Missing Ghosts

Their soft hand strokes your cheek and you can feel their lips on your shoulder, as you read your favourite book and snuggle on the couch. It’s pouring rain outside, and they take your hand, lift you off your comfortable position, and twirl you around the living room.  You move to the music of the wind, and the beats of the raindrops. 

Your heart is filled with warmth. You close your eyes as you enjoy the moment. But, as soon as you open your eyes once again, the hand that was holding you is no longer there. Every inch of your skin that was touched by those lips has forgotten the sensation. And, when you look up to the face you knew so well, the features that you memorized, you realize that it disappeared into thin air.

With the raindrops in the background, you are standing all alone in the middle of a dark room, listening to the thunder that rumbles your heart and shatters it into pieces, being accompanied by nothing more than a ghost. 

This ghost, that haunts you in your sleep, and follows you as you try to carry on with your day, is nothing but trouble. All it does is feed off your sadness, the tears, and the fears that you have build up over the past few years. It is the epitome of the person you wanted to be with, the person you thought wanted to be with you, too. It is a combination of all the hands that have held your heart before dropping it on the cold, hard ground. It is a mix of all the promises they made, but never kept. The ghost crawls after you, reminding you it is there when you forget about it. 

The ghost may not be visible, but you can still smell its scent as it wraps around you. You can hear its laugh as you make a joke that only it would understand. You begin to get comfortable around the ghost. It becomes your home, your shelter, your comfort, and your place of refuge. 

It becomes the only thing that ever truly stayed. 

And, that is what it’s like to miss a ghost.

Pen down. 

 

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“It’s not you, it’s me.”

Do you really want a relationship?

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If You Need a Sign That It Is Time to Break Up, This Is It.

Let me tell you something that you don’t want to hear:

If you are with someone because you love them, but in the back of your head you are always thinking “why am I with him/her?”, it is time to break up. 

If you spend more time complaining to your friends about your S/O than telling them about the cute things they did, it is time to break up.

If you genuinely feel like you love the person but do not LIKE them as a person, it is time to break up.

If you see other people and think “I wish my S/O was like them”, it is time to break up.

If you feel like you are not completely happy in this relationship, it is time to break up.

I am not an old 80 year old woman with 60 years of dating experience. I am young, and I am restless, and I am absolutely tired of seeing other people staying in a relationship just for the sake of being with someone.

Because, let me tell you, I was once of those people who stayed. I found every excuse in the book not to break up. Until, I realized one day, that the more excuses I tried to find, the more reasonable it was to break up. 

You see, love is not easy. Love does not come easy. No relationship is perfect. It comes with hard work and there will be arguments. There will be ups and downs and times of boring stability. However, when love is pure and real, that is when it is worth it to stick around.

However, that is not the most common case. From what I have heard from listening to people and their issues, and thinking back to my ex boyfriends, relationships are usually not like this. They are the epitome of egotistical behaviour, emotional abuse, swearing, and honestly, a huge lack of love. And the truth is, most of the time, people do not even know what they mean when they say they are in love.

Love is supposed to be a self-less feeling. It is wanting to see the other person happy, whether it is with them or not. It is not thinking twice before taking care of them when they are sick. It is reciprocating actions. It is doing things you don’t want to do, but doing them anyway because you know it will make your S/O happy (like picking them up from work, or watching their favourite movie that you hate).

If you are letting someone not love you fully, they do not deserve you.

Relationships do not have any space for half-assed love. It is either you both love each other fully, or nothing at all. And, if there is nothing, there is no relationship. 

Now, I know what you are thinking in the back of your head.

He/she have (insert good qualities). They have their good moments. They were incredible at the beginning and now it is only a phase. We will make it through.

Honey, as much as I wish you both the best, and I am always trying to see the optimistic side of things, if you feel yourself trying to find the good in him/her, it is not working out. 

I spent about 3 months of my last relationship trying to fix things. I kept thinking that if I just worked hard, showed more love, put in more effort, he would get a clue and start reciprocating. I believed that because I thought he was a good person (not saying he isn’t, but it was not enough to make it work). I kept saying that it was working so well at the beginning that it was not possible that things could go downhill. Yet, the more I stayed, the more I realized the uphill road was never coming. 

