The Semicolon – “Where the author could’ve ended the sentence but decided to keep going. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”
I know I’m not the only one thinking about ending the sentence. I’ve thought, if only I could be where Cooper is…
I admit this, because for some people, I know it’s not as easy to choose to keep the sentence going. I know it’s physically and mentally the hardest decision you make in that moment. But I want to remind you why continuing the sentence is worth it.
It all won’t be okay for awhile. It will hurt and you will feel worthless, you will feel like you have fallen down the rabbit hole of destruction as things get worse and worse, everything falling OUT of place instead of into place. But thanks to my favorite biomechanics teacher, I know that eventually because of gravity, all things fall. Everything eventually lands. You my friend, will land. Whether it be gracefully or flat on your face (that’s how I will land haha!). You. WILL. Land.
You will fall, land, and then when you least expect it, you will rise. You will rise up again. You will see small hope start to glimmer around you like little stars in the night sky. You will start to hear the voices of the people who believe in you, who are rooting for you and your dreams. And most importantly, you’ll start to hear your inner voice again, the one who keeps those dreams alive.
Lately, I’ve been holding onto something deep within me that tells me this will not be my forever. The sadness, the hurt, the grief, the pain, the depression. It’s just part of me falling. I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and I am just waiting to land. Maybe you’re waiting to land too. If that’s you, don’t end the sentence… wait for the semicolon. The semicolon is the point of the story where you land; you’re done falling, but you’re not quite finished. You’re getting ready to rise again.
Since the day Cooper was diagnosed with cancer I knew it was time to buckle up my boots and be strong. Not just strong for me, but for my family, friends, Cooper’s friends, and any one who knew him and was distraught by the news.
This obsession with being strong for everyone else turned into an obsession of worrying about every person I hold close to my heart, which is pretty much anyone who I get to know.
The obsession then turned into constant worry, stress, and pain as I felt for not only myself but for everyone around me. Cooper passing away was no different, I had my moments and then got back to work. “You just have to take care of everyone”, “If everyone around you is okay, you’ll be okay”, “Did you make sure to texted so-and-so about how much you love them?”. And the vicious cycle of never taking care of myself began.
During Coopers treatment I was diagnosed with a host of mental illness disorders. The list only grew as Cooper passed away and I ran for my life during the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. I went to therapy for years, sometimes 2-3x a week. I did everything possible to become of healthy body AND mind. But as most things do it eventually caught up to me. After the Route 91 shooting my level of trauma had gotten so high I couldn’t function. With the help of an amazing medical team I made the decision to start medications that would help ease the anxiety, allowing me to focus and get through finishing my degree. I remember the first time I took medication, what once would have taken me hours to finish, was done in 15 minutes. What once was panic, was now peace.
I continued with therapy and medication and made it to graduation day! I have never been more proud of myself than I was on that day. That same year I made the massive decision to move across the country, after never living away from my family or my childhood home. In a little over 48 hours I had packed up my whole life and became a Florida resident. I remember every step of going to the airport the day I left Las Vegas for Naples. The freedom! All I could think about was, “I am finally going to figure out who I am, what I want, and chase every damn dream I have. I’m leaving these traumas behind to focus on a better me.”
But thats the unfortunate thing about trauma, it doesn’t stay in one place. Trauma LOVES to leak into other trauma. It LOVES to trigger you right when you think you have it all together.
So I moved to Naples. Since then, I’ve worked what feels like 80,000 different jobs. Met new people, which I never thought I would be able to do! I got to one of the highest points in my mental health life, I was on top of the world and crushing it! Or so I thought. See, I was doing EVERYTHING right. I was working out, listening to podcasts, reading self-help books, being grateful, journaling like nobody’s business, eating (relatively) healthy, spending time in my own headspace, spending time with people who fill my cup up. I was doing it ALL. But I was lying. I just kept telling myself if you keep doing all the right things, if you find NEW people to care and love for, you won’t have to face your OWN traumas. Meanwhile, my body was physically screaming for help. I had been in the hospital twice, suffering severe boils. I had different infections almost every week. Yet I was still pushing myself to do more, be more.
