Balance…

Stability, steady, fairness, etc.. I could list the many definitions of balance for you, but i’m sure you all know what balance means. Are you aware of how important it is? Not in the sense of being able to stand yourself up straight. While that is important that is not the balance I am talking about. I’m talking about balance in your life. The balance with ourselves. Lately, I have found myself off balance. My actions contradicting my feelings, my wants and my needs.

I may have bit off more than I can chew. 15 credit hours, 2 jobs, sleep and any form of a social life…it’s a lot. I am constantly on the go. I like being busy, but I’m beginning to feel like I can’t breath. When I stop to breath, let my hair down and relax, I instantly regret it. I don’t have time to relax. I’m now a constant ball of stress. I haven’t been able to find a healthy balance. I enjoy the chaos that comes with my schedule, I can thrive in chaos, but it isn’t healthy. I am trying to find a balance for studying and sleeping. Sleeping is a lost art for me. It has been ever since I had my pacemaker implanted. However, as of late I am barely getting any sleep. I am watching video lectures and reading until 2-3am and dozing off. Only to wake up at 5:30 to get my day started. The amount of coffee I have been consuming is definitely going to make my cardiologist lecture me at my appointment next month. I need to prioritize my time better. I need to find the balance of getting this degree done quickly without sleep deprivation. Without wearing myself out. I suppose I could be writing my research paper instead of this blog, but I have to have a little fun. Right?

When it comes to being off balance it is not just my chaotic schedule and my need to be an overachiever. I am feeling VERY off kilter when it comes to my emotional needs. I have been thoroughly enjoying being single. Finding myself after a failed relationship. Having no one to answer to and being able to do what I want, when I want. There is something invigorating about being alone, but loneliness has started creeping in. That loneliness has pushed me to want to go out more, be constantly busy, to avoid being home alone. That is kind of hard to accomplish when you’re exhausted and have tons of homework. Yet, I keep finding myself out on the weekends attempting to be approachable and not awkward. All this putting myself out there and actually giving someone the time of day has made me realize a lot about myself. When I am actually interested in someone and want things to progress, I become a completely different person. I overthink EVERYTHING. I am quiet and become tactical. I plan out what I am going to say or how I am going to act. I become closed off and hesitant. I am terrified of rejection so I try to avoid any opportunity for it. I am not that person. I am talkative, fly by the seat of my pants, compassionate and typically carefree. So, why can’t I find a balance of being cautious and being myself? Why can’t I stop myself from putting up walls, being silent and unreadable? It makes it worse for myself, I know. Especially because if I don’t hear from them, I am too afraid to reach out. I know it was likely my fault because I wasn’t acting like myself. I beat myself up over it. Now, some guys just suck and your feelings are going to get hurt. Learning to recognize the difference in self sabotage and an asshole is important. I have to find the balance of letting someone in and still remaining cautious. I need to learn to not self sabotage. I need to learn how to keep my feelings and my self worth separate. That way I stop letting myself and others change how I view myself when my feelings get hurt.

Finding balance in every aspect of your life is tough. I strive to be the best version of myself daily. I have days where I’m judgmental more than I am accepting. I try to be the healthiest version of myself while being a sickly person. I try to eat healthier, but get swayed by my sweet tooth. All this Halloween candy does not help. I try to workout regularly, but I already don’t have enough time in the day. I also try to physically be balanced. I have bruises all over my body from my lack of coordination. If I can go one day without falling over, walking into something or not tripping over my own feet…it’ll be a damn miracle.

Is this what life is? Finding balance? Being serious but still trying to be fun. Does one ever accomplish a balanced life? Is there a way for me to balance making money, traveling, taking photos, having all the dogs I want, getting enough sleep, and having someone to share it all with? Is that unattainable? Feeling like what I want is unattainable is a huge reason I am taking a break from social media, this blogging doesn’t count. I found myself constantly comparing myself to my peers and looking at their picture perfect lives. Realizing how much time I spent comparing myself, getting myself feeling down, and making myself so readily available to anyone…it gets you out of balance.

It’s time to reset. I’m getting out of town this weekend. Clearing my head and coming back collected. Spending some quality time with nature and my other favorite Mads, besides myself. Finding my balance again, hopefully. Fingers crossed. Can’t wait to be in Apalachicola for the weekend.

