what makes you smile?

The other week I was asked, ““What is one small simple thing that makes you smile?” This question was a lot easier to answer than I thought I was going to be. Suddenly I had a running list in my mind of all the little sweet moments in life that warm my heart.

-When you see dogs stick their heads out the windows of cars while driving and their ears flop in the wind, their tongue sticks out, and they looks so pure, so happy.

-Those nostalgic commercials on TV you see for your childhood favorites like Jif peanut butter or Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

-Those nights where you are with great people and you completely lose track of time because you are so absorbed into the moment. You know that ones-they cause your face to hurt because it has been hours upon hours and you have yet to stop smiling. The times when you are sitting there with whoever makes you happiest realizing that you literally aren’t doing anything yet you remain in that serene state, always smiling.


When I was thinking of these things it reminded me that despite the hardships and troubled past I have lived, these little things are still able to bring me joy.

My favorite is when I see those who I know have struggled and been through the most in their lives that come out with the biggest smiles. Somehow, they show up at the end of the day not being defined by despair or torment. They show up with a smile that screams triumph and resilience.

They live their lives on a different viewpoint than the average Joe; they see things in a different light. A brighter light.

These kinds of souls are incredible if you think about it. Despite being torn down, they’ve built themselves back up. They have somehow fought through the demons in order to reach that light at the end of the tunnel.  They understand fearful and ugly moments you may go through in life because they have been there themselves. Several times. And have gotten through every. single. time. They sense the rainbow coming in after a rainstorm. They will dance in the rain rather than be fearful of getting wet.

These people will introduce you to a world you never knew existed because you never saw it the way they’ve seen it. Grasping onto every little thing that brings them happiness like they’ll never have it again. Because, in reality, that’s how it feels for them sometimes.

And because of this, they do not take things for granted. They hold power in life’s blissful moments.


“It’s amazing seeing you smile so brightly when just a few months ago you thought you would never see that light again. When you thought everything was ultimately hopeless, yet here you are, living in the moment and not taking these small experiences for granted. The freedom and magic you feel shows through these simple smiles in these simple moments. It’s truly incredible.” June 2nd, 2017. Told to me by a friend who had seen me in the depths of my despair to hearing my nonsense stories in the middle of the night when I was full of euphoria.

Hearing that made me think that maybe I, too, am one of these types of souls. Different from the average Joe. A tour guide of this new, blissful word. One to dance in the rain.  One to stick her head out the window of the car with a dog whose ears are flapping in the wind and tongue sticking out. One to not let my battles define who I am or how I live.

If I had to give you one piece of advice, it would be to keep these kinds of people close. They are not broken, let me tell you. Broken is too clear-cut. They are still here. Not broken, but rather some of the strongest, bravest, most resilient, people out there.

 

xoxo, maddy

find your happy, find your tribe

April 18th, 2017

“It’s not often you find someone looking as happy as you look right now while grocery shopping. I appreciate it. Your smile is contagious.”


Lately, I’ve been wrapped up in this whirlpool of fantasies.

The kind of fantasy where time slows down yet your mind is racing, darting around like a hummingbird. But then, at the same time, your entire body remains completely calm and serene. It’s the most charming type of dreaming. Here I am, smiling like a fool in the grocery store trying to pick up some sweet potatoes. Taking risks for an extra dose of joy. Exploring life for the sole purpose of fulfillment. Authentic, heart pounding fulfillment. The kind of fantasy where time slows down yet your mind is racing, darting around like a hummingbird. 

I’ve never been one to really take risks or jump into new and daunting tasks. But the thing about being so wrapped up in fantasies is that my eyes have been opened to the new, incredible things that happen when you do just so. I’ve found myself spontaneously acting upon those butterflies in my stomach at 1 am while I’m lost in the depth of my emotions. Learning more about myself at the peak hours of the morning or the darkest times of the night. Stepping outside of my comfort zone and growing, thriving, living. Learning to stop fearing the unknown and grasping onto the concept of becoming uncomfortable in order to find comfort. 

It’s funny to think about how just a few months ago I remember sitting in a grey sectional grabbing onto a pillow for dear life, not thinking I would ever make it to where I am now. Absolutely distraught by the mess that my life had become, stuck in my own fears and doubts.

