You Can Shine in Darkness

Shine

When it’s dark outside, demons have a way of crawling in-between the spaces I have created happiness in.

They take shape in memories and what if’s… always preaching about what I could have done or how I’ve failed.

They whine like wolves to my heart strings, screeching and howling until I bleed from the sound.

My demons slither beneath my skin and swallow any light I’ve found within me.

But I once heard you have to friend your enemies.

And I slowly deceived the demons. 

I let the wounds bleed and would dab at them with reminders of what I love to do when they were not looking.

I got to know them and their plan to control my happiness and I quietly learned the reasons behind their savageness. 

I crept silently into their world only to befriend the enemy and discover strategies of all different calibers. 

Only after the enemy tore my spirit limb from limb did I blast through the scars with a light so bright my eyes couldn’t remember the sight of darkness.

And I shined.

And I healed every wound with a petrifying force that created a warmth so compassionate the demons started weeping.

I started weeping.

And I won’t ever forget this feeling of what it once was to feel so dark inside that only my own happiness could cure the shadows.

Because I thought that every ounce of light had left me when it was always patiently sitting, waiting for when I was ready.

I’m ready now.

I’m shining.

Until Next Time,

Anna Marie

This is What Strength Looks Like

Strength

Strength is tear soaked pillows and piles of crinkled tissue.

It’s hot tea filling up empty hands and warming up a heart gone cold.

Strength is taking a bite when you want to waste away.

It’s saying hello after the hardest goodbye.

Strength is good days and terribly awful minutes.

It’s writing a song or painting canvases full of splattered heart beats and memories.

Strength is pulling yourself out of the warmth of a blanket cocoon.

It’s peeling your heart off the sidewalk after an earth shattering quake.

The pieces will never fit back together but they remember the familiarity of what used to be there.

And you change.

Strength is saying yes to new adventures and fighting for everything you believe in.

It is loud and boastful or quietly accumulating.

It withers and swells each day.

Strength is feeling something so deeply it drowns you.

Strength is floating up from the abyss.

It is answering questions you’re scared of and letting someone hold your heart with their bare hands.

It is loving a place you’ve never been and leaving behind everything you know.

Strength is adventuring into the world.

It is embracing strangers.

It is curiosity for something beyond ourselves.

Strength is trusting yourself.

It is trusting others.

It is holding up those who are struggling to move forward and carrying on with them.

It is never forgetting the people who made you love.

It is always loving those who have made you who you are.

Strength is creating a better person when the air is filled with temptation.

It is forgiving when surrounded by betrayal.

Strength is constantly giving away kindness.

It is letting go and holding on and fighting in between.

Strength is forks in the road and lonely trails.

It is loving yourself and becoming your own friend.

It is acceptance.

It is fear.

Strength looks a lot like the reflection in the mirror.

Strength is YOU

– Anna Marie 🙂

P.S. This is dedicated to the ones I love who are struggling a little more than others today. We have good days and bad days when dealing with pain but as long as you are surrounded by love you will shine. I’ve been there and some days I’m still there but you always have to look forward to what might happen next with a big smile and an open heart. It’s easiest when you do what you love and forgive what you can’t control. You are STRONG!

All of my love.

I Hate Goodbyes

I hate the anticipation of a goodbye. I hate the gut-wrenching, tear-jerking, all consuming fear attached to the moment of not knowing if you’re going to see someone again.

It’s incredible how people can come crashing into our lives. Without expectation, one person can change our entire future and most of the time they don’t even realize the gravity they have on you.

It’s almost crazy how fast we can become friends with someone and trust them with our deepest secrets. Our most sacred thoughts can be gently handed over in a matter of seconds of feeling like the other person understands us. 

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Look to the sky for a sign. Tonight’s goodbye will be hard but you’ll be better because of it.

This is why I hate goodbyes. We can become so close to someone in just a few days of the right conversations and yet, sometimes a goodbye looms above us with finality and heartbreak. How do we know if we will ever see someone again?

