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

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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}

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

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

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

reminders, thank you’s, simple things

For all those who have reached out to me, helped me through my toughest times, said hi to me in the morning, told me that you care – this is for you.

For anyone who isn’t feeling on top of the world right now, I may not know you personally, but I believe this to be true about you, too. You are a rockstar. Believe in yourself, I am rooting for you. You will climb back to the top of the mountain soon, I know you will – remember these statements when you’re feeling low.

For those who know a friend who isn’t feeling too hot – things you should share with them to give them your support. At the same time, don’t devalue the simplicity of smiling at them. Smiles can brighten even the darkest of days – and for the times you’re filled with not only smiles but words as well,  these simple comments can mean the world to them. Share your support, share your sympathy. Remind yourself of these too; don’t let your kind soul go unnoticed.

For myself – this applies to you too. Don’t forget your own worth. Self-care is not selfish, it is necessary.

  1. Your ability to find the silver lining is an awe-inspiring quality and I hope you are able to acknowledge the beauty in this. There’s no doubt that you have gone through some tough times, and no doubt you have made it through like the brave warrior you are. And throughout anything that comes your way, you are still able to do some amazing things and make an incredible impact in people’s lives and create some amazing memories. You rock.
  2. Your heart is so pure. You are a selfless human being. You caring, thoughtful soul is something so incredible, words cannot even describe how thankful I am to know there are people like that out in this world
  3. Your passion is contagious. You make me want to become a better human. Your warm heart brings light to the darkest days in this world.
  4. You have a way with your words. Comfort, forgiveness, joy, thoughtfulness. Never underestimate the power of asking “are you okay” or saying “tomorrow will be better”. They may be short, simple comments, but your concern & care means the world. It’s refreshing. Thank you for making me feel like I matter. I hope you always remember how much you matter, too.

I hope you never forget how much you matter. How important you are. How grateful so many people are to have you in their life.

xoxo, maddy

case of the mondays

I am sitting here, at 1:13 in the afternoon, unable to complete tasks due to being held hostage by an endless stream of thought. Sitting here, suffocated in the fear of letting the vulnerability bleed out from my fingertips and onto the keyboard.  Sitting here, overanalyzing even the simplest of situations.  I am a people pleaser with a deep fear of disappointment. With this aspect shining through, I have been neglecting my own personal well being, because after all, only so much compassion can fit into this five-foot-two body of mine – all of which has been devoted to those around me. However, as I sit here a room full of complete and utter silence, typing out whatever comes to mind, my heart is gaining the capability to breathe again.

It’s scary when you feel as though your insides are spilling out and you’re left drowning in these black and white thoughts. It’s terrifying being told, “I know you’ve been through hell. I know you’re still going through it, battling to get out and escape” and hold back the tears. It’s exhausting and painful talking about this built up melancholy  until your voice becomes hoarse. It’s saddening going about your day soon to be filled with disappointment of the fact that your imagination made things a little more hopeful with your relationships than they actually are.

However, as I sit here, I’m slowly but surely grasping onto the power of our thoughts and mentality in every situation. Our minds truly are a beautifully chaotic masterpiece, and learning to manage the clutter that takes place is quite the feat. Living in a world that rushes through life and making the conscious choice to thoroughly slow down can feel strange. However, it’s been a beautifully weird sensation – this completeness, this peace. As I sit here, in this quiet library on a Monday afternoon, I am aiming to clear my mind of this chaos with each word I type. I am aiming to relinquish my fears and cherish my own self. To look beyond those in front of me to fulfill this feeling of worthlessness and emptiness, because after all, my happiness cannot be found in the hands of others.

I want to flourish.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, at 1:13 in the afternoon, I will hopefully be able to cultivate the passion and abundance I have to offer this world whilst nourishing my own being. I will move past the uncomfortable experiences this Monday has brought me and will begin this audacious journey of nourishing and flourishing.

Because after all, I am unstoppable. I am irrefutable. I will go about my day with tenacity and authenticity. I will move past the negative thoughts that weigh me down and send me into this whirlpool of hopelessness.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, at 1:13, I will complete the tasks I set out to do, with a clear mind and open heart.

xoxo, maddy

but oh my darling, what if you fly?

The fear glistened in my eyes as I sat down at the dinner table. I was vulnerable, beginning to lose my identity, my sense of worth; finding myself manipulated and trapped. I was blinded from what was happening, lacking the perception to see that I was slipping away into nothing. Yet I managed to fake some sort of peace of mind in order to camouflage the suffering I felt inside. And that was the first lie my eating disorder whispered into my ears – “I am okay.”

For years I would wake up not living, just merely surviving. Some days I simply craved the destruction of my own body. My stomach would growl on the hour, craving not only food but some sort of comfort my life was lacking. It was as if the comfort I found in destroying myself would calm all my fears in an instant. I became hungry for happiness and somehow managed to convince myself that the eating disorder would satisfy my appetite. I began flirting with these disordered thoughts, and before I knew it, the voice of the eating disorder coated my vision until that was all I could see.

Soon enough, I stumbled upon others going through the same torment. I watched as their eyes glazed over with melancholy when they sat down at the dinner table in the hospital. Hours upon hours would go by until our plates would be cleared. Day after day of repeating this process released my eyes from the cloudy vision and opened up doors of hope. Watching the other strugglers’ eyes brighten as they took each bite and seeing their bodies ignite with life with each grueling thought they pushed away proved the worth of staying with the process – through the twists, turns, and everything in between – no matter how hard it gets.

   I remember one day hearing, “I cannot think of anything worse than failing suicide, you fail so much at life that you even fail to kill yourself,” and being consumed with guilt from my past. Today, each time I hear those words slip from someone’s mouth, the higher my motivation jumps to put an end to the stigma, the suffering, the pain. I have become hungry for a change, hungry to make a difference. I am now opening up, sharing my story for the entire world to hear. Speaking my truth, becoming vulnerable. Sharing pieces of my past I was previously ashamed for and cowered away from in hopes of helping at least one single person.

Slowly but surely, the drive to thrive and create a life full of adventures began to overpower the suffocating apathy the eating disorder caused. I began to recognize the incredible power my body has, the mental strength I have gained through years of treatment and learned how to cope with the toxic mindset that became the norm. Each step forward came with an ambition to celebrate my strengths and acknowledge this journey I have gone through of overcoming this crippling, gruesome disorder. I began to wake up excited to see what the new day has in store for me. Exploring the incredible qualities my body and mind has and the strength I have gained throughout the years of this battle.

“I cannot think of anything worse than failing suicide, you fail so much at life that you fail to even kill yourself”

Actually, I can think of something worse than failing a suicide.

And that is succeeding.

Because despite the years spent with a disease that has filled my head with demons, I have managed to continue life while encouraging and sprinkling joy throughout whoever’s life crossed my path. And that, is one profound act of bravery. And despite the hounding to end it all, continuing to rise out of bed each day and nourish myself while feeding others hope is anything but a failure.

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