Yet here I am. 

I know for a fact I would never have made it this far without the incredible people I have met along the way.

On February 10th, I was sat down in that very grey sectional, looked at in the eyes and was told,  “Please, speak up for yourself. Please treat yourself like gold. You are not something to be forgotten. You are not something to be tossed to the side of the road”. 

One of the best things you could ever do for yourself is to fill your life with those who believe in you. Truly, genuinely, believe in you. Those who look at you when you’re speaking your passion and see the stars. Those who will lift you up when you’re falling, no matter how hard you fall or how badly you refuse their help. Those who help you recognize your worth, who help you see that you, yes YOU, most definitely should be treated like gold. That you are undeniably NOT something to be chucked out a car window onto the side of the road. 

Thank you to these people who have rescued me from myself in the past few months. Those who have helped me create these fantasies that hype my soul up enough to be found dancing in the grocery store.

This level of contentment and exploration of emotions is something I most definitely would not have gotten to without you all. So thank you. I will never stop thanking you.

{m, m, d, a, b, s, z, k, c, k, d, c, k, a, j}

mantras, reminders, self love

just a few simple mantras for you to tell yourself on the good days, the bad days, and everything in between. start every day off with something positive when you look at yourself in the mirror.

  • You are hereby declared a strong, resilient warrior of heroic proportions. Enjoy your battles, whatever they are, because you are guaranteed to come through them stronger, brighter, and more compassionate.
  • I choose to live a life of my fullest potential. I trust that this will draw me towards experiences and people that support my growth and accomplishment. Tuning into this frequency, I now reach higher heights than I ever thought possible.
  • I believe in magic. I see evidence of it all the time. And though the tricks can probably explained in a sensible, rational way, I choose to not ruin the fun. I choose to believe in the magic.
  • I am exactly where I need to be, exactly when I need to be here. There’s nothing more I need to do because I am already here. I will take a deep breath, relax, and trust.
  • I am a rare person. A precious one, too. My brilliance will be reflected back to me when I am paired with my true match. My ideal partners and working relationships are easy-going, free-flowing. I deserve greatness, because I AM GREATNESS.

Cheers to a good morning, a new day, a fresh start, and a hot cup of coffee

xoxo, maddy

i will continue

“Your eyes are lacking that sparkle and cheer they had when I first met you.” -january 21st

“You know, this is a fatal illness. And you’re walking down a very narrow pathway.” – january 23rd


I’ve always found comfort in the extremes. I’ve always like the idea of this peaceful mindset, happy and healthy life. The idea of going ice skating with my friends and walking around the mall and celebrating holidays freely. The idea of waking up in the morning with a smile and the sun shining through my window. Yet at the same time, there was something exhilarating about those two statement one of my doctors had said to me. This messed up idea of comfort. Being sick takes away the uncertainty. The fear. The real world fades away and suddenly you don’t have to worry about a single thing. So full of emptiness. Something about being so sick just felt so right, like I was finally doing something right.

WHY ON EARTH HOW DO YOU FIND THIS COMFORT IN SUCH A SCARY SITUATION YOU CRAZY

Well, let me tell you: If you’ve never craved the feeling of complete and utter emptiness, you won’t ever fully understand why someone would pursue this mission to become empty. It’s a feeling of accomplishment when nothing else is going right.

However, it comes to an end. And for me, January 25th marked the end of (hardly) surviving in this black and white world and beginning to travel to the gray area. The area filled with uncertainty, fear, doubt.

Today is March 10th. It’s been 6 1/2 weeks. Every day is filled with constant decisions to stay on the right path.  To be completely honest, it gets tiring waking up each morning knowing the hesitancy can creep back at any time.

However, each day I wake up stronger. Each day I fight that ambivalence, no matter how strong the desire the crawl back into the previous comfort that I had beforehand. Each morning I wake up, I acknowledge that uncertainty, that desire to go back to the ways things used to be. And slap it in the face.

Today marks one week of being back at home. 7 days. 10080 minutes spent choosing to continue. And it’s been anything but easy. But I can already tell that the hard work I’ve put in these past 6 1/2 weeks are already paying off and cannot wait to see my life continue to unfold as I persist and fight. Today, I choose to keep going.

And that is not something I could have said back on january 23rd.


