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}

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

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.

thursday nights

Sometimes, those random Thursday nights can come by and hit you in the heart like a ton of bricks. When you sit in bed, far before the night is over, feeling lonely as ever. When all your struggles compile into one force and crush you down. When you are buried in pillows craving someone to come swoop you up and save you, to kiss your bruised up arms and tell you everything will be alright.

It’s on these nights that our guarded hearts break down and we realize love is both a weakness and a strength; even the darkest of us can still become weak with love. That despite the walls we have built up, despite the scars we are made up of, despite hardships, love can still get in. It’s on these nights when the negative thoughts continuously bleed out from our veins, no matter how many band-aids we slap on.

These are the nights you must fight against the demons in your mind. When you must open up to others (it will be oh so difficult yet oh so worth it). Breaking down your guarded walls will only lead you to a path of hope and faith in the future. And when that Thursday night struts its way into your life, I will be here, listening, talking, hugging. When you need someone here to melt into, someone to hug, but yet you find no one to wrap your arms around, look for me. I’ll be alive in your dreams when you are immersed deep in your thoughts laying in your bed on this Thursday night. I will be there for you, all throughout the day and into your dreams and nightmares. My arms will remain wide open and my ears will be ready to listen to your deepest secrets.

During these dreams of yours, it is often when I myself am drowning in my own struggles. When I need someone to distract the monsters in my mind, hug me, and let me know things will get better. That’s when I need you most.

We will be here for each other. We promised each other, way back, on a different Thursday night.

And that is when I realized, that love truly can seep into those who hold a dark past, those who are in pain.

That is when I realized that two hearts made up of cracks and crevices can fill each other back up. Thank you for being there for me. I will be here for you.

 

xoxo, maddy

be irrefutable. be unstoppable.

Recovery is tough. The process fills up with extreme highs and laughter and memories as well as extreme lows and tears and fights. Sometimes it’s scary, sometimes it’s overwhelming.
But as months pass and bites are taken, things slowly start to get better. You slowly start to get better. 
Recovery is a decision you make every single day. And it will be the best decision you make, even when it feels like the worst.
Sometimes listening to the eating disorder may seem appealing because it’s easier, because it’s comfortable, because it’s familiar. Sometimes recovery can just really suck.
But it’s worth it.
I promise it’s worth it.
So be kinder to yourself. Know that despite the eating disorder it attempting to drag you down into the deep end, you are stronger. You can keep your head up and fight back. It will be worth it. 
In the days when you’re drowning, choose to move onto tomorrow, not to dwell on the negativity. Remember the bigger picture rather than hyper-focusing on the darker moments. Remind yourself of the long term happiness you will gain from this short term uncomfortability rather than the short term satisfaction and lifelong suffering given by listening to the eating disorder.
We all have these days, and yes, they suck. But we cannot let that stand in our way. We are irrefutable. We are unstoppable. 
xo,
maddy

don’t u know that ur toxic

Thank you for having that smile in which the sunshine bounced off your teeth even on the cloudiest of days. Thank you for having an incredible laugh. For laughing at the littlest of things. It was contagious.It was cute as hell. Thank you for your sense of humor that matched mine. And your audacious vibe you let off whenever I heard words slip from your mouth. The way you would leave me hanging on my toes with everything you said, even as simple as “hello”. Thank you for showing me what it is like to laugh again, to truly laugh again. Thank you for trying not to show your nerves (but I could still sense them anyways-the feeling was mutual). Thank you for making something as simple as walking out my front door in the dirtiest pink flip flops seem like an incredible, magical fantasy. And for being there with me when I was completely and utterly falling apart. It’s funny how much a five-second snapchat or a jar of peanut butter and new adventures can transform into such magical things. And it’s funny how quickly those can be ripped right out of your hands, with all extraordinary qualities left to disappear. And with that, thank you to MYSELF from MYSELF for continuing to breathe, even when it feels like there’s no air. For learning that those who truly care for me will stay. For learning to remove the toxic people in my life in order to make my dreams a reality.

