Monday, March 27, 2017

Will Blogging Ever NOT Be Hard For Me?

That's a serious question. I want a serious answer. For reals, I make all these goals, I set plans, schedule posts, have a ginormous list of posts I want to write, and then I still go over a month without posting. Will blogging ever become easy for me? And if so, how do I speed up that process?

Despite having a freaking long list of posts, I'm in a writer's rut. I can't even get myself to work on Heroes & Villains which has an actual deadline and is insanely important to me. If anything, that should be my focus, but I can't even bring myself to do that.

I've also filmed quite a few videos to put on my YouTube channel, but once I get to editing, I panic that they aren't good enough and just discard them. They still exist, but will probably never be posted for public viewing.

I'm just stuck between my high expectations and reality. See, I have a very, very vivid imagination, which I love and I think that's what allows me to be a writer. But in my imagination, I see myself as a successful blogger, YouTuber, and writer. And when I realize that I started my blog four years ago and nothing has come of it, I get insanely discouraged.

I've never been the type of person who always believes in myself. In fact, I've spent many years of my life struggling with self-loathing. I am so good at putting myself down and making myself believe that no matter how hard I try, I won't amount to anything. I started writing stories at the age of 10. Freaking ten years old! I'm now 26 and have nothing to show for it but Heroes & Villains (which, again, I'm very proud of, but still, it's not a published book).

Let's not forget that life gets in the way. I would love to travel and do more posts about that, but I've never had a job that allows that. And I hope to someday be able to blog as my job in order to do that, but how do I get there if I'm always at jobs that keep me from blogging?

I know I'm overthinking it. I think that's a family trait. But I can't help that I get so caught up in what I want that I can't see the present for what it could be. I can imagine blogging as a career all I want, but unless I take the time today to do something about it, that dream will never come true.

I want to rebrand a bit, change what kinds of posts I do. I think that giving myself a more specific niche will help me to actually blog.

I've read dozens of blog posts about "How to be a Successful Blogger" or "How to Make a Career From Blogging" and I keep looking at those posts as things that I can do in the future. But I need to start looking at them as things I can do now. I'm certain I could make my dreams a reality if I just learn to stop being lazy, stop thinking about the unrealistic future, and focus on what I can do now.

I am honestly, probably one of the laziest people you will ever meet. Today I didn't leave my bed all day. I didn't even take my dog outside to let him pee. Granted, I am also sick so there was a slight necessity to my laziness, but even I am getting to a point where I'm sick of my own laziness.

And instead of lying in bed listening to podcasts (I personally love Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig) and watching YouTube videos (I think my Thatcher Joe obsession is getting to be a little bit too much) why didn't I just work on one of the many blog posts I have planned? Even if it doesn't get posted for a while, why didn't I just start?

I don't really know what this post is about, other than letting you know how much of a failure I often believe I am, but I hope (and I can only hope) that this post leads to more soon. Better ones. Much better ones. In fact, I have a good one coming in a few weeks. It's currently my only planned post, I'm very excited for it, but after it's posted I don't really know what else to do.

Anyways, I should end this post now before I embarrass myself too much because, quite honestly, I'm embarrassed to admit all this. Especially the thing about not letting my dog out to pee. In my defense, Zoram laid around and slept all day with me. He didn't whine or show any signs of needing to go until I started putting shoes on to pick up my husband from work. But I am sorry Zoram. I love you very much and I know you can't read, but I hope you can find it in your little heart to forgive me.

And to end this post here's a picture of my adorable dog.


Oh... And this picture was taken on the bathroom floor of my new apartment... which I never mentioned on here that I moved and barely even said it on social media. I'm failing. Sorry.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Testimony


I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

At the age of seventeen, I was horribly, dangerously depressed. It wasn't a new feeling. I remember being a kid in elementary school and crying on the playground. I never knew why, there never was a reason, and I never told anyone. Somehow, as a child, I already was conditioned to believe that crying was a sign of weakness, so I did not tell anyone what I was feeling.

No one knew what I was going through.

I had gotten a recommend from my bishop months prior to the age of seventeen that would allow me to get my patriarchal blessing. And at the push of my parents, I made an appointment to go. I was at a terrible time in my life and my depression was at its worst. I was lost, broken, and felt that there would never be any hope, and light left in my life. My soul was slowly dying and I had no way of stopping it.

No one knew what I was going through.

And yet, there I sat with a priesthood leader's hands on my head and I listened to him give me a blessing. A blessing with words of advice that no one should have known. I had never told a single soul what I was going through. The only one capable of knowing was my Father in Heaven. My prayers for help had been heard and I was getting an answer.

My testimony is that God hears us and knows us.

I wish that after an experience like that I could say I've never fallen away. But depression is a disease that distorts the mind. It makes me believe that I am useless, that my life will never amount to anything, that I am ugly, fat, that I have no friends, that no one loves me, that I will never be happy again. Depression distorts my thinking. Depression has often made me believe that my Father in Heaven does not love me. That the pain I feel, that the terrible things that happen in my life, are because I am unloved.

This is not true.

Depression is a product of Satan. He is the one who distorts my thinking and makes me think the way I do. I am in a war against Satan and his games and unfortunately, I have lost many battles. My testimony of the gospel of Christ is not strong. Never has been. But I have never given up.

Because God knows me and listens to me.

He knows that I am struggling, that each of us has struggles and hard times. He hears us when we pray to Him. He has a plan for each of us. It is up to us to trust His plan, to trust in Him to guide us where we need to go. It's hard to hear Him sometimes, or all the time, but we can never give up on Him, because He will never, EVER, give up on us.

He loves each and every one of us.

I can't guarantee I won't fall away again. Being a member of the church is the absolute hardest commitment for me and I have to consciously think about it every day. Some people make it look so easy. For me, it never has been. But I know what he has done for me in the past, and I can never deny it. And by always remembering that I have always found my way back.

A testimony is like a plant.

It takes constant work to nourish and maintain. Plants need sunlight, water, and good soil. Testimonies need study, prayer, and an open heart. Keeping a testimony strong takes effort. If your testimony begins to fade, you can always get it back. Some people have bigger testimony plants than others, some people only have the seed, but in the eyes of God, it doesn't matter. Because if we have something, He will help us. He is the ultimate gardener, and He will show us what to do.

My testimony is only a seed.

I hurt all the time. I am constantly fighting. My life is a struggle and being a member of the Church is a commitment I sometimes cannot find possible. But my Father in Heaven makes up the difference and shows me the right way. My testimony is only a seed, but it's growing, it has potential. And that is all that is truly important.

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

And I know that it is true.

_________________________________________________________

If any of my readers are curious about the LDS church, Mormon.org is a great resource to learn about what we believe, and find people in your area to teach you more. I am happy to send a Book of Mormon to any of my blog readers who want one. Email me at thedancingcowblogger@gmail.com if you are interested. 

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! 

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