It’s kind of funny, looking back to two years ago, knowing that I wrote about all 365 days I had spent being free from the hospitals-yet here I am, after breaking that streak, returning to a simple 7 days. But you know what? That’s okay. Because this is only the beginning.

From here on out, I will flourish. I will thrive. I will grow and gain more and more hope as each day passes by, no matter what challenges may come my way.

I will continue.

xoxo, maddy

love trumps hate

 

We are all connected in a sense; all humans, all apart of this intensely amazing assortment that makes up this earth. It’s this connection in which we begin to develop the desire to be seen, heard, loved. This connection drives down the desire to be with someone who will handle all our qualities: our vulnerabilities, truths…everything. We all want someone who when we look at, it is as though we are seeing one of the greatest gifts of all time. And we are, in return, able to offer the most beautiful of gifts back to that special someone.

This gift of love and passion of one of the strangest yet greatest thing. This open line of communication. These ears that are ready to be flooded with the words of your stories. This heart that invests in your value, that sees your potential and greatness even when you don’t see it yourself.

As humans, this intense feeling continues to unite us. Look at the person next to you. You may not be the greatest fan, or perhaps they are one of your best friends you’ve ever met. Regardless, you both share this characteristic, no matter who they are or where they come from.

We all have the ability to be a source of love and connection, just like we all have the ability to receive these magnificent qualities right back. So let’s take advantage of this incredible capability to make someone’s heart a little fuller, make them smile a little brighter. Because we are all so damn worth it. Let’s make an effort to spread love wherever we wander. Sprinkle kindness around like confetti. Let your surrounding humans know just how much they mean to you-compliment your cashier at the grocery, pet your neighbor’s dog, bake your grandma a cake. Because when we come together and set aside our overall differences, we can release this beaming ray of love that we all possess somewhere within us. And this love will become the life jacket in a sea of hate. Connect the disconnected. Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can create a beautiful, radiant world.

xoxo, maddy

Never set your alarm to your favorite song. That song will be ruined for the rest of your life. No questions asked. No exceptions.

That, is a lesson I learned the hard way.
But that’s the funny thing about life; the abundance of lessons to be learned and the process we go through in order to comprehend.
You see, we could sit back and think about how much things suck and question whether or not we can make it through. Some days we just don’t know where we are headed in the future or have all the answers to all the “but why’s” we ask. Some days it hurts to open our eyes because we are so scared and feel so helpless.
But listen.
You have made it through 100% of all your past troubles. You can make it through today.
It sucks sometimes to have to literally be thrown into the depths of our troubles in order to learn what needs to be learned. But that doesn’t mean you cannot escape, that things won’t ever get better.
Obviously, things take time. Takes time to grasp onto the harsh reality of something and then take the steps of action to move past it and grow from it.
But I hope you know your ability to do just so. I hope you recognize the fact that you are so beyond capable of growing from these troubles, from learning new lessons that will allow you to flourish in the future.
I hope you are able to let the sun in, to push the rain clouds away and welcome to new possibilities.
To know that yes, you are so damn SCARED of moving forward right now, but this fear WILL. NOT. LAST.
Look at this morning, for example. You got out of bed. (maybe it was cause that song was playing and you have to turn it off – either way, you did it). You took a deep breath and continued.
That, my friend, is truly admirable.
I hope as this year progresses, you learn to smile. To laugh. I hope you here the stupidest joke ever and let out a snort from that laugh of yours. I hope your eyes water and drip with tears because you are so, genuinely happy. I hope this laughter manages to lift your spirits and remind you of the fact that you escaped the fears that once set you down.
I hope you find someone who will let you know how cute your laugh is. I hope you make new adventures and learn new things with this person. I hope they make you laugh and you make them laugh. And together, the serenity created from your laughs reminds you of the fact that the lessons you have learned from your past were essential to reach this growth.
Sucks to have to learn things the hard way. But remember how much stronger that makes you. How much brighter these lessons make your smile. How much stronger and genuine your laugh will be in the future.
Believe me when I say that you are capable of escaping these dark trenches.
If I managed to turn my alarm off to that song without throwing my phone out the window (for several weeks, may I add), then this sure is possible.
Let us flourish as we learn these lessons. Let us become irrefutable and unstoppable.
xoxo, maddy

start now

“But why not now?” 