Feeling a little sentimental…

The gem on the left popped up in my memories for today and I couldn’t help but laugh. Why? Well because I realized I took a selfie yesterday making the same face. However these pictures were taken under VERY different circumstances. 3 years ago I was riding in an ambulance trying not to lose my mind because my life was being derailed. Everything changed for me after that ambulance ride.

A device was permanently implanted in my body. The very thing I had been avoiding for years. I had to admit that I alone couldn’t beat my diagnosis. That I wasn’t physically strong enough to be able to get through life without the help of a machine. I was incredibly lucky my heart started to beat in a normal rhythm on its own that day. It terrifies me, still, to realize that I was that close to it just stopping for good. I was alone in that parking lot when my lightheaded fainting spell happened. I had been alone many times before when those happened. I know now the gravity of the those fainting spells and what it now means when I get the symptoms of them. I still live life in constant fear of going into V-tach and getting shocked.

Yet, here I am 3 years later taking a selfie on my best friends phone, for her to find at a later date, with the same goofy face. I have pushed through my whole life changing. Some days I completely forget that I am not quite physically capable as the people around me. Some days my heart reminds me that it’s not normal and I struggle to get through the day. I have days where I am angry because of all the heartache having a serious medical condition causes me. Sometimes I blatantly ignore it. They do say ignorance is bliss. But everyday I get through and it’s because I keep this goofy positive attitude.

I choose to be silly. I choose to be hopeful. I choose to trust that things will happen however they’re supposed to happen. I can’t control everything and I can’t believe Friday will mark 3 years with this hardware in my chest. It seems like yesterday and an eternity ago at the same time.

I’m sure people that know me get tired of hearing about it, but I don’t care. It’s an everyday battle and I’m allowed to be proud of myself for getting through it. I have tried so hard for my heart to not define me. I wanted to find a way to define myself and make my health be a small part of that person. My health is a big part of me and the harder I fight to sweep that aside it comes back hitting harder. I have realized I shouldn’t sweep it aside. I should let it define me and stop looking at it in such a negative light. People constantly tell me how strong I am for everything I’ve gone through. Hearing this makes me feel uncomfortable. Why? Because they haven’t seen my break downs. They haven’t seen the times I sobbed on the bathroom floor, cursing my heart, tired of being sore and sick. They haven’t been in the doctors office when I get bad news and experienced the drive home with me speechless and fighting back tears in front of my mom. You haven’t felt the struggle to not freak out, to not be scared, because everyone around you is trying to do the same. At times it’s exhausting to be strong, to be positive, to smile through it all. I am not always as strong as you all assume. I have felt like giving up on more than one occasion. Especially the days and weeks after that photo on the left was taken.

My pacemaker surgery hurt worse than my open heart surgery I had at 22. Hell sometimes I still get shooting pain in my muscle surrounding my ICD. Not everyone knows the nitty gritty details. Not everyone understands the mental impact it has on a person. I’ve spent hours in therapy sorting my feelings and figuring out how to process. To have people compliment me and tell me how strong I am is weird, because I know how dark the journey has been, but no matter how dark it has been I have found a way to push through. With sarcasm, with being silly, with ignorance and with love. I have never let it keep me down for long and I realize the importance of being able to reflect on that. The importance of being able to communicate the struggle and the victories. To show you guys that throughout it all, the physical and mental anguish, I never completely lost myself. I have still kept my ridiculously charming (Devon and Erin that description is for you 🤣) attitude. And for some reason I still continue taking goofy looking selfies when I should be being serious. I guess somethings never change.

I can’t help but laugh at myself and feel a sense of pride when I look at these photos. How lucky are you for knowing me?! 😂 How lucky am I to still be able to make that goofy face and look ridiculous in selfies? Because I came all too close to not being able to take either one of them. Here’s to just shy of 3 years since surgery #8 and here’s to hoping surgery #9 doesn’t happen anytime soon 🥂.

On a serious note can someone help me find out if there’s a punch card for these? Like, “hey I have had 10 can I get the next one free?” It’s get expensive y’all.

Am I sane? Probably not…

Yesterday as I was driving to Panama City, after work for my class, I was questioning my sanity. Why on earth did I do this to myself? Why am I working full time, taking 5 classes this semester, moving next week and trying to keep myself rested? How did I think this was possible?! While stopped at a red light I picked up my phone and was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I came across this post made by my mother… This post made everything click.

