Why I Blog

This is a question I ask myself regularly, and people also ask me. The answer always changes, for my long-time followers, you will know that this is my second serious blog, and my first blog was about my life abroad. I found myself lacking motivation once returning to Canada, as I didn’t feel like my life was as interesting any more. This was probably the the truth, and I took a couple years off posting before realizing that I don’t have to just write about what I do, I can also write about what I think, and how I feel.

I blog because I have a gut feeling that I’m supposed to. I blog because once in a while someone reaches out to me and tells me something I wrote deeply spoke to them. I blog because I know that I have something to say that someone needs to hear. I blog for people who are struggling, people who aren’t struggling and I blog for my younger self.

You’ll notice that my posts have been more fluffy lately, less heavy – this isn’t because I’m selling myself out, but because I’m trying to expand my reach. I will always post about the things that I feel need to be said, but not everything has to be heavy, dark and gloomy. Sometimes the things I just look good, and sometimes I just want to talk about something I love.

I know some of you are here for the emotional, personal posts, and I know some of you are absolutely not here for it. But I’m going to continue following my vision. I want to be able to point out the light at the end of the tunnel for everyone. I want to be able to share my past and share my growth and inspire people. I want people going through hard things to see where I came from and where I am now, and know that they can do it too. But I also want people to know which lotions don’t have gluten, and which hair products are good for perms.

So I guess in short, I blog because my intuition tells me someone wants to hear what I have to say.

How I Managed to Get my Self Confidence Back After it was at an All Time Low 

Three years ago I thought nothing of myself, I had felt this way for years, and I was certain I would never amount to anything.  I was struggling with an eating disorder, and other mental illness related issues. Even after I was recovered, it took some time to rebuild the confidence I once had.

It’s still a work in progress, but here are some things I have done so far to become the strong, confident woman I am proud to call myself today.

1. I do not base my self worth on any number, or anyone else’s opinions of me

I have no idea how much I weigh, I don’t base my worth on my IQ, or my salary. None of these metrics define me. I wake up every morning and just love everything that I am, not how it measures. If I weighed less or more, if I made more money or was traditionally more intelligent, I would not be a better person, or any more of a human than I am in this very moment.

2. I do not compare myself to others

This might be the most important change I made for myself ever. It’s so easy to compare yourself to other people around you. I remember constantly thinking to myself, “I wish I was as skinny as she is” or something along those lines about girls on Tumblr, models, and even my best friends. I remember consistently looking and my body in comparison to those around me, and feeling like it wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t small enough, it wasn’t tight enough. I did this with everything; people who were smarter than me, people who were taller than me, people who had more money than me. This was one of the least healthy habits I ever had as I went to extremes to try to achieve these “ideals” I was surrounded by.

I will never look like the girls I once idolized, I will always look like me – but hey, I look damn good.

3. I allow myself the time to love myself

I allow myself time to pamper myself, I have a skin care routine that I make into my own little spa session, and I take the time on weekends to put on as much make up as I want. Not because I need it, because I genuinely enjoy doing this.

I also take the time to be active. I’m no gym bunny by any stretch, but I take the time to get outside and get my blood flowing. Sometimes just for a stroll with my girlfriends, sometimes for a hike.

Finally, I took a leap in January and signed up for a burlesque class – which I have been attending (almost) weekly since – and this has been a huge boost for me. I get to spend my Monday evenings surrounded by sexy, confident women who are there to have fun, let loose and build each other up. I’m a terrible dancer, but I feel confident AF when I’m in my Monday evening classes.

4. I accept that not all trends are right for me

This was tough for me, as I have always been passionate about keeping up with the latest fashion trends. Every season I would try so hard to look good in the new styles that were taking off. Until one day it dawned on me – these trends are made for 6 ft tall women with legs that are longer than my entire body. Don’t get me wrong, some of those things us shorter girls can pull off, and look FIERCE in. But I had to learn to accept that some things just look like pajamas on me, and that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me – it just means that particular style isn’t flattering on my body type.

