Friday, February 17, 2017

Bows









OUTFIT DETAILS

SHIRT:  Store: Ross, Brand: Siren Lily Maternity
SKIRT: Store: ???, Brand: Promesa
SHOES: Store: Ross, Brand: White Mountain

Yay! Fashion Friday! I love this outfit and a wear it a lot. It's a go-to dress up outfit for me because it's actually super comfortable and looks great. Please ignore how pale my legs are. It's winter. Forgive me. Also, it was not warm enough for me to not be wearing no coat or tights, but I sacrifice my warmth for fashion photos. Yep.

Fun fact, this top is a maternity shirt that my mom bought for me back when I was pregnant in 2015. I'm in love with this shirt and it looks great, pregnant or not. So it's a win all the way around. I'm loving my hair in these photos. I'm trying to find more ways to make my hair look naturally wavy, but I can't figure out how without using heat all the time. My hair is so fried.

Anyways, I did take a couple different outfit photos on the same day so my hair and makeup will be the same in the next few #FashionFriday posts, but considering I do the same thing most days anyways it's not too far off from my real life. I'm trying to do weekly outfit posts so we'll see how it goes.

Love this outfit. Love you guys. See you soon!


SIMILAR SHIRTS UNDER $50


Sunday, February 12, 2017

How To Be Happy



I'm sorry to disappoint, but I don't have the answer. I can't tell you how to be happy when happiness is something that often evades me. But that doesn't mean I don't continue to try and find happiness. Nor does it mean that I can't help you find happiness as well.

See, happiness is often said to be a decision. We are often told that if we want to be happy, then we can make ourselves happy. But as someone with depression, I have to say that's bull. Happiness is something I work so hard for, yet I often fall short. And it's not because I didn't decide to be happy, it's because depression distorts my mind.

Happiness is not just a decision. It takes work sometimes. If happiness is something that you want in your own life, here are a couple of things you can do to help find happiness in your own life.

1. Read positive daily mantras

I recently created a note on my phone with my mantras. I read these every morning and every night. I also read them when I feel I need a pick-me-up. When I move into my apartment I plan to hang these on my bathroom mirror so I automatically see them in the morning when getting ready and at night while brushing my teeth..

Your mantras should relate to you personally. Scoure the internet, Pinterest, music, books, whatever to help you find a few short sentences that will lift you up and make you want to be better.

Here are my current daily mantras. I'm sure this list will change at many times in my life, but here is what I need in my life currently:

"With God life is oh so good!" 
(This is a quote by Al Carraway, my current blogger obsession.)

You are perfect, God makes no mistakes.

"Who you are is not where you've been."
(This is from an amazing Taylor Swift song called "Innocent." I would link the quote to my Spotify, but T-Swift took her songs off Spotify, something I can never forgive her for.)

You are beautiful, inside and out.

"Do you like the person you've become?" 
(This is from my theme song for the year, "The Weight of Living: Part II" by Bastille. Read about why it's my theme song by CLICKING HERE.)

I am a warrior.
(This relates to my tattoo. Read about why I got my tattoo by CLICKING HERE.)


By reading these mantras daily, I find happiness comes a bit easier. Repetition helps us learn, and repetition can help us to think more positively. 


2. Have faith

Whether it's faith in God, faith the sun will rise, faith that things can't get any worse, having faith will bring you happiness. We as humans need something to believe in. We wouldn't get up in the morning and commute to a job we dislike if we didn't have faith that it will bring us money or something better in the future. We always believe in something. 

For anyone new to my blog, in November 2015 I had a miscarriage and lost my first child. Without faith, I would have never survived that experience. My heart still aches when I think about it and I still cry over my lost child often, but I have faith that I will see my child again and that someday, somehow, I will be able to become a mother. 

When you are feeling low, and happiness is too difficult to find, figure out what it is that you have faith in. Do you have faith that you will survive the pain? Do you have faith that you are loved? Do you have faith that you will be successful? Take that faith, cling to it, and you will make it through whatever trial you're going through. 

3. Find the things that make you happy...

For a while I did "Happy Tuesday" posts, where I literally just listed the things that had made me happy the previous week. The act of writing down what made me happy, made me feel happier. It was often the littlest things that brought me the most happiness. 

Here are a few examples of the things that make me happiest:

Dancing. Music. Cows. Writing. Notebooks. Zoram Gerrard. My husband. Reading. Makeup. Food. Sugary food. Rain. How To Train Your Dragon. Binge watching TV shows on Netflix. Pinterest. And more. 

I recently found a Tumblr post (which is now lost in the internet world) that said something along the lines of, there is no excuse too small to not commit suicide. At the age of 17 I was suicidal. I survived for various reasons, but one of the main ones was that I knew my family loved me, and I refused to hurt them, even if it meant I was suffering myself. 

Also at the age of 17 I met an incredible friend by the name of Colton. He was the first person I ever told about my depression. He invented Happy Tuesdays with me and every Tuesday we would hang out together. I looked forward to my Tuesdays every week to be with the person who made me laugh the most. Tuesdays became one of my small reasons to not commit suicide. 

