2015 was a hard year.
In December of 2014, my grandmother died. I was depressed. I had hoped that 2015 would bring happiness.
I was wrong.
In 2015, I had five more friends die, all long before their time. I was depressed. I gained more weight than I ever had in my life. I suffered from bad anxiety. I had a series of awful car problems. Once, in the span of one week, I had 7 tows, which as you can imagine, drained my bank account. My dog (who has a back disease) almost became paralyzed (Thankfully, he has since recovered). I had a drunk driver hit my car, on my birthday. I had my car broken into. I had money stolen from me. I was having health issues. I was working a job that underpaid me and took up so much of my time that I felt like I did not have time for myself. I felt unappreciated at home. I hated how I looked. I couldn’t even look at my reflection in the mirror. I felt taken advantage of. I received high compliments on my novels I submitted to agents and publishers, but had them all rejected because there was no market for my genre at that time. My closest friends did not seem to care about my writing, the one thing that I was most passionate about. I was stressed beyond belief. My hair started going gray. I hated my body. I hated myself. The world seemed to be a constant turning mass of sadness and violence. I felt like a failure. And worse, the magic that we hold in our hearts, seemed to be completely gone from mine.
I found myself staring hard at my old suicide letters from a bleak time in my early life. I seriously asked myself, why the hell was I on this earth if it was such a shitty place? Why was I still here if I was as useless, stupid, and ugly as I felt? I wasn’t sure that I could do it any more. I was certain that I simply did not have the power to keep going. I almost did a drastic thing.
There are a lot of good things that happened to me too, in 2015. I published a book with a wonderful co-author and human Brian LeTendre, my dog recovered from his a bad flare-up of his back disease, I rescued an abused dog, and I saw one of my favorite bands live for the first time.
But when you’re in such a dark place, it is so easy to dwell on the bad, because you’re always waiting for the next bad thing to happen. You are certain you don’t deserve happiness, and worse, you are certain you won’t get it. Now, I do have a loving family. And I do have a few close friends. But these issues and things haunting my brain, they weren’t exactly easy to talk about. Not at all. And when you’re silently drowning, thrashing invisibly, your friends and family may not see your pain, and you start to think that maybe they don’t care or just aren’t paying close enough attention if they do not notice.
Everyone has one thing that they live for. It can be a person, place, thing, memory, a feeling.
For me, it’s my dogs. Their love for me is uncomparable. Selfless. Unconditional. They wanted nothing from me but love. And I love them with all my heart. They always gave me a chance. They made me feel important. They give me respect and love and they make me happy.
And I thought to myself, if THEY can love me that much, imagine if I could love myself even half of that?
I came across an article that basically said this: Happiness is a choice. It made it sound like I wasn’t helpless in my battle against horrible luck and depression. It almost made it sound like I could control my journey, my future.
So I made a choice. I wanted to try and love myself. I wanted to find magic again. I wanted to believe in myself. I wanted to laugh, and smile, and believe in the world around me. I wanted to find a light in the darkness. And if you WANT to do that, you CAN do that.
I started talking to friends and guess what? They, as all humans are, were fighting their own silent battles. I found some blogs online that talked happiness and self love and magic but all of them wanted hundreds of dollars from me to make me happy again. I don’t have hundreds of dollars to throw around. I felt like it was so important that there be a haven for people out there where people can turn, a place that doesn’t want to sell them a program that costs thousands of dollars in exchange for happiness and success.
The Shine Bright Gang brewed in my head for a year. I didn’t want to create the site until I could be genuine. Helpful. Encouraging. Until I could speak honestly about how I felt and generate a supportive conversation about self-love, happiness, depression, and everything in between.
So here we are.
Sharing all of this is not easy. In fact, it’s mindnumbigly difficult. BUT, the best healing comes from when we are really honest with ourselves. I hope that by sharing this about me, it may help someone who is looking for help, just as I was.
What can you expect from the Shine Bright Gang?
Positivity and acceptance
A FREE monthly magazine! Our first issue is available RIGHT NOW and FOR FREE. Check it out!
Weekly blog posts about life, love, happiness and self-love (what I like to call self-love magic)
Interviews with awesome people and hopefully some guest posts too!
A positive body image
Real talk, about real things because life can be hard.
Magic – all types, forms, and practices
Support and encouragement
Steps and ways to love yourself again and to gain confidence
Tips, tricks, and life-hacks
Essays, memoirs, thoughts, and pictures
And let’s just say that I have a few tricks up my sleeve!
What do you stand for?
I am serious about self-love magic for everyone.
I am serious about having more fun.
I am serious about happiness. You can be happy.
I am serious about living a good life.
We are in this together.
Stay golden. Live free. Be wild. Believe in magic.