You deserve happiness. You deserve to feel loved with a whole heart and to be cared for. You deserve to have someone who will think five times before they do something to ensure it will not affect you negatively. 

And, there is someone out there that deserves to have someone like you, who will do the same for him/her. 

But, that should not be your goal.

Staying in this relationship for the sake of having someone to love is the worst thing you can do. Yet, getting out of a relationship to find someone new to love is even worse. 

Think of leaving a relationship like leaving a country you travelled to go back home. Yes, you already know how home is like, and who is at home. You already know that it can get boring at times, and sometimes lonely. However, just because you are at home does not mean you can’t explore the area around you.

You don’t need another person to make you whole. You can make yourself whole, on your own. I know it is something hard to wrap your head around. I know it gets lonely, but overtime, you will realize solitude comes with learning the art of self love. Having time for yourself to grow as a person for  your own sake will benefit you more in the long run than chasing after people who do not deserve your time. 

If you are avoiding a break up, merely because you do not want to spend time getting over this break up, you are hurting yourself even more.

Break ups are hard and they hurt. They consume you and they will make you feel things that you have never felt before. It may take a month to recover, or it may take a year. I am not saying it will be easy, but it will surely be worth it.

After my last break up, and probably the hardest one I went through, it took me over a year to finally recover. Yet, when I did, I was stronger than ever. It was like being reborn. That year, I learned so much about myself, my abilities, my motivation, that I have never known before. Yes, some days were full of dark clouds and heavy rain. But, on other days, I felt the sun’s warmth on my skin and the pleasant scent of the spring breeze. 

The way you let a break up affect you is your choice. If you decide to make it your motivation, it can make you better, even if it is not always easy. If you decide to let it break you, it will.

Ultimately, what you do is up to you. You have the power in your hands.

Lastly, don’t stay because you think you are too hard to love.

You do not just wake up one day and decide you are a person that is too hard to love. It takes a certain someone to mold that idea in your heart. Whether it was your current S/O, a family member, or another person in your life, someone once made you feel like loving you is challenging. 

So, you stay in this relationship that obviously is not benefitting you. You do not leave, no matter how much they hurt you or make you feel worthless. You stay because you think no one will ever love you, and this is the type of love you will ever going to get. 

And, it is not. You are going to be loved again. You are going to find love again. Maybe not tomorrow, and maybe not in a year. But, someone one day will love you the way you should be loved.

Don’t settle for less. Don’t let them hurt you and destroy your love for yourself. Don’t let them make you think that this is all you can get. 

I am going to leave you off with a series of questions that I kept thinking before making my huge decision to break up with someone:

When you think about the person you are with, how do you truly feel? Do you feel fear? Do you feel warm? Do you truly look at them with love? Or is part of you telling you that all of this is temporary? Does that person truly benefit who you are? Do they make you a better person? Are you giving more than they are? 

And finally, the question that gave me the answer for what my final decision had to be: If I took away all the excuses and all my fears, did I truly want to stay?

I’ll let you answer that.

Pen Down

Why you should get your heart broken

I am not a doctor, but if heartbreak were a vaccine, I would recommend you to get it. I do not want to sound cynical, but to be completely honest, heartbreaks suck… but they are also amazing.

And this is coming from a girl who labels herself as a hopeless romantic. 

I grew up believing that love is the most magical thing in the world. With the wonders of Cinderella and Snow White, I thought that I, too, will be swept off my feet some day soon and be saved from the horrors of the world.

So, when guys I dated would tell me that one day, I will be their wife and the mother of their children, I thought “Great. My life is solved.” I would put my commitment to them. Be the most loyal girlfriend a boy could ask for, make them lunches for work and bring them hot chocolate to their rehearsals. I would brush away the things they did that hurt me because I thought “they love me. They care for me. Why would they hurt me on purpose?”