Thank you, self

xo, maddy

gaining hope

Gaining hope to gain my life back, to step away from doubts. I did not come this far to only come this far. Goal setting for a future of nourishing & flourishing

  • To be one of those people who, when you look at, their eyes sparkle and they are simply a ray of sunshine. You see them and suddenly feel a little bit happier, a little more inspired. And they look back at you with warmth in their eyes and a smile that could turn any frown upside down. To be able to transfer this light onto anyone that crosses my path and sprinkle little bits of serenity everywhere I go.
  • To do what I love. To help others achieve their goals and work towards gaining the life they’ve dreamed of. Help them do what they’re passionate about and watch that blossom. To turn struggle into something beautiful.
  • To take risks and distance myself from fears. Never allow myself to become too comfortable to the point of feeling stuck. Thrive, not just survive.
  • To remember that I am worthy. Worthy of staying on this earth, being a part of this life, simply just..living. To look myself in the mirror with a smile knowing this is a girl that can make your heart soft and eyes glisten . That I may get insecure and doubtful, but I have the power to light up your day if you allow me to. That although I may not allow you to talk to me before I get my breakfast (let’s be real, who really does), I will listen to your stories for hours on end. That I have things to offer.

So cheers to working towards a peace of mind, to learning to hold onto hope, no matter what storms may come my way.

xo, maddy

18 things I’ve learned before turning 18

1.)Other people are not the answer. Don’t seek your worth in others, don’t place you’re worth in their hands. You may think they help bring you peace and leave you happy-which they might-but in the end, it’s up to you. Be able to love yourself even if they weren’t a part of your life.

2.) The longer you put things off, the more time you get taken away from being able to live. Stop telling yourself “I’ll start tomorrow” “I promise I’ll do it for real this time”. Life is happening now. You deserve to be a part of it.
3.) Do what you love. Wake up wanting to jump out of bed. Blast your favorite song and dance around the kitchen. Find your passion. Take pride in it. Look forward to Mondays. Cultivate what you love and light your soul on fire. Never stop working towards living your dream.
4.) Grow. Develop. Flourish. Never stop. Work towards what you want to achieve and don’t allow your mind to build barriers.
5.) It’s okay to have bad days. You’re allowed to cry. Cry your eyes out and hug a teddy bear, if necessary. Some days just suck. But bad days build better days. Keep going.
6.) Some people just aren’t meant to be in your life. Step away from the toxic environment, even if it’s incredibly hard. Accept that some people are only temporary. It’s unfair, it hurts. But you deserve to be surrounded by people who truly care about you and won’t abandon you.
7.) If something scares you, do it.
8.) Spontaneity is a wonderful thing. Ride your bike around town and end up getting lost in the woods. Go out to dinner and eat something you never would have imagined yourself eating. Throw cookies in mailboxes and always say yes to new adventures.
9.) It’s okay to reach out for help. It’s okay to need support. You are not expected to be 100% all the time. Self growth is not a linear process.
10.) Do not let anybody determine who you are. No one can tell you your level of intellegence, what you should wear, what you should do with your life. You are in the drivers eat. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.
11.) Change is unavoidable. It’s scary. It’s intimidating. But don’t fear it. You may be about to live the best moment of your life to date.
12.) Your body is an incredible thing. Treat it with  respect and it will respect you back. Learn to trust it, to listen to its needs. Appreciate all the unbelievable things your body is capable of. Think about those things when you’re feeling down in it.
13.) Learn to say no. Say no to the things that have hurt you, to the jobs you hate, the people that make your eyes water.
14.) The most important relationship you have is the one with yourself. So make it a good one. Love yourself (cliche, sorry). Never belittle yourself. You are worthy. You are amazing. You are a part of this world and make an impact. Never forget that.
15.) It’s better to have regrets than “what ifs”. Take chances. You may just have the time of your life.
16.) Making others smile will never fail to make you smile as well. Sprinkle kindness wherever you go. Leave everyone a little bit happier than when you met them.
17.) There are people that care, people that want to look out for you. Listen to them, trust them. Sometimes your own vision gets clouded when you get blinded by emotions.
18.) Do not waste your time trying to explain yourself to someone committed to misunderstanding you. Anyone who doubts you is not a real friend. Learn to let these toxic people pass through life like a summer breeze, not a ravenous storm.
Cheers to 17 1/2 years of life, and what the 18th will bring.
xo, maddy

WHEN YOU’RE STRUGGLING

To anyone out there struggling-

it gets better. There are hard moments, moments where you will want to stop completely. But keep. on. going. In the future you’ll look back and be so damn proud of yourself for the fact that you marched right through those negative thoughts and made it through yet another day despite the whispers in your ears telling you to end it all.

You’ll be extraordinarily happy you kept going. You get a glimpse of life again. And life simply becomes..LIFE. Not days passing by surrounded by that burning sensation in your heart. You’re able to live. Explore. Have fun. Meet new people.

I cannot express how grateful I am for those who have helped me and continue to help me along this journey. I am beginning to have a glimpse of what true living is and that has an infinite value

So hang in there, my dear. It will be worth it. Recovery is worth it.


“Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That is who you really are. Let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it.” C. Assaad