Everyone finds happiness in different ways and I encourage each one of you to find what makes you the happiest and go out and do it. (Unless it's illegal, maybe don't do that, maybe find something that's morally good as well as happy. Just a thought.)

(If any of you are contemplating suicide, please check out the resources in THIS POST for help. You can also email me at thedancingcowblogger@gmail.com if you need someone to talk to. I'm here for you. I know what it's like, you are not alone, and you can find help and you will survive.)

4. ...And get rid of the things that bring you unhappiness

This past year I moved from Logan to the Salt Lake Valley to live with my parents. Did I ever expect, or want, to be twenty-six years old, married, and living in my parent's basement? Not really. But I left Logan because I was unhappy. Logan had become the place I dropped out of college, the place I lost my child, the place so many bad things had happened to me, and I just couldn't take it anymore. 

Could I have waited until we could afford an apartment of our own? Sure. But I was unhappy and needed to do something about it right away. So I did. I was offered a job and I got out of Logan as fast as I could, with my supportive husband by my side. 

There are certain things we can't just get rid of immediately. I would like someday to be a full-time blogger and writer, no longer having to work for companies. Quitting my job and dedicating my life to writing would make me happy, but the stress of unemployment and struggling for money means that I have to endure and have faith (ah ha, see, #2 totally is important) that what I am doing now will help me to get where I want to be. 

But any of the little things in your life that are bringing you down you need to get rid of. This can be done in many different ways. For example: Do you have a friend who is constantly bringing you down? Maybe it's time to find a new friend. Does your weight make you unhappy? Put in the work to get rid of it and become stronger.  Do you not feel comfortable in your wardrobe? Sell it and buy new clothes. Does college make you absolutely miserable? Maybe you need a break, or a different major, or a different location. 

If you want to be happy you have to put in the work and that includes staying away from whatever brings you down. 

5. Build strong relationships

I cannot imagine my life without Chris. He is my soulmate, best friend and everything in between. He is many times the only reason I find the strength to get up in the morning. He gives me so much love and he only wants me to be happy. My relationship with my husband is a strong bond that I never expected was possible. 

If my husband is not around and I just need someone to hug, who loves me, and is always happy to see me, I turn to Zoram Gerrard, my dog. Zoram is such a snuggler and his snuggles often bring a smile to my face even in the darkest of times. 

But most importantly, the relationship I turn to most when I am feeling unhappy or weak, is my relationship with my Father in Heaven. I know that my Father in Heaven knows every pain that I am going through, he has a plan for my life, he does not want me to suffer, and if I rely on him and trust in him, then I can be happy. 

I have so many wonderful relationships in my life with my parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers. Building these relationships brings me happiness. As I mentioned before, I would never do anything to hurt my family. I put them above myself. Their happiness means to world to me. And more often than not, when we work to make other people happy, we find happiness ourselves. 

Whether your strongest relationships are with family, friends, spouses, God, or even your pet, build up that relationship until you cannot break it. That person then becomes your rock, someone you can turn to when you need help. I promise you that everyone has someone in their lives that loves them. Love them back, with all you have, and you will find happiness through each other. 


What in your life brings you the most happiness? 
Let me know in the comments below! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

I Am Still Living



I am still living. 

I have been suicidal. 

I have cut myself, burned myself, made myself bleed, made myself cry. 

I have hated myself, brought myself down. 

I have lost a child and not been able to have another. 

I have lost my religion and found my way back again. 

I have sabotaged my own happiness. 

I have torn down my self esteem and fought to get it back.

I have driven into the night not knowing if I would return. 

I have starved myself.

I have screamed, cried, and questioned why I feel this way.

I have had darkness take over, consume by body. 

I have given in.

I have let myself break, I have given up. 

I have fought back.

I have lived with depression for as long as I can remember.

I have coped, I have fallen, and done everything in between.

I have prayed.

I have turned to Christ.

I have become a warrior.

I have turned to family and friends.

I have cried in my husband's arms. 

I have hated the world that doesn't seem to understand. 

I have hated myself. 

I have told myself things would be better more times than I can count. 

I have found happiness and lost it again. 

I have been strong and I have been weak. 

I have been emotional. 

I have started a day positive only to fall apart by the end. 

I have given up. 

I have made goals. 

I have become a different person, time and time again. 

I have depression. 

And I am still living. 


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Why I, As A Mormon, Chose to Get a Tattoo

 


No one can ever call me a perfect Mormon and I'm not even that close to the top. I've made so many mistakes. I've allowed myself to fade away multiple times. I've never actually completed reading the Book of Mormon all the way through. I always forget to pray. And my testimony of the gospel is not the strongest.

That being said, I've never completely fallen away either. I was lucky to have an experience at the age of 17 that ensured that I could never deny God or leave the church for good. I believe the God, I believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the truest gospel on the earth today, and I love the teachings and blessings that I receive when I do attend.

