Dear Ella,

Have courage and be kind.

Ella's Mom

I'll be the first to admit, I'm not always the easiest person. I'm a firm believer in what you put out into the universe is what you'll receive back. Behind the brave face and smiles, I have ups and downs, just like everyone else. For me my ups and downs are more than noticeable. For those of you who read "My Journey with Anxiety", you'd know I struggle with anxiety. If you didn't, surprise surprise... I have anxiety. What you don't know is I have also struggled with depression in the past. For me being happy takes work. It's something I work at every fucking day. When I'm happy, the happiness seeps out my pores and anyone and everyone around can see a smile from miles away. Unfortunately, the same can be said for when I'm sad or mad.

As many of you know by now I like my life in black and white. I like knowing what's going to happen and not happen. I don't like the unexpected... the grey area. The grey area scares me, it gives me anxiety and it makes me want to just hide under the covers until I know everything is okay. For me being happy is something I work hard for everyday and I appreciate every moment that there is a smile on my face. I recently read an article that resonated with me so much, I felt like this article was written about me. It's called the "Strongest Girls are Girls with Anxiety" and I agree, I am fucking strong because everyday I fight for that smile that's on my face. But for most of March my anxiety overtook me. I was in a constant battle and there were moments when I felt like I was losing. Getting out of bed was a struggle, smiling at work was painful, talking to friends and coworkers was torture. Safe to say I was close to losing a battle that I fight so hard to overcome. I barely smiled, I didn't even really cry... I was more emotionless... zombie-like, just grey.

About a week ago, I guy I used to be involved with … let’s call him… SM, SM messaged me. A little background on SM, he’s ridiculously good looking (and he knows it, insert eye rolls here). I’m not talking average run of the mill good looking, I’m talking Grecian God, abs for days, hair that could give mine a run for its money, eyes that make you go weak at knees… that kind of good looking. But with all of that he’s not someone I would ever entertain the idea of being in a relationship with. He’s someone I would never expect anything from, well… besides a good time. It's crazy how out of nowhere an ex from when I was 22 comes out of the woodwork and can remind me how amazing I am (I would also like to say that this is proof, that I on occasion know how to pick them). Our very non-vanilla conversations and interactions have definitely been helping me get my mojo back in a sense. This is in no way me saying that to get over one relationship, you need another. It's just been fun having a bit of a distraction and I've been smiling and laughing again. 

One thing that I miss about my time with CS was that there was always a 100% pure bliss smile on my face. We could be doing nothing at all or something exciting and there it was, a smile. I'm a very independent person. Growing up as a child of divorce I was always taught that you cannot depend on anyone for anything (especially your well-being and happiness) and you have to always depend on yourself. This is why in relationships I stay very independent and guarded. I have a life apart from my relationship whether it be with friends, work, my blogging, etc. I always try and maintain a healthy balance. What I didn't realize until a couple days ago is that I had become dependent on him for something... I let my happiness and my smiles become dependent on him and I didn't even know it. I was talking to Angel (who I'm so grateful for, even with her busy schedule, different time zones, kids + husband and the 6000 miles of ocean that separate us, she still makes time for me and my boy problems just like she has been doing for the past 15 years) and I told her that I am so scared that I'm not going to ever smile like that again. It honestly scares me. 

I have this app that gives me an inspirational quote for the day (so fucking cheesy I know) and it asks me what my focus/goal for the day is. I would say five out of seven days, I put "SMILE" as my focus/goal. It's a little embarrassing that I have to remind myself to smile, but sometimes I honestly forget. I get too wrapped up in a "bad day" and forget that even if a day is bad, there is at least one good bit in it. This is what I try to remember. That even in darkness, you can always find a bit of light. I've slowly but surely climbed out of the dark and sad place I was at for most of March...it took time but I did it. I'm smiling, laughing and noticing the beauty within each day again. I try my best to shut out the negativity and move past it.

If this had taught me anything it's that I'm a lot more courageous and kind than I would have thought. There are very few people I "hate"... I don't like that word. Hate is a nasty emotion and the people I don't care for, I just don't care for. I'm not gonna waste space in my brain or my heart with that negative energy. I'm courageous for speaking my truth... sharing my experience... opening up about what hurt me. I tried my best to remain fair, objective and unbiased. I never went into sharing with the intent of malice, hatred or shaming. I did it simply to share. After everything he's not on my "I don't care for list" and definitely not on my hate list... what happened, happened. It was a learning experience and I don't regret a thing. If anything it taught me that I'm more courageous and more kind than I would have ever imagined. So as they say in one of my favorite Disney movies... "have courage and be kind" because it's honestly the best thing we can do as humans. When you take risks and are kind to others, happiness is sure to follow.

dress: zara (sold out), similar here and here
shoes: steve madden "paiton" in tan nubuck
photos: amanda nguyen