Until one day, they decided that while they see me in their future, I am not their priority. They left me in an empty subway station. They made me feel worthless.

And that is when I got heart broken. That is when I went through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance.

I denied my heart break for a few months, telling myself that I was fine. That I was going to find someone new soon and quick. That I was not hurt. That my ex boyfriend was a bad person who did not care about me and he will miss me one day. 

I felt empowered, but for the wrong reasons. I thought I was incredible for enduring the relationships I went through. That I was a survivor. 

I was denying the fact that inside, I wasn’t a survivor, because truly, I was not surviving this heartbreak.

By the winter, I began to be angry. I tweeted angrily about my ex-boyfriend, thinking it would be ok. Thinking that I was right. Until, he reached out and pointed out that I was being petty. 

By late winter, I started to go through depression. While I thought that I was getting over my heartbreak quickly, I truly missed the person I used to be when I was with him. I began to bargain, telling myself that if I had just tried harder, been less uptight, been more loving, it would have all worked out. 

I thought it was my fault that he broke up with me and that I was left in the subway station, crying and alone, wishing someone was there to help me.

So, by the end of spring, when he reached out and asked me for another chance, I gave it to him. I thought I deserved another chance. And, it was good. He was loving. He was sweet, until I started to see his old side come back.

Still, there was that odour of bargaining lingering in the room. There was my heart telling me that I was wrong and that he may love me, but he still hurt me. 

I loved him so much, but love is not always enough. 

He loved me in his own way, a way that exists in his world. That world was a place I never could enter. He lived in a jungle, and I lived in a fantastical realm. During this whole year of getting over him, I thought I should become a panther. But, I was born to be a dragon. 

And that is when I accepted the fact that I was truly heartbroken. Sometimes, you don’t have to be with someone to truly love them. Sometimes, you have to let them go. Let them live in their world, because they would not survive in yours, and you would not survive in theirs. 

At that moment, my heartbreak, as dark as it is often perceived by everyone around us, became the lighthouse of my life. It became my liberty. It was the hand that helped me in the subway station, with my puffy eyes and smudged mascara, and the mouth that told me to go live my life. 

And now, thanks to my ex-boyfriend, and the love that I learned to give to him, the chances that we took, and the heartbreak that I accepted, I became the person I have always wanted to be. It was the shattered glass that showed me a complete reflection of who I am.

A hopeless romantic and a girl that will live her dreams.

Workout Wednesday: Build your wings, learn to fly

             I used to think working on my back is useless. How is a lat pulldown going to help me when all I need is a flat stomach and a lifted butt?          … Continue reading

Flow With It Friday: Milk.

          Milk is delicious. I have been an avid milk drinker since the early milk drinking days. I have drank soy milk, almond milk, cow milk, so you can say milk drinking is one of my specialties. In fact, as a kid, I loved milk so much, that I even cried about it. 

          When I was about eight years old, I came home with my brother and opened the fridge, and accidentally bumped over the milk carton. Everything spilled onto the floor. At that moment, I saw my life flash before my eyes. All. The. Milk. Was. On. The. Floor. 

          I was certain that I was going to get grounded when my parents would come home. So, being scared of my consequences, I began to cry. You had to see me. I bawled like a little baby. My brother, who was there right when it happened, began to calm me down and tell me everything will be okay. After all, according to his “wise” 10 year old words, I shouldn’t cry over spilled milk. 

          Of course, being the 8 year old who didn’t listen to my brother, I kept on crying until my mom came home and I told her what happened. She simply smiled at me and immediately called my dad to tell him to get new milk on the way home. 

That is when I realized… it’s just milk. 

          Most of us have learned that lesson at a certain point of time. Our parents always would say that we should not cry about spilled milk. That spilled milk metaphor was translated in our heads to situations that had to do with falling off our bikes and scraping our knee, or when we did not make it onto the school’s basketball team. “It’s just milk,” you would think. Oftentimes, we seem to forget that the milk in our lives is not just a small bruise, but it is also the things that pressure us most in life.