I’ve said a lot of goodbyes. Some fading out like the end of a movie, some shaking me to my core and some that I was never ready for. Goodbye is never easy. Goodbye to the dead is for ourselves to feel closure and remember them in light. Goodbye to someone we once loved in any way both frees and breaks us. Goodbyes to places or things grip our hearts as we flash back to the memories we made there.

I’ve learned that goodbye never gets easier, you just get stronger. Sometimes the last thing you want to do after a goodbye is move forward, even when that’s all you have left. Some goodbyes sting for a few days and some sting for a few years. Some are easier than others.

The most important thing is remembering that people stay in your life for exactly the right amount of time. Whether it’s two weeks or twenty years, if someone has fulfilled their role in your life and you have to say goodbye for whatever reason, let them go.

By clinging to a past filled with what if’s and could of, should of, would of’s we prohibit the life we’re supposed to live from happening. If we could only see that somewhere in the future there is a silver lining, we might find goodbyes a little easier.

Have faith that saying goodbye will only lead to a dozen new hello’s.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

What I Learned From Being Dumped

Yeah, the title is as embarrassing as I feel writing this post but it’s been on my mind for a while and I’m just going to embrace what I went through.

QUICKLY: This isn’t a hate post. This isn’t in anyway an attack to the person who I dated because I will always stand behind the fact that he is a great guy. I don’t have any bad feelings toward him or what happened. However, he did hurt me and I’m a writer who writes about what I’ve gone through.  

So here’s what I learned from someone ripping my heart out of my chest and then throwing it in the grass and running it over with a lawn mower. (Dramatic metaphor or passive aggressive? Haha)

1. The reason a relationship ends will sometimes never be good enough. We can hear the reason 25 times and it still doesn’t make sense to us. However, we decided to stop trying to figure it out at some point. There comes a point when you decide it doesn’t even deserve the amount of thought you’ve done trying to analyze what it could possibly mean and so we accept that we will never get that kind of closure.

2. You’ll always have questions and something to say. If you get the chance to cool off and talk with them, you’re only going to arise 33 more questions and 21 more soliloquies in your head. It’s a never ending cycle. You’ll always want to say one last thing and ask one more question. Soon enough, those will start dying down in your head.

3. You stay in love with the memories you had of that person, not the person actually standing in front of you. This was so important to learn. We constantly play the highlight reel in our head. We playback all of the happy memories we had and we still look at this person as the one who gave us so much happiness and joy. That’s not true anymore. The person in front of you now is so very different. They aren’t choosing you anymore and as excruciating as it is to read… they don’t want you. Is that really the kind of person you want to be with down the road? Is it? Of course not.

4. In most cases, the person who dumped you didn’t want to cause you all of the pain you have had to endure. I know in my case, this was the honest truth. It wasn’t easy for him to see me so torn apart and believe me, it was horrible to be so torn apart in front of him. If someone truly loved us- they would never want to see you in that much pain. So there comes a point when you realize they never wanted to hurt you but decided to because it was in their best interest (and who knows, maybe yours too). This sounds harsh because it is but believe me the one who dumped you didn’t get off too easy themselves. I don’t really know what it’s like on the other side, but they didn’t fake the entire relationship and have some healing to do as well.

5. You lose so much more than a boyfriend. I was more upset that I lost my best friend more than anything. I hated that I didn’t have my favorite someone to go on walks with, out to eat with, home with and adventure with. My most trusted partner in crime became my hearts biggest enemy in a matter of five minutes and that has been the hardest part to deal with.

You lose so much more than just your boyfriend, you lose his family. I don’t know if you loved/hated them but it’s so much worse when you feel like you found a home where he calls home. You created memories, jokes and plans with them and the most unfair part of a break up is you can’t say goodbye to people that never had a say in the matter. You just have to be sad and close all of the doors yourself. It’s all just so difficult.