First of all- I was adorable.

B.) My eyebrows have been crazy from day one, apparently.

3.) I am doing this because of my mom.

No, not because she wants me to do it. I am doing it because of the person she has raised me to be. She raised me to be independent, strong, unique, and true to myself.

Karen let me try new things as a child and quit the things I didn’t like. Let me be creative and imaginative without judgement. Supported me with every decision even if she didn’t agree.

Now that I am an adult, although I don’t consider myself one and I won’t until I can properly fold a fitted sheet, she continues to play an active role in my decision making process. She will voice her opinion and let me form my decisions from there. We don’t always see eye to eye. She sometimes does not understand why I do what I do, but she still helps guide me in a positive direction.

As I found myself questioning my sanity I realized why I told myself I could do this. It’s because I can do it. Getting my degree in journalism and actually doing what I enjoy for a living is my main focus. So I signed up for 5 classes because I am determined, I am smart enough and I am going to hold myself accountable. And if all else fails I know that I have my mom and family to be there with support.

I may be pushing myself and sanity to the limit, but I will accomplish this goal. It is something I need to do for me. It is something I want more than anything. I’ll drive to Panama City twice a week, I’ll sacrifice hanging out with friends and I’ll do whatever else I need in order to do this as fast as I can. All the while I’ll know that my mom will look at that picture and always think, “Damn, Madelyn is adorable. No wonder she’s my favorite!” 😂😂😂 Sorry, it’s the truth guys!

In the next few months if you don’t hear from me, please check on me and don’t take it personal. Also if you see me and I’m looking like my sanity has gone out the window, just guide me in the right direction. The right direction will be towards the wine, in case you were wondering.

Am I being passive aggressive? Oh well…

Have you ever wanted to just scream bloody murder? At the top of your lungs? As loud as you can? You have a bunch of pent-up emotion that is starting to boil over and you need an outlet? Well, I am at this point. As I drove home yesterday I could feel it coming. I knew that wall was close and I was going to hit it head on. One little push and BOOM. My push arrived in the form of a text message today. As I sit writing this it is taking everything in me not burst at the seams.

 I have spread myself rather thin lately. Constantly on the go and busy to the point of not being able to completely focus. 90 to nothing all the time. My sleep patterns are so out of whack that my insomnia is in full swing. I watched about 5 hours worth of The Office last night and devoured a whole pint of ice cream. Productive right? (That halo top mint chip though…amazing!) My coworker asked me the other day why I always looked so tired. Well thanks buddy!  Now I know I look like shit. **Insert eye roll and crying face here** I have to STOP letting myself get like to this point. I may have some constant need to please everyone. I know, I can admit it, that is the first step, right? Admitting your problems. I need to learn to say NO! I feel obligated not to let others down, to be available for any social event, to be nice all the time. I am exhausted. I am not nice all the time. I don’t want to be. Over the past few months my need for self growth has strengthened. I’ve worked hard to shake old habits. To say no and stop doing things that don’t benefit my well-being.

I know who I am. I lost myself for a while. I became the girl I hated. The one who changes herself for someone else. Who puts someone (in my case a guy), that isn’t putting you first, before yourself. I wasn’t raised to act like that person. I have a BIG personality. I was raised to be independent. Not to be small in order to convenience someone else. After many forms of rejection throughout the course of my life I changed. Some where along the way I decided it was easier to please everyone than be rejected. Easier to change who I was than to be an inconvenience. Well pardon my french but, FUCK THAT! I am DONE.

I am not doing anything that I don’t want to do any longer. I am not going to apologize for it. I am not going to feel bad if someone doesn’t approve. In the end what matters is my well-being. I have to live with myself everyday. If I want to stay home instead of go out, I won’t let anyone guilt me into leaving the house. If I want to cut my hair off, i’ll do it even if someone likes it longer. If I don’t want to give someone my number or sleep with someone just because they show me attention, I won’t. Not because I am a prude. I am no saint or prude. I wanted to be a nurse, not much about the human body bothers me. I have also legitimately shown my chest to hundreds of people. I don’t have much modesty left at this point. I am not a delicate little girl when it comes to sex and the reality it plays in our everyday lives. However, it’s because I am not some girl who needs attention. Who needs to feel wanted. LADIES, STOP SPREADING YOUR LEGS LIKE BUTTER ON TOAST for the first person who shows you attention. Do you really want attention from someone who looks at you in that light? Someone who will ghost you for not sleeping with them? Or who will ghost you after you’ve slept with them? I can tell you which scenario will make you feel better about yourself in the long run. I can tell you from experience. I have been in both of these situations. Like I said, I am not a prude. However, I have learned that if it does not benefit my well-being then it is not worth my time.

