outline of who you are?

Understand yourself so you can better understand others.

Happy Monday!

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Good Morning Beautiful

Good Morning Beautiful,

Are you aware of what you mean to this world? Here you are, just starting another day. In the midst of waking up and you don’t even realize the lives you’ve touched, the knowledge you’ve learned or the accomplishments you have achieved.

It’s early and yet you can’t even begin to understand the impact you have had on those closest to you. You, my love, are a shining star. You are brighter than all of the fireworks in the fourth of July sky. You are lovelier than the reddest of roses. You are as kind as the sun warming our skin and as loved as the holidays.

Today is just another day to you but to those who get to love you one more day? To them, this day is another smile they can cherish, laugh they can join in with and another heart they can open up to. Don’t you recognize your value?

Today is the start of more memories, more connections- another step forward in your beautiful life. You are just waking up and you haven’t yet recognized the potential you have to change your world and those around you. All it takes is one smile to feel better, one laugh to make a connection and one person to change you.

Don’t you see? You already mean the world to so many people. You already have touched the lives of those around you. You already have made a life worth living. Recognize how lucky you are. Would you really want to be someone else?

If you are struggling, let me tell you something. The strength you so badly crave is right inside of you. Whether you have recognized it or not, you have what you need to grow. You don’t need to be fixed, you just need to grow and learn from what ever has happened. That strength is beautiful.

Be exactly who you want to be today. Be a person who would inspire you. Or maybe, just be a little bit better than yesterday.

Good morning beautiful, I hope you have a good day. You deserve it.

Until next time,

Anna Marie

The Most Beautiful Lyrics

I have been listening, really listening to music lately. I have marveled in the beauty of how some words can really just hit home for me so I thought that I would love to share some of what I consider the most beautiful slices of lyrics out there. P.S. I am a huge indie/alternative fan so you’ll probably be seeing lyrics from mostly that genre.

I Believe In You-Tyler Hilton

No, it don’t feel like sleep when I’m this alive it’s true, I believe in you

I Can’t Make You Love Me- Bon Iver

‘Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t
You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t
Here in the dark, in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power
But you won’t, no you won’t

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)- Hillsong United

And keep my eyes above the waves, When oceans rise

A Drop In The Ocean- Ron Pope

It’s like wishing for rain as I stand in the desert, But I’m holding you closer than most ’cause you are my heaven

What Now- Rihanna

Whatever it is, it feels like it’s laughing at me through the glass of a two-sided mirror Whatever it is, it’s just sitting there laughing at me, And I just wanna scream

 John Doe- B.O.B. Ft. Priscilla

Seems like the bus moves slower
Just cause you got somewhere to go
So you take a few pills in Beverly Hills
But if anyone asks you’ve got a prescription
You got an addiction
Who do you think that you’re fooling?

Runaway-Aurora

And I was running far away
Would I run off the world someday?
Nobody knows, nobody knows
And I was dancing in the rain
I felt alive and I can’t complain
But now take me home
Take me home where I belong
I got no other place to go

Little Hell-City and Colour

My war ships are lying off the coast of your delicate heart
And my aim is steady and true as it’s been right from the start

I’ll dig for water and fashion our very own wishing well

Then we’ll throw our coins down hoping to rid of us of this little hell

Don’t Dream It’s Over- Crowded House

Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

Call Me- Shinedown

Call me a sinner, call me a saint
Tell me it’s over I’ll still love you the same
Call me your favorite, call me the worst
Tell me it’s over I don’t want you to hurt
It’s all that I can say. So, I’ll be on my way

I finally put it all together,
But nothing really lasts forever
I had to make a choice that was not mine,
I had to say goodbye for the last time

AND END LYRICS! These are probably mood specific at the moment but they’re just either really simple and true or just poetic. PLEASE share your favorite lyrics below!

Until Next Time,

Anna Marie

California Here I Come

When things don’t go right, go left. Way left, all the way out to California. At least, that’s my plan.

A few weeks ago I had plans to embark on a fun-filled road trip but due to some uprising conflicts, the trip has been cancelled. While I am really sad that I won’t be able to experience some of the unique history held in our country, I AM excited that a new opportunity came up.