5. I do (and eat) what I crave

Simple as that. If I want a burger, I eat a burger. If I want to suntan topless on the roof, I suntan topless on the roof. If I want to wear short-shorts to the mall, I do. Because that’s who I am, it’s what I want and I’m here to own it.

(I still follow dress codes at work, abide by the law and eat my fruits and vegetables though – because I’m not an impulsive brat all the time)

6. I surround myself with people who make me feel better, not worse about who I am

I hesitated when it came to putting this in my list – not because it’s not important, and not because I don’t value this – but because if you don’t have the rest of the list down, this will only build artificial confidence.

I am so blessed to have an amazing support network full of men and women who build me up, who love me for me and who think I’m amazing – and words can’t describe how thankful I am for this. All that being said, if I didn’t truly love myself first, I could have this amazing network, and all the self confidence in the world when people were around, and still feel worthless when I’m alone in the dark.

The importance to me, at least, isn’t the confidence I put on for the world to see, it’s the confidence I have when I dance with no rhythm alone in my underwear and there’s no one there to see it.

13 reasons why I’m glad I’m alive

So pretty much everyone and their dog has seen 13 Reasons Why at this point, and I’m included in that mix and I think it’s one of the most important shows of my time thus far. Please keep in mind, I have not yet finished the show so no spoilers please.

I was bullied relentlessly in high school, some of it small and trivial, and some of it was much, much more intense and I find that Hannah’s character is very real and very realistic. I would day dream about how I would make every single person realize their part in my death after I took my own life.

I couldn’t fall asleep last night as I was reliving my high school memories, and I felt the need to write this post. I ask that you please share it with any teenagers you know who could be struggling, or could be causing pain and suffering to others.

The bottom line here is that teenagers are assholes.

It’s been 10 years since the worst year of my life. I’ve come very far from these dark days, but I’m still affected by the words that were said to me. That being said, here’s a letter to me 10 years ago.

Dear 14-year-old Savanna,

I’m writing you this to educate you on what you will miss if you let them win. I know it’s hard now, and you will never forget how truly hard it was. You will never minimize what happened to you and you will grow up to make sure that the children in your life understand the weight their words and actions can hold. I know it’s not easy to ignore them when they’re at your school, in your phone and on your computer. I know they follow you and haunt you and I know that they’re in your head. Regardless to what they say, you will not be doing anyone a favour by killing yourself and you are not better off dead. You are going to get through this.

Here are 13 reasons why I’m glad you didn’t end your life:

  1. You are stronger because of what you suffered
  2. You are kinder because of what you suffered
  3. You will find your place in life, you will find your calling and you will be successful
  4. You will fall in love a couple times and one time it will really stick – he will feel like home
  5. You will make truly great friends who love and accept you for exactly who you are
  6. You have people who depend on you and need you, be there for them
  7. You will have nieces and nephews who look up to you and it’s your job to remind them to be kind and to be strong, love them and protect them
  8. You will be presented with opportunity after opportunity and you will thrive
  9. You will see things differently than those who had it easy, not because you feel like a victim, but because you are more aware
  10. You will be so comfortable and confident your self and your body, you will love yourself every day
  11. You have so many adventures to go on, between where you are now and where I am now, you will travel and see parts of the world you have barely heard of yet.
  12. You’re going to live in Europe! Briefly, mind you, but you’ll do it because you’re stubborn
  13. Because we’re not done yet, keep fighting, I promise, you’re going to be okay.

Love always,
2017 Savanna

I don’t hold any grudges anymore, it’s in the past. If we could all go back and do it all over again, we’d all do it differently. I’d rather put my energy into improving myself than fretting over this, it’s gotten me this far.

the women who inspire me.

It’s International Women’s Day! So it was only fitting that I write about some of the women in my life who inspire me every day.

My Momma

The woman who made sacrifice after sacrifice for me, I’m sorry I didn’t always see it this way. I know I was bitter at times about the life we lived (or where we lived it), but looking back now I wouldn’t change a thing. You gave up every comfort you knew to provide me with every comfort I could know and to raise me in a safe environment. I know this wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I will be thankful every day for the rest of my life for the choices you made for us. You’ve been my best friend since day one, and that won’t change.

My mom has always loved without bounds and shown me what it means to care for your loved ones, sometimes to a fault as we both have a difficult time putting ourselves first, but I’m okay with that. I would rather pour my love into helping someone else anyways.

Danielle M.

I haven’t known Danielle long, but I’ve gone on and on about her to a lot of people in my life. She is such a strong independent woman, a doting mother and a loving wife. I am continuously baffled by the way she carries herself as an individual all while balancing motherhood and marriage with such grace. Never in my life have I met another woman who could play these three roles so flawlessly all at once.

I knew her for a few months before meeting her 2 year old son, and her husband and in those months I got to know her. She’s a crafter and a creator. She is open with her past and has such a strong grasp on her dreams, her goals and her passions. After getting to know her (adorable) little family, and seeing her with her son and her husband, I saw her in another light. She still holds strong to herself, meticulously balances being a goofy mom, and one hell of a wife. She cooks some kickass dishes, is an amazing hostess and still has time to play hockey with her family all while working an exhausting and demanding full-time job.

I strive to be has strong and balanced as she is as I move forward with my life. I can’t even seem to do it without a child.

Trista H.

Trista has been like my second mom for just over 10 years now. She was my best friend’s mom when I was 12, so obviously I saw her all the time. As we grew up, my friend and I grew apart but Trista remained a constant in my life and she has been such an inspiration to me. To this day whenever I go home, she is one of the people I must see. I have always known that can I go to Trista with anything I would go to my mom for, which means so much to me.

Trista has two kids of her own, and still opened her heart and her home to me and has always made me feel at home with her.

Trista also went back to school when her kids and I were in our early teens and changed her entire life and started a new career in her 30s. When I feel lost or stuck in my career, I always find myself thinking about Trista and reminding myself that I don’t have to know yet.

I’m inspired my so many women every day, but these were the ones I decided to write about today. So thank you to all women in my life for helping shape me and raise me into the woman I am today.

 

remembering (it’s okay) to take your time.

Being unemployed is stressful, changing careers is stressful, saying no is stressful. I lost my “dream job” a little under a month ago, and decided to take this opportunity to say goodbye to my legal career.

I interviewed at a handful of places, and two law firms just in case. I felt so optimistic about many of the jobs I had interviewed for, but the rejections just kept trickling in. I began to panic about not finding work, and not not being able to break out of my career path.

Yesterday I got an offer. Another legal assistant position, and I felt so much pressure to take it because I didn’t have another offer on the table. I felt the exact same way about this position as I did when I accepted my “dream job”. I spent all afternoon conferring with my loved ones trying to find a reason to take it, trying to convince myself it was the right move until I found myself in tears on the couch crying to Sebastian about how I knew this was not the right job for me. He made himself clear, “I will support you no matter what choice you make, but you know, and your heart knows what you need to do.”

So I decided to say no to potentially the only offer I had.

Today, I received another offer. Another law firm, but not for a legal assistant position, for a personal assistant position. I’m excited about his change, as small as it is. I’m excited about my new office, I’m excited about the culture, and I’m excited about the people.

This time, I will be starting my new job with optimism, hope and excitement. So I guess it’s not so small of a change after all.

being the skeleton in my closet.

I was always a good kid, I almost always listened to my mother and I always listened to my mother when it was about something important.

Except once.

It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and this is a cause close to my heart, as it should be to most people. The truth is, you probably know someone who is going through this, or has in the past. This is not just my story to tell, and my mom and I have both put our heart and soul (and tears) into this post.

“Please. Eat something.” – My mom, 2011

The time it mattered most, was the time I decided to disregard every piece of advice my mother gave me. I knew I was killing her with just as much force and speed as I was killing myself, but I just couldn’t stop.