6. Relationships REQUIRE two people to fight for each other. There is no such thing as an easy relationship… to a point. Those of us who are fighters will never understand how someone can just give up. At first, a relationship is so easy. You’re in love and they’re perfect and it’s not until the honeymoon phase fades that you realize you are actually required to work for a great relationship.

Simply put, some people just are not ready. Maybe “not ready” is what scared people say. Honestly, they will never be ready. No one is ever ready for anything. We’ll always be scared. You just do and you make it happen if you believe in what you have. If you aren’t leaving your comfort zone, you’ll never see how great something can be.

Then again, timing can be important. Maybe you’re on different paths or in different points in your life and it’s important to recognize that.

7. You will always have these insane notions (for a while) that they will turn around, realize how incredibly amazing you are (which you ARE) and decide they want to fight for love now. I don’t know when these daydreams will stop happening but I still have them if I’m being completely honest. This is the part that kills us. HOPE. The whole “if it’s meant to be, it will happen”. Kind of true but I believe someone has to decide that they want it to happen and then they set it in motion.

We wonder if that was the last time you will ever see them again or if you’ll ever bump into each other down the road and maybe even rekindle a love that is willing and timely. We still imagine them in our future because it is a dream we had for so long that we didn’t even choose to end. We even say to each other “see you later” because it’s easier than saying goodbye to someone who was a big part of your life for a while.

John Green says it perfectly in “Paper Towns”.

It is saying these things that keeps us from falling apart. And maybe by imagining these futures we can make them real, and maybe not, but either way we must imagine them. I stand in the parking lot… and here is this girl I love and cannot follow. I hope this is the hero’s errand because not following her is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I keep thinking she will get in the car, but she doesn’t, and she finally turns around to me and I see her soaked eyes. The physical space between us evaporates. After we kiss, our foreheads touch as we stare at each other. Yes, I can see her almost perfectly in this cracked darkness. 

We want so badly to hold on to those final moments so we can let go of the person attached to them.

8. There’s not an expiration date on pain. We feel so many emotions: pain, rejection, hope, excitement, relief, guilt, etc. That sometimes all we feel is absolutely nothing. Numbed by an overwhelming amount of emotion. For every person it takes a different amount of time. Just know that as long as you’re pushing yourself to move forward, you can take as long as you need.

9. I learned what it was like to be in love. We know what love is (maybe) and I know I was in it. I loved so much, felt so deeply and cared so passionately about another human being. I can’t imagine what it will feel like when someone is ready to feel that way about me, regardless of fear and hesitations. I found a love that could have lasted a lifetime and I hope to fall in love with another best friend. I am so incredibly hopeful for the future.

10. You slowly move on, but you DO move on. I never thought I could confidently say that. We will always be touchy about the subject but what are we supposed to do? Dwell every day and never open up again? No. I will open my heart bigger and better than before. I’ve moved forward and am becoming a much stronger person after it all.

I almost wish I could say a huge thank you for the person I became because of him. I had an incredible journey that pushed me to be a person I’m really starting to like. I just wish I didn’t have to go through so much pain to get here. We all want love so bad, that we put ourselves through hell just in the hopes that one day it will all be worth it. For now, we just have to leave everything behind.

It is so hard to leave- until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world. –John Green

I sure hope so Mr. Green. I really do.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

If You’re Going Through A Lot, This Letter Is For You

Dear Troubled Mind,

I know what you’re going through isn’t easy. I know that every day is a constant battle to choose to do things that will make you happy or to curl up and cry. Every morning you wake up and wait to see if you can feel a good or bad day coming and you’re nervous to succumb to the anxious dreams you’ve been living in every night.

You’re terrified of being left alone because you don’t think you are strong enough to stand without hands holding you up. Yet, you’re sick of everyone tip toeing around subjects and jokes that only make you think of everything you’re trying to ignore.

I know that you can’t stop the pain from hitting you just as hard as it did the first time and that you’re sick of waiting for enough time to pass to make things alright.

I felt this way. Some days, I still feel this way. So from me… to you… I’m going to tell you what you need to hear.