For the traveling souls, we know that sometimes, you just have TO GO. So when I was talking with my cousin who lives out west, we came up with the idea of me going out to visit her for a couple weeks. A vacation to escape the world I’m used to and give myself time to feel like myself again.

I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch the past few weeks. Because of this, I thought, maybe I should just stay home. I almost did until I thought what would Anna have done one month ago? Answer? She would have bought the ticket yesterday.

I booked my ticket a few days ago and leave in ten days. Spontaneous traveling will be my safe haven. It will allow me to see more of the world and come to terms with the vast possibilities and adventures that await over the horizon.

So California, here I come. Days filled with sunshine and the most therapeutic method of all- the ocean.

I cannot wait to be with someone who has lived a few of the same stories and who is such an inspiration to me. I cannot wait to go on adventures and catch up with myself to process what my life has been like for the past few years. Not many people get a chance like this. To just take a break and breathe. To adjust and understand where they want to go next. I need it and I need it with someone as wonderful as my cousin.

Maybe you don’t get an opportunity like this but I think it’s always important to take time to realize where you are and how you’re doing in your somewhat made up ten year plan. Are you happy? If not, what’s holding you back?

Those two weeks are going to help me recognize what’s important. Once again, travel is going to save me. New faces, new places and new memories. I am going to live every single day to it’s full potential of adventure because that’s what this trip deserves.

Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll hear all about it.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Dear Broken Heart

Dear Broken Heart,

I know what you feel right now. I know that your chest is caving in and you feel like an elephant is sitting on you. It feels like your heart is trying to pump concrete through your body and it’s slowly turning to stone. You feel like your mind is obsessed with “what ifs” and “whys” and as hard as you try, you can’t stop the tears from falling.

I know that every time you see something another memory surfaces. Every time something good or bad happens you think of that person. Every time someone asks you if you’re okay you say yes to be polite but know that right now, you’re far from okay.

I know that you don’t want to deal with the questions because you still haven’t answered them yourself. I know that no matter how many people tell you “you deserve more” you nod even though you don’t feel that way right now.

I know that the one person you want to talk to about everything isn’t here for you anymore. I know that you want so badly to talk to them. I know you can’t help but feel hope that some day they will recognize the mistake they made in letting you go. I know how hard it is for you to even consider letting go.

I know that you can give yourself the best pep talk in the world but you can’t force yourself to feel better. You still need time to overthink answers and cross check reasons and dig for any shred of light that might give you the strength to move past this.

I know that right now, you feel like a failure. You feel like there is something wrong with you that cannot be fixed and that you aren’t worthy of love. You feel betrayed and broken because you would have done anything for that person.

WHAT I KNOW… My sweet, injured heart, is that you will be okay.

It’s okay if it’s not today. It’s okay if it’s not tomorrow. But every day you will have a moment where you do feel okay. And in time that moment will grown into minutes, hours, days until eventually you feel strong and whole and ready to open your heart again.

You are worthy of love and affection. You are beautiful and kind and if someone gives you up, they are giving you a chance to be found by someone else who could love you deeper. Even when all you want is that person, you might not get them again and to accept that, is to understand that you cannot change it.

You are going to struggle to understand and that’s okay. You are going to hope that he is going to run back to you and for now, that’s okay. You need hope to give you strength so you can let go.

You are going to be terrified of moving on because you aren’t sure if you want to. Breathe in, breathe out. Take time to yourself now because that’s what you deserve.

Let go of the pain. Of the guilt. Let go of the self-doubt.

How do you look into the eyes of someone you love and tell yourself it’s time to walk away? When that person can look into your eyes and tell you that they don’t want you anymore. You deserve to be wanted. You deserve love.

Take time for yourself to put back together the pieces. It’s up to you, not to anyone else. You are strong enough to heal your heart and come out of this stronger and even more willing to fall in love again.

It’s you. You have to be the one to save yourself. You have to love yourself so you can be loved again. It’s horrifying and heartbreaking but what you need right now isn’t him or her. It’s you. You need yourself to stand tall and to lift your chin up. Be proud of what you have given and understand that after all of the effort, it’s your turn to let go so you can be happy again.

You’re the hero in this story and you will feel strong again. The love you need has to come from you right now. We both know you deserve it.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie