After missing blogging like crazy I decided that internet or no internet I was going to get back into it and I did! With the help of some planning of course. Planning my posts ahead of time really helps me stay on top of things, and I have the next two weeks planned out.
I wanted to paint Sidney’s room last week but when the time came I just couldn’t get myself motivated. It’s a lot more than I thought, which my mom warned me about but I never listen. I’m one of those frustrating people who have to try it for themselves before they get it.
This Week’s Goals:
I want to paint Sidney’s room, which is actually in process as I type this. I’ve just slathered on the primer in my most excellent amateur way and am now waiting for it to dry before I get to pull out the purple paint and get busy. Who knew painting was so much work?
We’re going camping this weekend! Which means I need to pull out all of our camping gear and get all of the supplies together. I can’t wait!
I really want to take pictures of downtown Kitchener near my sister’s place. There are so many old, beautiful buildings down there that are just screaming “SHOOT ME! SHOOT ME!” And so I will, on Thursday when I go to pick up my niece, who is coming camping with us.
What I’ve been up to:
1. Nick, Sidney and I went to my best friends’ baby shower to celebrate the birth of their little girl LeeLoo. His parents live in Walkerton, a small town two hours away, so we slept in a tent in their large backyard, roasted marshmellows over a campfire and just had a really good time being away from our home city.
2. Sidney received her very first short haircut after begging me for almost an entire year! She looks so adorable with her little bob and I can’t wait to take some gorgeous photos of her.
3. We started a small “urban garden” as I like to call it, which is a bunch of potted plants on our balcony, including tomatoes, hot peppers and chicks and hens.
I hope you had a lovely and productive week! Did you get any of your goals accomplished?
My boyfriend and I moved into our first apartment when I was 18-years-old. It was a small, two bedroom in a 16-unit low-rise building built in the 1960′s. It was clean and decently maintained and for our very first place it was just right.
Unfortunately we made the mistake of putting an expiry date on our apartment. We moved in there thinking we’d be able to buy a house within two years and refused to put much time, money or energy into the place and therefore neglected to really make it a home. Two years after moving in, my boyfriend was laid-off from his excellent job and we had to rethink our plan.
Now we’re in our second apartment and it was love at first sight.
It’s a century-old duplex in a mature neighbourhood. Our neighbours are friendly, the elementary school is excellent and we’re a five-minute walk from downtown. As soon as we entered the front door and ascended the dingy staircase to our top-floor unit with it’s wide baseboards, strange layout, hardwood floors and large balcony, I knew I wanted to live here. And not just stay here temporarily, but make it our home and spend some real time here.
The first year living here we were completely broke, struggling to get through each week and had no money to put towards our beloved apartment. But on New Year’s Eve as Nick and I celebrated the end of 2013 and brought on the new year full of optimism and excitement, we made a pact to finally, for the first time, select furniture we actually wanted, to paint the walls colours we really adored and make this little space ours.
Well, this past month we’ve held true to our word.
It’s a slow process but with patience, hard work and a little bit of money we’ve been picking up new (to us) pieces of furniture and actually bought our first can of paint and I can’t wait to start showing you some of the projects we will be doing!
And with our new, exciting adventure well on it’s way, I’m excited to announce a very new series on Peace and Chaos which I am calling Happy At Home.
I don’t want to give too much away, but expect to see some of our new furniture next week for the first post of the series including a couch, bookshelf, flower pot and more!
What are some things you need to do to make your space feel like home?
It wasn’t until grade eight that I began wearing make-up. Most of my friends, and even my older sister, had started experimenting with lip gloss, mascara and eye-shadows two years prior when they were about twelve. I was always more of a tomboy.
When I was thirteen-years-old I started listening to bands like The Ramones, Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper and with my new found taste in music came a new style and I delved into the mysterious world of make-up for the first time.
Unlike my friends who preferred pinks, purples and blues, I bought mostly black make-up. Looking back I realize that I did an awful job as I tried to copy Alice and Ozzy’s eye make-up and I’m glad there are barely any pictures of me from that time. Even though there aren’t many pictures, I did carry other remnants with me from that period of my life, like insecurities with how I looked.
From then on I could no longer leave my house without putting my “face” on. I traded my green lipstick in for pale gloss, but my eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara remained black. I perfected the “cat-eye” look and the smokey eyeshadow, and by grade ten I even drew on my eyebrows after deciding my natural ones were too bushy and caveman like.
At the time I convinced myself that my make-up was just a form of self-expression, a way to rebel against society’s norms and reject mainstream beauty but now I know differently.
It was a mask all along. I felt insecure and ugly and by putting on this intense make-up and dressing up in alternative fashion I was really putting on a costume that helped me feel better about myself. I belonged to a group of like-minded individuals and could easily hide behind this persona I had created for myself.
My values and opinions were genuine, don’t get me wrong, and I still adore goth and punk fashion; fishnets, animal prints, Doc Marten boots and heavy eye make-up, but as I got older and finally more comfortable with myself I eventually stopped trying so hard to look like other girls I saw online and at school.
I felt fine, just the way I was.
And with this new confidence I started wearing more plain t-shirts, jeans and other clothes for comfort. I started going out more and more with less make-up until eventually it became rare for me to ever wear make-up or even hair products.
It felt nice, fresh, clean. I could get ready to go out in a matter of minutes and so much time was saved without all of this extra primping and grooming I was so used to.
Until, eventually, it started to have a negative effect.
It got to the point that whenever I would put make-up on and style my hair I felt awkward. I started to think of myself as too ugly to bother, that people would look at me and think, “Why does she bother with make-up? She’s too fat and ugly to even try to look good.”
And so I stopped altogether. I began to withdraw from social events, I hated talking to people and I rarely wanted to go out any more. I became more and more comfortable just staying at home in my track pants and baggy t-shirts. I became socially awkward and unsure of how to act in public. I was sure everything I said or did made me look stupid and I started to have anxiety attacks at the idea of having to go out and do things.
Over the course of two years, starting when my social awkwardness was at it’s worst, I’ve really worked on myself and have been doing my best to convince myself that I am fine just the way I am. It’s getting better and although I still feel like I am socially awkward I maintain a busy social life. I go to school, hold a part-time job in customer service and full-fill my work placement’s requirements without the unnecessary panic attacks, as well as making time for my circle of friends and family.
And now I enjoy wearing make-up and straightening my hair again, without having to add shock-value to my wardrobe. I can go out without wearing make-up when I’m in a rush without it being a problem. And I can get dolled up for special events when it feels necessary without feeling like an ugly phoney. And most days I can put on some neutral eye-shadow, a flick of liquid liner and mascara and feel good about my appearance.
What about you, do you feel more comfortable wearing make-up, or not? Did you ever experience a time in your life when you couldn’t imagine leaving home without make-up on? Or even a time when you felt too ugly to even bother with make-up, like I did?
Every week I set new goals and share a quick update on my life. You can read last week’s post here.
My online presence hasn’t been very good lately. I’ll be honest with you, my internet was cancelled due to an overdue cellphone bill from years ago, one I didn’t even remember I had, and now in order to get my internet back I have to pay this gigantic bill. Such is life.
But I’m ready to get back to business.
This Week’s Goals:
After being offline for what feels like a lifetime I’ve decided to just write out my posts and schedule them in advance. There are about a million and one internet cafes downtown, and WiFi seems to be available every where. So my goal this week is to start writing three blog posts in advanced each week, and over the weekend stop somewhere with WiFi to schedule them. That includes any regular features like The Weekly or the Delightful Directory.
I also bought purple paint for Sidney’s bedroom over the weekend and now we just have to get it up on the walls. I have never painted a room before, but luckily Nick has lots of experience and it should turn out nice. I hope we can get to it this Thursday.
Finally, I really need to buy some new SD cards for my camera. We have lots of fun adventures planned for the upcoming weeks and I want to be able to photograph them without the hassle of running out of memory space. That’s the worst, isn’t it?
This time of year always reminds me of being a teenager, when school was let out and my friends and I could run wild for two full months.
It was such a confusing time in my life, but I feel that it’s important to look back on my youth and to share some insight with those of you who may be interested in knowing what kind of teenager I was. At first I questioned if I should share such a weird time of my life publicly on this here blog, but it’s called Peace and Chaos for a reason and that reason is life itself, in all of it’s wonderful happy times as well as the miserable parts, too. This is just how I was, back in a time when I was sad, angry and confused.
What was I like as a teenager? Well, here it is.
It’s hard to describe what I was like as a teenager because I was such a complicated one, as I assume most teenagers are. Being a teenager is a difficult time in most people’s lives as they struggle to find themselves and their place in the world. Add a ton of hormones, parental pressures and high school drama and you’ve got the perfect mixture for disaster.
I’d like to think I was an average teenager but I suppose, looking back, I wasn’t.
My actions and thoughts were extremely negative and I was depressed but I was more than just a pessimist; I was self-destructive, hateful, rebellious and so much more. But as I grow older and constantly examine myself, my behaviours (past and present), my experiences and my constant battle with old familiar habits, I can honestly say I am a better person now and continue to better myself all the time.
I was not at all the responsible type. I rarely had a part-time job (how did I afford all of that booze and all those cigarettes?), I barely studied in my spare time and I never participated in extra curricular activities. My days were spent in bed or dragging myself from one class to the next. My nights were either spent partying with my small group of friends or alone, wallowing in my own misery. I often spent time alone reading, writing, taking pictures, drawing and over-thinking everything. I was almost always depressed, constantly examining myself, my life and my purpose on this planet. Through a series of unfortunate events I began to despise the human race and life itself and I truly felt as if I had no future.
“All the world cannot be wrong, it must be me I don’t belong”
- Did He Jump, Zounds
So I began taking risks and acting as if there were no tomorrow. Literally feeling as if I had no future I viewed school as a waste of time. Some how I still managed to get decent grades despite my poor attendance and lack of motivation. Eventually I dropped out at the age of 16. And again when I was 17 for entirely different reasons. I graduated high school when I was 22, picked up my diploma the day I watched Sidney graduate kindergarten and now I’m in college, but it was difficult.
“In the quest for the test to fulfill an achievement, everybody’s only in it all for themselves, when the fact of the matter is they just don’t care, to extend a helping hand to anyone else”
- I and I Survive, Bad Brains
Back in the day boredom was a daily occurrence, which always lead to bad decisions.
As a teenager though, not caring about anything, boredom often lead to strange activities. I waxed my eyebrows off, tweezed out my eyelashes, put cigarettes out on my arms, cut myself and stapled paper to my chest, arms and forehead. Looking back I can’t figure out why, it’s just what I did, although I’m sure my self-hatred and depression played their parts. And among my friends I was known as the crazy one. If someone came up with a ridiculous idea, they knew I was the one who would follow through with it, but we always had a good laugh (was it with me, or at me?). And actually, I was a very goofy person (still am).
“Don’t want a life of lies and pretense, don’t want to play at attack and defense, just want my own life. I want to be free, so you can be you and I can be me”
- You Can Be Who, Crass
At the same time, despite my lack of faith in humankind, I wanted to make the world a better place. I was a vegan, wannabe freegan, I shopped strictly thrift and made some of my own clothes. I demanded equality, preached environmentalism and voiced my strong opinions to anyone who asked. I dressed in ways I thought would shock people, dyed my hair wild colours and explored my creativity through fashion. The idea of following what society tried to feed me as beauty pissed me off, and it still kind of does. Not to mention, I loved getting piercings because I saw it as pain that resulted in beauty.
I was drawn to anything that questioned conformed thoughts. I spent endless hours exploring movies, books and music that truly spoke to me and opened my mind to new ideas about the world. It’s no surprise that I was drawn to punk culture. Many nights were spent moshing at local shows, shouting along to lyrics, arms linked with friends and strangers alike, a connection to a cause, a way to release all of my pent up anger if only for a little while.