You are strong. Not because you have moved along or have forgotten, but because you have felt every single ounce of pain that has been with you and you are learning to live with it.

Time doesn’t fix all wounds, it allows us to learn how to deal with the missing piece we thought we needed to survive. It allows us to understand how to handle the pain of whatever change we feel destroyed us. Every day, the pain doesn’t go away, we just learn how to embrace it and how to push forward even with new scars.

That is why you are strong. You have cracks and burns in your heart but it still beats. You still smile and laugh because no one can take that from you.

Whatever event changed you… whether it was a betrayal, a break up, a death or anything else, know that the person who caused this much pain didn’t get off too easy themselves. Don’t hate them. Don’t resent them for what happened. They have made you into the person you are supposed to be and maybe their time in aiding your future is up.

Forgive. Forgive whatever has happened and forgive yourself. You don’t need to let go of a person because in all honesty, a part of us will truly never let go of something we love, but accept that you cannot change the past. Let go of the control you no longer have and embrace what is yet to come.

Let go of the blame you place on yourself or another person and let go of the idea that a grand gesture will come along. Let go of the memories but still appreciate them. Let go of what you had and look forward to what could be. A door closes only to have a few windows creak open.

Understand the beauty and happiness that you deserve. You are so much more than a face or a body. You have a soul that can shine light through the darkest of nights. You have love that can leave someone speechless and kindness that spreads like wildfire.

Right now, stop thinking of ways to put others before yourself. Stop thinking of ways to apologize, react, conversations, plots that might change the outcome of what has happened.

Start thinking of yourself.  Choose YOU. If you’re terrified to be alone, that is a huge cry that you are exactly who you need right now. You need to find comfort in yourself. You have to love yourself to heal the cuts that are deep in your heart. No one can say something that is going to magically reset your happiness. You have to fight to get that back, no matter how unfair it seems.

Every single day when you wake up, you need to push forward. Don’t let yourself wallow on the couch or lay in bed all day. Do something about your pain.

Smother the pain with self-love. Love yourself by doing what makes you happy and for enjoying your own company.

No one can heal you like you can. Look at yourself in the mirror and have a conversation explaining why you deserve joy and appreciation. Then give it to yourself. Appreciate who you are and why you are an amazing soul.

Keep fighting. Maybe you fought hard for someone else and they gave up and now you don’t know why you put so much effort into something that failed. Well, keep fighting. Not for them anymore, but for yourself. Don’t give up now. You fought to be happy with someone/something else and now you must fight to be happy all by yourself.

Love deeper than anything you’ve ever felt before. Love is pain’s antibiotic. Love with each cell in your body and give it your all. Your friends, your family, your significant other or even your dog. Pour love into others and you’ll find that the ones who truly care will give you just as much love back.

Push forward, choose to love yourself and you WILL find happiness.

Until next time,

Anna Marie

Life’s Little Therapies

There are certain instances in life that you just sit back and think “WOW, did that just make me feel better…”

Life has a funny way of teaching you therapeutic ways to make yourself feel better without you even realizing it. Check out the examples I came up with below.

Riding in a car with the music loud… There is just something about loud music that speaks to you in a car that let’s you experience the environment around you. Riding in a car soothes the soul and rocks your anger to sleep. The music lets you belt out your favorite words and says exactly what you are feeling. The combination drowns out the thoughts in your head as your journeying to somewhere different (even if it is just on your way back home).

Seeing something new… Whether it’s a back road you’ve never taken or a town 15 minutes away that you have never explored, a change of scenery is stimulating. It occupies your brain and can erase your worries for the time being. It’s a reminder that the world is huge and there are opportunities everywhere.

Sticking your feet in the ocean… Grounding yourself. Letting the waves wash over your toes and sinking your feet into the sand is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. It’s a gentle motivation to stay calm and breathe. It makes us feel peaceful and whole in the mass of the world. It is by far one of my favorite therapies.

A get together with your closest friends or family members… There is something about sharing laughter with those closest to you that can lift your spirits. Reminiscing on old times, creating new memories or just sitting in their presence can make you feel so much better. The presence of someone who cares about you can really make you feel less alone and give you something to look forward to. It’s a way to distract yourself from negativity and reach for the ones who can make your happiness soar.

Indulging in something you love… What is your favorite hobby? What is something you haven’t done in a while? Whether it’s cooking, reading, running or calling your grandma, do something that you know will make you feel relaxed or calm. Sometimes we don’t feel like doing anything at all but by letting ourselves just sit around, we aren’t taking a step forward. At least grab your favorite snack or dance around to one song. Do it for you.

These are a few of life’s indulgences that can raise your mood and make you feel even just a smidge better on a gloomy day. Remember that time will pass whether you are enjoying it or not. Take advantage of what days you have left and be happy.

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

Rain

Today’s post isn’t very inspiring but it’s real. Sometimes the inspiration is looking up into the eye of the storm and raising your middle finger to the sky because you know you are going to make it through the thunder and lightning.

So here it goes.

The sky is crying. Sunshine is taking a break and the clouds are protecting the sun from having to be so bright and happy today. I want nothing more than to stand in the rain and let it wash away the thoughts, doubt and any pain I have been through.

The rain drops can hit my skin and take the poison from my mind and I’ll feel them roll down my face until they fall from me and sink into the ground.

I’ll let my mood fall into alignment with the clouds for today. I’ll pretend they are protecting me like they are protecting the sun from having to always be shining. I can be a little bit dull today, I deserve a day like that.

A smile will cross my face because I know how deeply I feel and how strong a person has to be in order to brave the emotions that come with a giving heart.  I will laugh in the rain because I will feel the self-doubt drip down my sides and recognize the worth I have in myself.

I might cry in the rain to let myself know that I am not going to numb what I have experienced in my life.

I know that every step forward is progress that has taken work. Even if you feel like you have fallen miles behind.

I know that love is surrounding me. Love is all I need.

My mind just gets in the way sometimes.

I’ll make it out of this little hell.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Herman the Hippo

Herman the Hippo is a famous figure in my life because of the love my boyfriend has for hippos. When I first met this goofball, he changed my computer background to the picture below, claiming it showed the cuteness hippos contained.

On the other hand, I thought this creature looked like a slimy blob of flubber. Zach named him Nigel and he stayed on my computer for a long time, reminding me of the guy I was falling for.

After this, I learned that a young Zach had told his brothers that he hid a hippo in his closet and fed him chocolate chip cookies. This is when I started gaining a soft spot for the animal. I took a second look at poor Nigel and realized his legs were so short and stumpy and he had such a big nose. He was starting to look a little cuter.

For Valentine’s Day, I bought Zach a giant stuffed hippo who he named Herman. We cuddled, schmoozed and loved him while beginning to document the memories with pictures. Here is a taste below…

After the ridiculous amount of pictures we began taking, I became as obsessed with Herman the Hippo and hippos themselves. How can you not love the huge nose and heart tattoo on his foot?

Over a year later, he’s lost a little fluff but still continues to be the ridiculous cuddle pillow that I stole from Zach to sleep with every night. Literally, every night. I sprawl over this stuffed hippo and don’t let go until I wake up in the morning. It’s my first time ever having a stuffed animal that I sleep with every night. I feel like a five year old and I am not ashamed.

I have had a lot catch up with me this past week and have felt a lot of pressure from every aspect of my life. I don’t know if you have ever been stressed out to the max but hugging the crap out of a hippo tends to make your heart a little more fluffy and the world a little bit kinder. So as I write this, I am holding on tight to this little ball of love and hoping to just make it to the weekend without exploding into a mess.

Herman the Hippo is a wonderful stuffed friend to have around and the point of this post is to give you a tip on how to make yourself feel better after a long day/week. Buy a huge stuffed hippo, name it something adorable and hug the crap out of it.

Until next time,

Anna Marie ❤