          As university students, we notice our anxiety levels increasing more than they ever have in our lives. Our next step is dramatically unknown. We are constantly asked where we see ourselves in five years. We let these pressures of trying to build our future push us to the edge, deter our happiness, and distract us from the important things in life. We get angry, upset, embarrassed, and many times, we end up crying. It’s like we forget that it is just milk. 

          You see, milk is just a substance. Yes, it is great. Yes, it is good for your bones. Yes, it goes great with cereal. But, milk will not change your life. If you stop drinking milk, it will not make you any less happier. You can probably eat better things with higher amounts of calcium. So, crying over milk is unnecessary. It happened. It sucks. However, instead of sitting on the floor and crying over the fact that the milk was spilled, get a paper towel, clean up the mess that you made, and go buy a new bag of milk. 

          Similarly, the grades we get are just grades. The jobs we get rejected from are just jobs. It hurts and it’s one of the worst feelings in the world to not get what we deserve. Yet, we cannot let those points of failure stop us from cleaning up the mess and buying that new bag of milk. Pick yourself up. Keep on trying. Make a change. Never let that spilled milk bring you down. 

          Today, I came home from a long hard week, filled with many failures. I opened the fridge, and noticed that my parents pushed the bags of milk so firmly into the refrigerator, that one of the bags popped and the milk was dripping all over the fridge. 

          Instead of crying, or getting angry at my parents, I decided to let it go. I took a breath, cleaned the milk that spilled, took the leftover milk that was still in the bag, and poured myself a delicious cup of milk.

Pen down. 

Workout Wednesday: The Steps To Loving Yourself

          My favourite quote of all time goes something like this: “If I asked you to name all the things you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?”         … Continue reading

Flow With It Friday: Happiness

            I was not sure if I should write this post, but I think it is something that a lot of people I love and care about need to read. Happiness.         … Continue reading

Workout Wednesday: The Things You Should Know Before You Start Lifting

              The first time you start lifting is like a horror story. You enter the new world of the gym, full of mysterious creatures who make weird noises as they move a huge weight with their bodies. You have no idea where to go first, or if you are doing anything right. You feel like all the eyes are on you. The mysterious creatures are staring at you, waiting for you to mess up. The trainers are even more excited to prey on the beginners, who will become the laughing stock during their protein shake break. The experienced girls with the rock hard abs are judging you for being new. Before you know it, you trip over one of the dumbbells and fall face first onto the floor.

The first time you enter the gym, you may feel vulnerable. Without a doubt, I know I was. 

              I was terrified. I had only been doing HIIT workouts at home with 20 pound dumbells. I didn’t know how to do a bench press, or how to use the leg press machine. I had no idea how to plan an effective workout, or how many breaks I should take. 

I had no clue. I was lost. All I ever felt at the gym was that I was being judged. 

              The sad part is that I am not the only one. So many people quit working out because of their fear of being judged. They hide it with the idea that  they don’t like to work out, or they are not motivated. Although those are valid reasons to not want to work out, they are also excuses for many. I remember when I had just started going to the gym, I would go less often since every time I was there, I felt that people were laughing behind my back.

              Yet, being a person who likes to overcome challenges and prove others wrong, I kept on going. A year later, I have learned to love the gym, accept mistakes, and understand the fact that no matter what, I will always be judged. So, for all of my fellow readers who are either thinking about starting to lift,  have just begun, or just need  a motivation boost, I would like to give you a few insights of what I have learned in the past year. 

1. Don’t be afraid to be judged.

              I am starting with this, because as you have noticed, one of the biggest things that I believe affects our ability to put all our effort and motivation into our workout is the fear of being judged. 

Let me spill some truth to you. You are probably being judged right now. 

              Now, don’t start feeling anxious. You need to understand that no matter when, and no matter where, people are going to judge you. This relates to everything you do in life. People are going to judge your hair, and your legs, and your belly, and your speech, and your opinions, and on and on and on. People judge. Just like you, my friend, judge everyone. We do it without thinking. Even when we think positively of someone, we judge them. The truth is, I still feel that I am judged when I am going to the gym. Every. Single. Time.