Time is so precious. Why waste it? I have wasted so much time and set myself back. I am now working my ass off to make up for that. No, I do not have my shit together. It is kind of in organized piles. It is slowly getting to where it needs to be but, there is forward movement. Baby steps, right? For example things have gone my way lately, for the most part. Not romantically but at this point I am chalking that up to a loss. I am not even going to deal with a love life currently. I keep finding myself holding my breath. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Why? Why do I, we, feel like things can’t go our way? Life is allowed to go your way. Maybe if I keep saying it I will really believe it. Life is allowed to go my way. The only person responsible for my happiness and my decisions, is me. I am letting life work with me for a change. I am letting go of all the toxicity. I am making moves forward. I am working on a new degree. It is not easy. I will probably get defeated and in those moments I will need someone to bring wine and distract me. I am finally getting my own place after failing in a relationship and running home to my mom. I still sometimes need her to help with the deep wounds. Do we ever really grow out of that need?  I am doing things I want. I am not letting someone’s disapproval get in the way.

I want to experience so much and I have let others tell me no. I have let my health stop me. I have told myself I wasn’t good enough. Well I am good enough. I have a lot to offer, I am smart, and most of all I have a desire to learn, to grow and to try new things. So one of the first things I am doing for myself is taking my happy ass up to New York in December. I have always wanted to go see all the decor during the holiday season. To go to the museums, central park and Rockefeller center. But most of all to EAT everything I want to eat. My plane ticket is booked and I will be in New York City playing tourist with my cousin on December 1st. I am not letting myself get to the point of bursting at the seams anymore. Why, because it’s ridiculous. Also because when I over do it like this, I don’t take care of myself. Case in point…I am about to go to the ER because I am pretty positive I have pneumonia. Eh you live and you learn.

Next time you find yourself wanting to scream or throat punch someone, maybe I am just a little violent, take a step back. Is it good for your well-being to feel this way? NO! So re-analyze what is getting you to this point. Take care of yourself. Make yourself happy. Enjoy your life. Don’t let someone else make you feel bad about yourself. Most of the time it is their insecurities being reflected on to you.

Now I am finally going to respond to that text that pushed me over the edge. I am going to go to the doctor and then I am going to get mashed potatoes. Why? Because that is what I want to do.

Motivation Monday…umm transformation Thursday?

I started writing this at the end of the 8 week challenge I set for myself. I got distracted and never finished it. I did not document as well as I said I was going to but this post will make up for all of that. I posted pictures at my half way point, at the beginning of week 4. After week 4 it was a struggle. I traveled for majority of week 5 and while I was able to work out some, I did not manage to stick to my high protein diet. New Orleans got the best of me with burritos and bengeits. I traveled again during week 7 and my motivation was not as strong as when I started. I was also sick during week 6. My motivation lately has been non existent. I’m not sure why I am in such a funk. I did notice when I was eating better and working out I felt GREAT. My body has changed so much and while someone who doesn’t look at it everyday, you might not notice it, but I can. I am not where I want to be but I am so much closer. Let’s talk about workouts for a minute. GUYS I didn’t really take pure barre seriously before BUT holy cow! It is a GREAT workout for your whole body. I also did a lot of ab and leg workouts at home. Easier things that don’t require resistance bands or weights. Squats, crunches, burpees etc.. Here we are! The left side and the bottom right are the most recent. And my collage from the start and halfway point are included. I need to force myself and find motivation again to get back on track. To feel better. I have started by trying to get food that is prepared and still healthy. After working, working out, and running errands the last thing I’ve wanted to do was cook. I also don’t sleep much, so when I do sleep I take advantage of it. Mornings are tough for me and making breakfast is even harder. I kept seeing ads for The Daily Harvest and another blogger I follow posted about how she decided to give it a try. So I decided let’s do this. Its all organic and it’s superfoods. GUYS I LOVE IT!!!! The smoothies are easy and great. You add whatever liquid you want and blend. The grain bowls, the breakfast bowls and soups ♥️😍! So far the blueberry cocoa smoothie is my favorite. They have desserts you can order too. I definitely will be continuing my orders of it. If you are wanting to eat healthier and have it be easy to prepare, then I recommend this! At least for the breakfast and smoothies. Start your day off right. I have a code, below, you can get a discount with when you make your first order!

https://daily-harvest.com/r/RE-DE522G8

https://www.daily-harvest.com/app/home

Give it a try y’all!