“Everyone would leave with the memory that there was no place else in the world, and this was where they always belonged , we would dance like no one was watching, with one fist in the air”
- Reinventing Axl Rose, Against Me!
Music gave me something to connect to, a channel for all of my negative energy. Art and writing gave me a way to express myself, to get all of those negative emotions out of my head and a way to dissect and make sense of things. For this I am grateful.
Music, art and writing have changed my life, since those early days of anger and hatred and fury as a teenager. I’m a recovering pessimist, a teenage anarchist, a journey that began the day I saw my daughter for the first time on an ultrasound screen at the age of 17.
I left the idea of being a teenager behind the day my daughter was born, but there’s no doubt that I have only changed in minor ways. I’m still rebellious, I still want to make the world a better place, I still write and make art and I still enjoy listening to bands like Crass, Conflict, Subhumans and Bikini Kill, so I can shout and jump around and remind myself that I’m only human.
And in case you want to join me and shout and jump, too, here’s a playlist:
WARNING: Some people may find this music offensive.
This post was originally shared on The Art of Balance as part of a series called Your Voice in which bloggers were given the chance to share their stories of overcoming anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
At a fairly young age I started to realize that the world wasn’t always a happy place. That there will be people in your life that you once trusted, only to be betrayed. Bad things happen and there’s nothing you can do about it.
I guess I started to feel depressed around the age of 13, but I didn’t know it yet.
I was angry at the world and I took it out on myself. That’s when I started cutting, never enough to cause permanent damage but enough to feel pain. When I was 16 I burned myself with cigarettes multiple times. I still have those scars but they’re faded now.
When I’m depressed I lay around eating and feeling numb, like nothing matters and there’s no point in doing anything. At those times I want to feel frustrated with myself but I can’t even do that. I would think, “Everything is fine, why do I feel like this?” and yet I never had an answer.
I’ve contemplated suicide in the past, but I’ve never attempted it.
Around the time I started high school I got myself mixed up with the wrong crowd. I quickly down spiraled into a world full of alcohol and drugs. My self-esteem was really low and I considered myself to be extremely ugly and stupid and unworthy of anything good so I drank a lot and smoked a lot of marijuana.
I began to feel like my life had no purpose, that I had no future, and I dropped out of high school. During that time off school I got pregnant which, surprisingly, made me think in an entirely new way. It was the most confusing time of my life, but I ended up going back to school for the second half of grade 11 and finished high school through correspondents. I quit smoking and drinking. I started to take care of myself.
After my daughter was born I had a reason to live and I felt hopeful. I wanted a good life. I was in love with my boyfriend, with our daughter, and I felt loved back. I was sober and started spending time with my family again.
By the age of 18 I felt happy most of the time.
I’ve tried counseling twice. The second time my counselor was extremely nice and I looked forward to our appointments. I know a lot of people are skeptical about counselling but I think the trick to making it work is by having someone you’re comfortable talking with. If you don’t like your counselor, try a different person.
I’ve also been on antidepressants many times. I don’t like the idea of relying on drugs to stable my mood but there are times when the depression gets so bad I don’t have a choice and I’m thankful for my pills.
The biggest help in dealing with depression for me was learning gratitude. Over a year and a half ago I read The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. The challenges it gave me to learn gratitude forced me into a habit I first thought was impossible but now comes naturally. Learning to love what I have and not sulk over what I can’t has been one of my biggest life changing habits.
I sometimes feel like my depression will always remain with me, but learning how to handle it when it does come out is key; writing in my journal, going through all of the things I am grateful for in my life, talking to someone and of course my antidepressants. It also helps to surround yourself with people who love you and to find a hobby you are passionate about.
I can honestly say that I look back at my life with no regrets, remember more good memories than bad, learn from my mistakes, and that just because I have depression doesn’t mean I can’t live a happy and fulfilling life.
Favorite Quote: “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” – Stephen King
It’s June at last and that means strawberry season!
There are about a hundred ways to eat strawberries, but my favourite summer treat is a delicious smoothie!