Well a couple weeks ago, my body met up with my mind. They decided no longer was I going to be able to push myself as hard as I once did.
So the panic set back in. The anxiety came full force. The depression like a 20ft wave. It hit me like a ton of bricks…you are not doing enough…you are not being enough…you don’t know what you’re doing…who are you to think you can lead people when you can’t even take care of yourself…you are worthless…and my least favorite, you. can. not. do. it.
I pushed through a beautiful vacation with my family, celebrating so many amazing accomplishments. And then, like the clock striking midnight, my body was done fighting. I clearly heard her say, “It’s over.” I went into full blown panic and suffered my first real panic attack in a year and a half. I just remember thinking to myself, “UGH! See Kassidy, you had it all together you were doing FINE and now look at you sitting helpless on the airport floor! This is why you will be NOTHING!”. All this coming from someone who had spent so much time working on her self talk to ease the anxiety, yet here we are.
Since then, I’ve had numerous panic attacks, struggled to get into the right doctors, fought to get out of bed, and cried more tears than I can count. I’m hurt, physically and mentally. I’m exhausted, physically and mentally. Yet somehow, in the midst of all the panic, the thing I worry about most? Is other people. How they are doing, if they are okay, what’s going on in THEIR lives.
Friends, it’s not always healthy to care for other people. When it becomes an obsession, I would say there is a problem. When you become so obsessed with helping in other peoples lives, I would say you need to fix your own.
I need to fix my own.
The funny thing is, I’ve given this advice to a majority of my girlfriends. They come to me struggling, I can see it in their eyes, and I tell them something along the lines of…”Girlfriend, you cannot fill others cups when yours is empty.” I am actually laughing as I type this because of the irony. My cup is so empty. It’s not only empty, It’s been shattered. There is no cup left.
I have to rebuild my cup and find some life to pour into it.
I have struggled with this post. Mostly because I do my very best to keep my blog and social media platforms as sunny as they can be. But I never want anyone to think the sun is always shining for me. I never want to give the illusion that my clouds are not dark, because they are and have been for some time now. I took a bit of a social media break to clear my head. Then my blog had been down and the second it was back up I started typing, I felt the biggest relief come over me. It felt like one giant rock was lifted. And I realized that this is exactly where I need to be, writing, sharing my story.
This blog, these words, are not only for you. These words are for me. Writing is healing – I healed so much when I started journaling about Cooper and then created this blog. The purpose of this, is one, to let you know I’m struggling. To be transparent. And to two, remind everyone who is reading this that you are doing your absolute best. You are trying. You are giving it all you have, even if its only Netflix and your bed today. It’s okay, to not be okay. I’m not okay.
But I am resilient, so I will not be okay for a little bit. I will struggle, hurt, and feel all the pain and trauma this life has thrown at me so far. But then one day, hopefully soon, I will remember the bad ass I actually am. I will remember all the adversity I’ve overcome. I will remember who I am becoming.
And she will be beautiful and she will also be resilient, happy, sad, joyful, funny, depressed, smart, anxious, nervous, stunning, loved, scared, caring, hurt, and radiant just like the sun.
She will be all those things and then some, wrapped up into an extraordinary girl named Kassidy.
“Sometimes the happiest people are the saddest” – Robin Williams
We’re wasting our lives believing the lie that we are not worthy of the space that we take up.
That we are not enough for that space. Or for the other people in that space.
It’s not your fault that you believe these things. But it is your responsibility to challenge those lies with the truth. We are what we believe and we are what we tell ourselves. If you choose to believe the lies, then you will believe you’re not worth space. But if you choose to change your mindset, to tell yourself that you are MORE than enough, thats where the change happens.
My favorite fitness quote states, “If you do not challenge yourself, you will not change yourself.” Although I use it to inspire my Pilates clients, it applies here too. If you do not challenge those thoughts then you CANNOT change those thoughts.