How do  I overcome it?

              It is simple. I just let the judgment fuel my motivation. When I go anywhere, whether it is the gym, school, the mall, or a party, I recognize that I will be judged on everything I do. I use that energy from people and convert it into something that will enhance my performance. I will lift harder, work harder, shop harder (if only I had the money), and dance harder. Not to impress others, but to make myself happy, because I know that I will not let other people’s thoughts affect what I do. 

              When you go to the gym, you need to recognize that EVERYONE started at the same place as you did. They all were weaker at a certain point. They all had to learn how to use equipment at a certain point. They were all you at a certain point. The truth is, most people at the gym don’t even judge others for working out. Instead, they silently applaud the fact that they are trying to make a healthy change to their lifestyle.

2. Fitness is not just about looking good.

              I get it. You want to have a Kim Kardashian butt, an iron chest, six pack abs, and wings on your back. As do I. I won’t lie. Yet, I have come to understand that fitness is not just about looking good. It is about feeling good, and being strong. 

              I have been working out intensely for a year, and eating healthy at least 80% of the week. People know me as the gym fanatic. Yet, I do not have six pack, and my chest press is still in progress towards my goal. Instead, what I have acquired over the year is the ability to feel good in my body and in my mind.

              I am proud of what I am capable of. I am proud of the fact that I can lift more than I have ever thought I could. I have grown to love my curves and my fat that just won’t go away. I have learned to appreciate my happy weight: the weight in which I am when I am not restricting myself. I enjoy the fact that I can choose what my body does, and how I think about myself. I even take delight in the small things, like being able to open a stubborn jar without anyone’s help.

              Fitness is about learning about being happy with the strength that is within you. Stop focusing on the weight, or on the measurements. With hard work at the gym and in the kitchen, you will see progress. Focus on how you feel about yourself when you wake up in the morning and look at the mirror. Focus on thanking yourself for all the things you have learned and pushed yourself to do. 

3. Your progress will look different from everyone else’s. 

              A huge thing that offset my mental progress was the fact that I was not seeing the results I wanted. I had this mental model in my head that by lifting heavy, doing some cardio, and eating healthy, I will look leaner in my waist and curvier in my hips. When I saw that my hips did get curvier, but my waist actually grew in width, despite the fact that I lost a lot of fat, I became concerned. To add to that, I also realized that while I had strong biceps and triceps, they were not as defined.  I started to question my body, and wondering why I am so incapable of looking fit. 

              However, after measuring myself, I realized that my waist did not grow in size. Instead, my lower back had gained muscle, which is actually something that I have always wanted!  Moreover, even though my biceps are not visibly defined, people have recognized my growth. It just made me realize that my progress is unique. All our bodies are unique. Rather than criticizing it for what it can’t do, we need to start applauding it for what it can. Let it grow, and let it motivate you to make your workout as efficient as it can be. 

4. Don’t be afraid to fall down. 

              Want to know how many times I couldn’t hold a heavy squat and ended up falling backwards? I probably can’t count it on my hand. Everyone-women,men, and others-I have spoken to have admitted to failing like I have at least once in their gym lives. It is completely normal. Your body is not supposed to be able to do everything right away. Sometimes, your body just says “Hell Naw” and crumbles down. 

Don’t let that bring you down.

              If your body is telling you it can’t do it, try again. You can allow yourself to bring the weight down a little bit, if your form is incorrect. You can try again for less reps. Listen to your body. Push yourself to work hard, but do not push yourself over the limit. 

You are here to better yourself, not hurt yourself. 

5. There is no recipe to success.

              I am going to leave with a thought provoking note. As I have mentioned earlier, all our bodies are unique. What works for others will most likely not work for you, and vice versa. I started my fitness journey through bodyspace.com. I found plans on the website and followed them. Over time, I started making my own plans. I would have split days for chest and biceps, back and triceps and shoulders, and legs. They were great, until I hit a plateau and I found them no longer beneficial to my progress. It took me a while to find a plan that I liked, and still I always change it up. Only 10 months after I started to work out have I found a workout program that gives me the results I want and the enjoyment I need. 