This is why I blog…

My life has been hectic the past few weeks. Between trying to hold myself accountable on this fitness challenge, starting a new job, traveling, and trying to rest. I have been tired and in this sort of lazy funk. I have not even bothered to try to write anything because of this funk. I am forcing myself to get back to being productive and one way is to publish another blog. I feel productive and accomplished when I put myself out there and get responses. Writing is something I thoroughly enjoy.

I have had a lot of people compliment me on my writing and blog since I started. I have also had the opposite response. Under handed comments, snide remarks and judgmental looks during conversations about my blog. I knew this would happen and I was prepared for it. However, I wanted to share with everyone the reason I started this. If it becomes a source of income and a career path for me then that would be amazing. If it doesn’t I will be okay with that too.

I believe that some things in your life should be kept private. Not everything needs to be on social media and be public knowledge. There is a lot I do not share. What I do share might be considered over sharing at times and if so…Sorry! Some people may get tired of my yearly post on the dates of my surgeries or get tired of hearing about my failing health. The one thing my health and this life has taught me is that kind words of encouragement can get you through the hardest challenges. Hearing stories from others about how they have faced similar situations and how they felt during them and their process to make it through has helped me tremendously. It’s inspiring. I know that I want to inspire, make a difference, and help others. Even if it’s one person I do this for in my whole life then I will be okay with that.

A few weeks ago I got a message request on instagram. It was from a girl named Mary who is around my age and has a congenital heart defect. She was needing a pacemaker. She was doing her research but when you research into pacemakers and defibrillators you tend to find results for more of the elderly community. It’s difficult to find information on 20 something’s getting ICDs, implantable cardiac devices. She turned to social media and was typing in hashtags. That is how she found me! I do not set my profile to private and this was one of those reasons why I do not. She came across this post…and then a few others I’ve posted. This post however was an extremely personal post. I made it mainly for myself. It was to help me realize just how far I’ve come and how much I’ve overcome. When posting it I knew it was for me but had hoped one day it would reach someone. Well it did! Mary and I exchanged stories and I answered all of her questions on my experience with getting my ICD. I also had informed her that my Aunt recently had one put in and she is only in her 40s. After we talked and she felt better about what she was facing, I realized I did exactly what I had hoped for when I posted that Instagram. I helped someone. It wasn’t in a big way but it made a difference.

The past few weeks I’ve kept up with Mary on social media and her surgery went great. She is now healing and getting used to life with a pacemaker. It is a bit of an adjustment and certain aspects of your life completely change but you eventually feel normal again. Being able to use my experience to help others is such a rewarding feeling. This is why I blog.

I blog because I want to help others. My blog isn’t always going to be about fitness challenges or trying new things. It is also going to be about those difficult things in life that people have a hard time talking about. It’s about self love, finding yourself, and getting through the hard times. I don’t want to be successful and have nice things from life. I want to make my life mean something by helping others. Putting myself out there and making someone’s life better. Making my life better and making this world a better place. That is why I started this blog. Because it makes me and my soul happy.

Berry protein pancake bites

I’ve been super busy and slacking on keeping you guys up to date on my meal prep! I’m sorry guys!

I’ve made plenty of boiled eggs this week but for my breakfast I made berry protein pancake bites. They’re delicious, probably because I LOVE pancakes and always want them. As you can see I made them late Tuesday night. But here is the recipe:

I use Kodiak power cakes pancake mix.

One cup of pancake mix

One cup of fair life non fat milk

One egg

A handful of blueberries

And two strawberries sliced

I mixed it all together and put it in a muffin tin with muffin liners. I baked them at 350 for 15minutes!

You can dip these bad boys in syrup if you like or eat them plain 🥞 🙂

They’re a great on the go source of protein for breakfast or a snack!