I was recently given a bunch of strawberries that were on the brink of spoilage. As I hate to throw anything away that can be saved I decided to freeze them instead of letting them go to waste. But if you’ve ever tried to freeze a bunch of fresh strawberries you may have experienced them getting clumped together.
Here’s what I do to avoid this:
Always wash them first.
Then cut off the green stems.
Lay them out on a baking sheet so that they are not touching.
Place the baking sheet in your freezer. Once they are fully frozen (I wait about a day), take them out and then place them in a freezer bag.
This way when they freeze they will stay separated and you can easily grab however many you need for your smoothies! You can do this with any fruit, which I also did to some overripe mangoes that same day!
And when you have a bunch of frozen strawberries and mangoes you obviously have to make smoothies.
Here’s what I threw together to enjoy my overripe and then frozen fruit:
Strawberry Mango Smoothie Recipe:
1 cup of frozen or fresh strawberries
1 cup of frozen or fresh diced mangoes
1 1/2 cups of almond milk (or any other milk you enjoy)
1 teaspoon of ground flax seeds (optional)
Place all of your ingredients in a blender.
Follow your blenders manual, blend until smooth and enjoy.
Pretty simple, right? And absolutely awesome tasting!
For the first time since I discovered the internet I spent weeks offline (with the exception of checking my emails on my phone). I did not sign into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube or even Google. Worst of all I neglected my blog and the responsibilities that come with it. For that I apologize, but I do not regret my negligence. My biggest apology goes to Natasha at Epic Mommy Adventures because I was supposed to be a c0-host for the Weekday Mixer in May and I didn’t do a very good job!
I haven’t had the internet for about a month now and making my way to cafes and other public wi-fi spots got to be too much of a hassle. The first week I felt angry and lost without my creative outlet and tried to get online whenever I could. Eventually it became too difficult between work and family life. Then there were so many times I wanted to hop on to Google and look something up, so many times I craved to listen to a specific song on Youtube, so often I missed catching up on my favourite television shows and staying connected with my friends in the most convenient way; Facebook. Most of all I missed the daily habit of writing on my blog and reading others.
But after my withdrawal symptoms subdued I felt this huge sense of relief.
No longer did I scroll through my timeline looking at everyone’s happy updates of houses purchased, pregnant bellies and career successes. No longer did I read about other people’s awesome DIY projects, lush gardens, perfect looking home-cooked meals or read about how to be a better parent. The stress that comes with constantly being fed other people’s lives, you know, the good parts they choose to share, did not bother me any more and I could just live. I didn’t care what other people did over the long weekend, or how they spent their days and I could just be myself and enjoy each moment without any comparisons.
The past few weeks I’ve allowed myself to disconnect and enjoy my time with friends and family. It’s been a blessing in disguise. I won’t deny that I still miss blogging, it’s not something I plan to give up now or any time soon, but I can’t promise I’ll begin blogging regularly right away either. If things work out over this next week I can be back online super soon but there are no guarantees.
But I can’t deny that it’s been all bad, either. I’ve had a lot of fun these past few weeks!
The weather is extremely warm now and we’ve been soaking up the sun like nobody’s business!
In the past month:
Nick, Sidney and I went to my aunt and uncle’s house for a BBQ and a campfire, and we also watched fireworks.
We also got to play in their neighbours backyard on their trampoline and played with their two dogs.
My mom and I took the girls to their school fundraiser called the May Fair where we played carnival games, bought baked goods and used books.
Sid and I went swimming with my cousin Katie in her backyard pool, which was freezing cold but so completely refreshing.
We rode rides at the carnival, ate ice cream and lazed around the house watching movies.
I even met my first nephew last week when he was just one-day-old. He’s so tiny and precious.
And without the internet my life carried on. Our days have been filled with school and work and play and family and I am so completely grateful for all of it. Nothing has changed, my life didn’t end, I did not die (even though some days I thought I just might). Who knew the internet could be so addictive?
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Hello, my name is Cole!
I love writing, taking pictures, going on silly adventures and being creative. This is where I will share my journey on self-love, acceptance, creative endeavors and every day life.