From personal experience I know that this is the hardest work you will ever do, I could even argue that changing your mindset is harder than changing your physical body in the gym. In the gym you can use resources like a trainer or a friend to keep you accountable. The only one to keep your brain and thoughts accountable is Y O U.
Friends, you owe it to yourself to change your mindset. To be able to hear the truth and not lies. You are worth more than the lies you are LETTING yourself believe and its time to take some control.
All you have to do is start small. Below I have listed some small activities that have helped me change my mindset:
STICKY NOTES! Ask anyone, they will tell you I’m a sticky note girl. Every day write something positive about yourself, an affirmation, or a goal you will accomplish and stick the sticky note on your mirror or wall. You want to put it somewhere you will be able to see every day.
JOURNALING! I started journaling after a few of the podcaster’s I listened to gave me some prompts. It’s really helped me in moments of stress. I keep the journal in my purse and if I am having negative thoughts I immediately write them down and re-read them, once I do that I realize how irrational most of the thoughts/fears are and I begin to change how I am viewing the situation.
LIVING BY A MANTRA! There are a couple different ways to use a mantra. One is by asking yourself a question every day, I personally ask myself “What can I get excited or enthusiastic about today?” The second way is by having a quote or a verse that you live by, something that grounds you. The last way I have found that helps me change my mindset is based off something I learned from Brendon Burchard, author of the book “High Performance Habits“. Brendon recommends choosing three words to focus on to keep you close to your goals. You choose your three words and then you set three alarms in your phone titling each with one of your words for the year. Every day they go off to remind you where you want to be. The alarms are annoying, but I never forget why I am doing what I am doing.
Change doesn’t happen over night. You must continue to challenge yourself before you find what works for you. And every day is not going to be perfect, there will be days where your self talk is mean and you believe every lie you hear. But the goal is that over time your brain doesn’t automatically go to the lies, it sifts around and finds the TRUTH.
Did you know that half of the problems you are currently facing can be solved by believing in yourself? By refusing to believe the lies other people have poisoned your mind with? By challenging every single “no” you’ve received and choosing to see a different perspective?
People don’t get to determine YOUR happiness or what you can or cannot do. Because, girlfriend, you can do whatever the hell you want to do. You can be whoever the hell you want to be. And you don’t have to question one single thing you do, as long as you believe in YOU.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really sick and tired of the mean girl inside me that says I can’t accomplish greatness. I recently learned from @msrachelhollis that my mean girl is just a version of some other person who told me “no” or doubted me. Regardless of who put that doubt inside my heart, I’ve learned that she can be quieted. I can quiet her by challenging all the doubts she gives me. By proving to her that I am more than capable of accomplishing all of the dreams I have for my life.
At the end of the day, all we have is ourselves. No one is going to believe in you, in your dreams, as much as you can. And no one will believe you can do something until YOU believe it first.
Girlfriend, don’t try to prove the world wrong, prove your mean girl wrong. Show her that you can accomplish EVERYTHING she says you can’t.
Sometimes things just don’t add up, you think you have it all figured out until suddenly you just don’t. Suddenly you feel lost, that life is slipping through your fingers.
I struggle with feeling guilty on bad days. Because I have been through the WORST days imaginable, like holding my brothers hand as he died, I feel guilty for FEELING the bad day. In reality, the day he died sucked and yesterday also sucked. There is no way to weigh one day more than the other because at the end of it all I struggled on both days. I do believe bad days happen for a reason, their breeding better days. They are making you stronger and willing you into the human you’re meant to become. But that doesn’t make them suck any less.
I talked on my Thursday Thoughts Live (@sassandkass) this past week about embracing the suck. Often times we try to either solve the suck or ignore it. But what if we just sat in the suck? What if we just allowed ourselves to embrace the things that are stressing us out and causing us to have a bad day? If we choose to reflect on life, the good, the bad, the ugly, we may learn that the bad days are building better days and the good days are building greater days.