What even are these extravagant moments if they aren’t remembered-or worse, if they never occurred because you always held back? 

I was recently asked, “if you were handed a book about your life, would you skip til the very end to find out the biggest mystery life contains?”

Maybe your initial response is “fuck yes I would fast forward my way through season 6 to figure out who the Gossip Girl is before anyone else does”

Or maybe you are rereading your past chapters, laughing at younger self and the back-and-forth thoughts of whether you and Ryan Gosling would get married and whether the wedding would be on an all-inclusive island or in the most magnificent castle on Earth?

Or would you go through page by page, reading your story and absorbing the magic of your greatest adventures (whilst sipping your green tea on your yoga mat in your Lululemon to channel your inner yogi)?

Today, I sit here, soon to be moving onto a whole new road of my life; with the graduation of high school (T-82 days, not that I’m keeping track or anything) and soon to be celebrating another year of my life on this planet (23 days and I’m another year older yet still feel 5). At the beginning of a new year, at the beginning of hopefully pulling myself out from the deepest of trenches and up into the light, I am not going to wait another day to start. I will start here, where I am, scared, afraid, terrified, and all. Not fearing what the future has to hold, not regretting the past, just simply..being. I am moving page by page, moment by moment. Knowing that each day I fight through, my book of stories will only grow longer and longer so I can look back at all the wonderful things I have done. 

Celebrate what you have in this very moment. Your future will come. Don’t rush. Forgive. Live. 

And hopefully many, many, many years down the road (because I will make it through the battles I face and long live the troubles) I will be pretty damn proud that I didn’t wait, didn’t hold back.

So start now, living each moment. Not fast forwarding into the future, not remaining stuck in the past – simply being right here, right now. 

xoxo, maddy

Look in the mirror. Yes, right now.

Take a look at those blue eyes of yours – and remember they aren’t blue.

 

They are sapphire against turquoise mixed with the most beautiful royal blue, and when they water they glow, they are two perfect spheres the same color as the sky on the perfect summer day.

They are not simple.

You are not as simple as you think you are, as you may have been told you are.

 

You’re a soft, tender, loving thing. A little bit of a mess, a little scatterbrained – and that’s okay. You have fallen and you have risen day after day, you are a trophy of the shreds of your triumphs and tragedies. You have been stitched up by ounces of hope that you have collected over the years despite the many hardships-yet you still shine.

You still radiate.

 

Your big heart may get you hurt. You may be left feeling a little lost, a little confused, a little abandoned. I cannot promise you that this journey you are about to embark of moving past this hopelessness is going to be easy, but I can assure you, I can promise you, it will be so damn worth it. Remember, this big heart of yours has filled you with so much love and empathy and every feat you have faced has grown this heart of yours to be even greater, even tougher.

 

And I know it sucks to feel so much in a world that moves too fast for feelings. I know how you feel. Afraid of the world seeing you at your weakest. Craving to shrink yourself into the smallest, most insignificant ball of nothing. Wanting to withdraw from the outside world and crawl away into the some underground wonderland, pretending nothing else exists-that you don’t exist.

 

Afterall, I’m in my own journey of searching for that underground wonderland of nothingness myself, too. To be honest, I have been living a life where I am scared to share my true ambitions and passions because of the fear of disappointment. I have gone to bed too many nights afraid to share the amount of passion that is overflowing from this five-foot-two body of mine.

However, I want to escape this trapped mindset I’m stuck in. I want to live. I want to feel, to explore the tenderness of this big heart I have contained in my chest. To look in the mirror and look past these so-called simplistic blue eyes of mine.

I want to impact others. I want to influence the world in the most personal way. To spread encouragement through spreading my truths. To cultivate a life full of light and passion. Exploring this uniqueness I possess. Simply living and being, energizing my soul and redefining happiness. Cultivating the passion and abundance I have to offer this world.

I want to flourish.

I want to relinquish my fears and share my true ambitions, pushing past the doubts and judgement.

So together, us big-hearted people who are ultimately fearing our own self-discovery, we will embrace these sympathetic and intricate lives we have unknowingly been living.