But as someone who suffers from depression on a daily basis, being a member of the church can be incredibly difficult.

My depression is a full blown, daily struggle, daily having to remind myself to be happy. And I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

A month or so before I met my husband, I was at a very difficult point in my life. And in a moment of weakness and loss of control, I took my hair straightener and pressed it against my left arm, leaving burns.

This wasn't my first instance of self-harm, and it wasn't the last either. Only the largest and most significant. In high school I spent nights with tweezers, picking at my legs until they bled. In college, I used my razor on my wrists. And after getting married, I used my own fingernails to scratch at my arms till they were raw and almost bleeding.



Growing up LDS, I was always taught my body is a temple. We are meant to love and protect our bodies the way we would the temple. But the distortion that depression causes, has never allowed me to fully grasp this concept.

For me, my body, my skin, is the thing that holds in all the darkness, the depression. When I cut myself, it was because I needed to feel real pain, to see an actual wound, to be able to put a band-aid over it and know that it would heal. Depression, the darkness inside of me, doesn't heal. I can't put a band-aid on it, I can't control it, I can't stop it when it comes.

There are ways to ease my depression, but it's still invisible. Treating an invisible wound isn't the same as one you can see. At my weakest points, I needed a visible wound to help me feel like I was in control again. If I couldn't see the pain I was feeling, I would make pain I could see.

A few years ago I found a song by my idol, Demi Lovato. The song is called "Warrior" and the moment I heard it, it changed my life.


This is a story that I have never told
I gotta get this off my chest to let it go
I need to take back the light inside you stole
You're a criminal
And you steal like you're a pro

All the pain and the truth
I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I was broken and bruised

Now I'm a warrior
Now I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior
I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior
And you can never hurt me again

Out of the ashes, I'm burning like a fire
You can save your apologies, you're nothing but a liar
I've got shame, I've got scars
That I will never show
I'm a survivor
In more ways than you know

Cause all the pain and the truth
I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I'm not broken or bruised

'Cause now I'm a warrior
Now I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior
I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior
And you can never hurt me

There's a part of me I can't get back
A little girl grew up too fast
All it took was once, I'll never be the same
Now I'm taking back my life today
Nothing left that you can say
Cause you are never gonna take the blame anyway

Now I'm a warrior
I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior
I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior
And you can never hurt me again

No oh, yeah, yeah

You can never hurt me again



I cannot express how much this song speaks to me. It sometimes feels as if this song was written about me, for me.

I've talked in the past about being a warrior. One year ago I shared a post called "Become A Warrior" in which I shared how I would write the word "Warrior" on my wrist to remind myself to be strong. And when I got the urge to claw at my arms, I would see the word on my arm and remember that I am a warrior, I am a fighter, and my depression "can never hurt me again."

On November 4th, 2015, I had my miscarriage and lost my first child. And throughout 2016, my depression had been worse than ever before in my life. The song "Warrior" was the only thing that kept me from injuring myself. I was consistently writing the word on my wrist as a reminder that I could survive. Somehow, I would survive the pain.

As a person, as a Child of God, I am in a war against Satan. Because of my depression, he has a strong grip on my life. I have to be a fighter to make it through the hell I am put through. I have to work hard on a daily basis to break the hold Satan has on my life, my actions, and my emotions.

"Warrior" helps me in the war against Satan. It helps me to not injure myself. It helps in the moments I want my life to end. It helps when my social anxiety appears. It helps me to be confident. It helps me to stay strong, be positive, and look for the light when my head is so full of darkness.

On November 4th, 2016, I got a tattoo of the word "Warrior" on my left wrist so I would never be without the support and strength that word gives me.

In my religion we are told not to get tattoos, to protect our temple. For me, getting this tattoo was one of the best ways for me to help protect my body and temple. And while I not supporting breaking the commandments the prophets have given us, I believe that for me, in my life, in my situation, getting this tattoo was important.

The night I got my tattoo, I said a prayer to my Father in Heaven. I apologized for breaking the rule and explain why I believed I needed it. And for a brief moment, I felt peace that He understood. I'm not saying that my decision was right or wrong, but I made the decision and I fully accept anything that comes of it, good or bad.

I have never once felt guilty or ashamed of getting my tattoo. I am proud to show my tattoo. I am happy to tell people why I got it. And while I know that many other members of the church will never understand, I still believe it was the right decision for me and I am not going to let them bring me down.



I cannot say that having this tattoo has made my depression go away. It's not magic, I know that will never happen. But there have been moments where the darkness takes over, I begin to lose control, and I see the word and make a change.

I still hurt, I still make mistakes, I still find myself in pain, but I am now constantly reminded that I am a warrior. Even if I lose a battle, I can still win the war. I can still triumph over Satan and his clutches. I can still find happiness even when I feel all hope is lost.

My life is not over. I can be successful. I can be the person that I want to be. 
Because as a warrior, I will NEVER stop fighting. 


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