I remember every vivid detail of the night my strong, unshakable, unswayable rock of a mother broke. All over an argument of a pickle, a piece of cauliflower, some baby carrots and a bowl of hummus. Where in exchange for under 50 calories, I could have spared her the heartbreak. Nothing ever broke my mom, you could drag her through the flames of hell and she would still put on the bravest face for me and say so reassuringly “I’m fine, sweetie.” But this night was different and thinking about it now, breaks my heart the same way hers broke that night. The way your heart breaks when someone you love with every ounce of your being is hurting, and you can’t help them.

Her and I spoke while this post was being written, and she had this to say about it, “Yes, this disease broke me, but it didn’t take you. And I believe that if you hadn’t known the limit of what my strength was, you might not have been as aware if where yours had to take over. It was terrifying.” This is important to note, as I can’t stress enough how much of a team effort my recovery was. I could not have done it without her, and she could not have saved me alone. I will forever be grateful for her support, and I will always apologetic for what I put her through.

I wish I could say that that night changed everything, and I woke up the next morning fully recovered – but that’s not the reality of it. It almost never is. This went on for years. I was in and out of treatment, recovering and relapsing at the same rate the moon wanes and waxes. Throughout it all, there was nothing anyone else could do. I did not need to be loved more then or as a child, and no one did anything wrong to lead me to this path. I just got sick. I was 17, about to move away from the only constant in my life, coping the best I could with every goodbye I could imagine. Goodbye to high school and that entire chapter of my life, to my hometown, to the boy who I thought I would love forever. Goodbye to my friends who had grown to be like family, and goodbye to my mom who I still hate not seeing every day. I had always believed I was good at coping, I could always put on a smile and bury my pain deep within my soul. Until the day this pain fully fermented into the most haunting monster that wasn’t going to stop until it had taken everything I had. The disease ravaged through every aspect of my life, burning through my successes and passions like a forest fire. Slowly, but quickly at the same time I sat alone crying watching myself destroy bits and pieces of who I was until I the point where I felt like a shell wandering aimlessly through this world trying to discover who I was again.

My story does have a happy ending, and I am one of the lucky ones. I got help and I survived and I am fully recovered. Without treatment, 1 in 5 sufferers will die from eating disorders and even with treatment, 3% will not survive. Eating disorders are the leading cause of death related to mental illness, and yet it goes unnoticed so many times.

If you are struggling, please remember you don’t have to be a certain weight to be sick. Just because people don’t seem to notice how much weight you lost, doesn’t mean you’re not sick enough. Recovery is not easy. I read somewhere recently that “Recovery is not a choice you make once, it’s a choice you make every day for the rest of your life.” which is so incredibly true, but trust me, it’s worth it. Reach out for help, because if anything happens to you, I promise – it will break someone’s heart.

 

erasing memories.

I was reading today about a study done by the University of Toronto regarding erasing memories from your mind. From what I understand, they have successfully targeted the area of your brain that holds bad memories and can now delete such memories in mice while still leaving other memories completely intact. Obviously this is still in the early stages, and is not an available option right now – but it got me thinking.

We all have bad memories, a lot of which we can learn from, and grow because of. Some bad memories, though, can hold us back and prevent us from doing or pursuing certain things. If given the option to erase our recollection to relive these experiences and feel these emotions, would I do it?

Now, I’ve been open in the past about my battle with mental illness, and I feel safe in doing so – as it is my story to tell. I have been diagnosed with PTSD in the past as well as other disorders stemming from previous trauma. So naturally, when I first read about this study I was excited. I could potentially in my future completely forget about the terrible things I experienced and no longer suffer the emotions attached to them? What a great deal.

Then I thought a little bit more about it – I have never and I never will think of myself as a victim. I’m a survivor, and from surviving my past I have become a fighter. I fight for what I believe in, I fight for what I want, and I fight for those who I love. If I consciously believed that nothing had ever happened to me, would I still be a survivor? Would I still be a fighter? Would I still be me?

My past does not define me, but it did shape me – and I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished. So if you told me today that I could erase the memories of every terrible thing I experienced? Personally, I’d pass – and I feel like I’d be better for it.

the (terrifying) freedom to do what makes you happy.