For me personally, I will take this one day at a time, one bite at a time. Go to bed every night with the intention that each day I will wake up and feed my mind and my body in order to nourish and flourish. It may look different for you, or perhaps you need to do the same thing as well. Either way, cheers to new beginnings, new strengths to be discovered, new skills learned to defeat these feelings of self-doubt.

Embrace your feels, embrace that big heart of yours, embrace those two perfect spheres that sparkle when you talk about the things that set your soul on fire.

xoxo, maddy

reminders for a fresh start, a new year, new beginnings

  1. Don’t stick to those who are good to you 20% of the time because the other 80% isn’t worth the torture.
  1. Great things come outside of your comfort zone.
  1.  Don’t make excuses for those who treat you less than you deserve. I know that **deep down** you know that you deserve to be surrounded by those who enhance your life each and every moment and don’t cause fights and bitterness. You deserve the same magnificence you put into those you care about.
  1. Take a deep breath and just simply be present. The only moment you have control over is now. Relish it, be mindful. Slap the overthinking and the overanalyzing in the face.
  1. Sometimes you slip. But be also damn proud of yourself when you watch yourself slipping and stop instead of letting yourself continuously fall into this downward spiral.
  1. If you ever find yourself stuck in your thoughts, get outside. Talk to people. Laugh. Help others out. Smile. Hug. Pet a dog. It all rebalances.
  1. The best weight you can be at is whatever you are at when you are able to live the healthiest life you can – enjoying each moment, able to go out to eat with your friends, not being consumed with food/exercise thoughts, thriving on self-love. You cannot live a glorious life fueled with self-hatred and constantly critiquing this body of yours.
  1. Remember to spend quality time with yourself. Make your own personal happiness and wellbeing your #1 priority.
  1. Your body is one pretty freaking amazing being. Always working to keep you alive; making sure you breathe while you sleep, repairing broken bones, allowing your heart to beat several beats a minute. It loves you oh so much. Love it back, quit creating a war with yourself.
  1. Life will never be perfect, but it can be pretty damn sensational if you let it.

So cheers to a new year. Be kind to yourself. Don’t let the negative committee in your head wear you down. Stand up. Be strong. Be a hero. Cheers to a year where we will go on new adventures, meet new people, experience new things, check things off our bucket lists. 2017 will be a good one with these reminders set in place.

 

xoxo, maddy

for the big, soft, tender hearts-never stop loving

What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

However, maybe you’re the kind that is so full of care, so full of love, so full of the desire to see others reach their full potential. You care “too much”. Your heart is “too big”.

Maybe you’re the one to find yourself falling in love too easily, giving your heart away like it’s velcroed to your sleeve, ready to be ripped right off. Maybe you’re the one to stay up late, making sure those you care about are okay, making sure they get home safe and sound. To spend your late hours of the night listening to someone tell you silly stories and pour their heart out, ignoring the fact you’re exhausted and have a mile-long to-do list.

And maybe, you are drowning in the voices that tell you having a heart this big is a negative quality. And maybe, just maybe, you  need to stop apologizing for that.

Why is being full of love such a bad thing? Why are we so convinced that these feelings are “too much”? Because they break down your sheltered heart and expose your deepest secrets? Because it’s strong? Because it’s a hell of a brave yet rare characteristic in this world that so many are too damn afraid of?

In this world that is apprehensive of realizing our true feelings, in a world that is detouring around their emotions-you are enough. You are okay. You do not need to change a thing.

There is no law stating you must be sorry for having a big heart, for loving as hard as you do. Being someone that lets people in and allows themselves to candid and unguarded, that gives and gives and gives (even to those who don’t necessarily deserve it) is no crime.

Yes, it can be scary to simply not know how to give anything less than full love when you’re surrounded by people who are unsure or indifferent. When rejection and disappointment come and hit you like a slap in the face, it sucks. But your big heart holds enough room to be able to move on from these shitty moments, these feelings of worthlessness – as soon as you give yourself the same amount of worth and value you place on those you love.

Never let the world cheat you of who you are. Love without hesitations, without regret. Let people in. Give everything you have and apologize for none of it. Embrace your big heart. Keep believing in big love. It will cross your path, you will find that day when you are with someone who loves just as hard as you do, who values you just as much as you value them. And when that day comes, you’ll be happy you never changed.