              Right now, all my workouts are basically total body workouts. I follow the stronglift 5×5 program, and add in my own exercises at the end. I have also found a way to enjoy cardio. Yet, am I going to always stick to this program? Probably not. My body is always changing, and likewise, so should my programs. 

              There is no right way of working out. There is your way of working out. If you find that you get what you want out of just doing cardio, just doing yoga, mixing different types of activities together, or lifting heavy, then continue doing so. Do what makes you go towards what you see as success. Experiment. Try new things. Do not be shy to ask around. 

              My challenge to you is to find something you enjoy, that gives you a pump of adrenaline and keeps your body and mind working, and do it. I want you to understand that you are in control of your body. You have every right to treat it in any way you wish to, but please, promise me, you will treat it with respect.

Make yourself happy. Lift happy. Breathe happy. 

“Make yourself a priority. At the end of the day, you are your longest commitment.”

-Author Unknown

Pen down. 

 

 

Motivational Monday: Look Up

       The loud chattery voice of the woman on her iPhone fills the atmosphere. She is telling someone about her argument with her friend about some misunderstanding. The music, being playing too loud from the young boy’s earphones, wearing a Canada Goose jacket, booms to the bass. The next stop is announced in a series of muffled words. 

      Bumps on the road push my body up and down, in a sort of entranced danced that only a user of public transporation has grown accustomed to. Buses, subways, or any other form of public transporation gives us, humans, the ability to be reminded of the natural wonder of the daily world. Different people, with varying lives, contrasting dreams, all come together on the way to the same place.

It makes you wonder, where are they all going?

       The bus fills with more people. They are all dressed differently. They all come with different packages. 

      And again, I ask myself, where are they going? Why are they on this bus? What are they going to do? Who are they going to see? Who will they never see again? 

        At the front of the bus is a bald middle aged man with glasses, riding on the bus for his first time. He is on his way to  a garage to pick up his newly repaired beloved car. Standing with a firm grasp on the pole is a grey-hooded man. He looks energized, with his Good Life fitness bag on his shoulder, ready for a productive workout at the gym. A young woman with curly blonde hair sits at the back. Her tired eyes display her burning desire to get home after a long day at work, and cuddle up with her dog on the couch and watch TV. 

       All these lives with different stories. But let me ask you, how often do you notice people? When I sit on public transportation, all I see is people on their phones, virtually blocking themselves from their physical existence, soaking themselves into a technological reality in which the only people we observe are the ones on Instagram. Rarely, do I ever make eye contact with someone. Even more rarely do I ever make a conversation with a complete stranger and get to know them, because everyone is so encompassed by their hungry desire to update themselves about everyone’s life, except the ones around them at that moment. 

     What bothers me about this generation is that we forget to embrace our society. We forget to embrace verbal communication and connection. We forget to embrace spontaneous friendships. 

      I recently returned from vacation, where internet connection was limited to 60 minutes a day, and reception was blocked by my phone’s airplane mode. 

And I loved it.

     I delightfully spent my time people watching, observing behaviour, understanding people, and best of all, fostering friendships with people from all over the world. I was not caged by the world inside my hand. I opened my mind to new perspectives, shared memories, and created unforgettable experiences. 

      Certainly, I am not shaming anyone for being on their phones. I undeniably love being on my phone. Yet, the art of this generation is that we are able to create connections in hundreds of ways. But, the best connection is the connection with your surroundings. It is the connection with the smell of the nearby falafel restaurant, or the sound of angry drivers honking at each other. It is the wind ruffling through the curly blond girl’s hair, sitting across from you on the bus. 

        We take for granted the world around us, when instead, we should be thanking the beautiful diversity of the people who surround us everywhere we go. We should try to learn about people’s stories, not strictly updating our own. My dear Blue Pen Readers, I challenge you to do something this week. The next time you are anywhere alone, whether you are at the mall, the bus, the cafe, or at the library, I challenge you to look up, and notice the world. 

 

Pen Down.