I feel like for the first time in my life I am free to make a decision for myself to do what makes me happy.

This however, is completely false, as I have always had this freedom – I just chose not to believe it. I have never been in a position where I had to do something I didn’t want to do for a living, but I have always felt like I had to. In order to please those around me, make my family proud, and feel successful, I have always decided to believe that I had to work jobs that didn’t bring me joy.

This was never true though, and deep down I’ve known that – but the truth is, it was easier to believe that I couldn’t do what I wanted than to try to figure out what I really wanted.

Right now – in this moment – I have been reassured by absolutely everyone who’s support I’ve wanted, that I can do whatever it is that makes me happy. Which seems great, but the problem is: I don’t know what that is.

I finally feel like I have the support to reach for any dream I can fathom, I have the strength to achieve any goal I can imagine, I have the resources to take my time getting there – but I don’t know which dream to dream, which goal to set, or where to go.

What I think I need to remember right now, is that not everything requires immediate action – which is a philosophy completely against my standard beliefs and way of living. I am type A, the kind of girl who works hard all. the. time. to get what I want, to get where I’m going, and it’s gotten me far – far enough, I’d say, where I deserve to take a moment to just.. do nothing. I have faith that I will find my calling, but maybe I just can’t force this like I can with other aspects of my life. Maybe this time, constant hard work and constant action is not going to get me where I need to be. Maybe just this once I should allow the universe to guide me.

a sigh of relief.

Today I lost my “dream job” and I couldn’t be happier.

For two years I had a 5 year plan, to land a job at my dream law firm. From what I believed, it was the perfect job. When I got offered the job after only 2 years of working towards it, I immediately got hit by a wall of self doubt. It wasn’t until I had the position that I realized it wasn’t what I wanted at all. Knowing this, I also knew I’d be doing myself a huge disservice by turning it down after all the work and dreaming I put into getting here. I figured I could convince myself that it was all as perfect as I ever wanted it to be.

I was wrong. My heart knew before even walking through the doors on my first day that it was not even close to what I wanted. Regardless to my heart and by gut screaming “No, don’t do this.” I stuck with it.

Today, as I was laying on the couch, sick as a dog, looking at job listings that were so far from what I was currently doing, I got the call. My dream job was done with me.

In the past, when jobs haven’t worked out I’ve felt awful, self hatred, self doubt, anxiety, panic, you name it. While today, I of course feel anxiety and panic (because being unemployed is terrifying), I mainly felt relief.

This was exactly what I’ve known I’ve needed to get out of the toxic industry I work for and the real push for me to actively start working towards what I want. I have no idea what it is, but now I have no choice but to try to figure it out.

And to keep with the theme, three years in Vancouver, still falling frantically trying to navigate the concrete maze I live in. I’ll probably never land, but today, I feel more free than I have in three years.

05.05.2015

Dissociation.

I tend to forget to live in the moment. I’m in the time of my life I’ve always looked forward to, but I walk through it without ever taking a minute to appreciate the beauty surrounding me.

I feel like I’m walking through a dark, unlit hallway. The only light comes off the infinitely long screens along the walls, playing all the moments in my life. On my right hand side, the screen is playing all the happy, euphoric events in my life. Laughter, love, friendship, joy. On my left hand side, the screen plays all the dark memories and moments in my life. Pain, sorrow, heartbreak, fear, loss.

In front of my is nothing but black, I see no light at the end of the tunnel as I know it is too far away. The tunnel seems to go on forever.

I keep on walking through, refusing to look at the screens surrounding me, as the dark side is too dark. When I look at the bright side, I know the dark side is right behind me, so I choose not to look at all. I just keep walking to my next destination.

5 years ago, I was walking to where I am now. Now I am walking to where I will be in another 5 years. At no point have I stopped, looked around and accepted that I am at a destination. One day I will look back at this hallway I wish I looked at the walls along the way.

But I’ve just walked through. Dissociated.