When You’re Stressed the F**k Out…

Hey everyone hope you’re doing well. Let me ask you something:

Have you ever felt like this?

Or this?

Or maybe even this?

Have you felt the urge to do this:

If so then you’re not alone.  Welcome to the stressed out club. I’ve been stressed out for a few weeks-no scratch that-months now. My current state of oblivion is due to a combination of things: life, family, work, etc… Stress is one of those unfortunate things about life and there are many ways to deal with it-both positive and negative and we don’t want the latter.

So here are five positive ways to relieve stress and anxiety.

Exercise

This is a good way to relieve mental stress.  If you exercise regularly you’ll lower your stress hormones, improve your sleep quality and gain more confidence.

Aromatherapy

Light a scented candle  or Use essential oils. According to Healthline.com, these are some of the most common scents:

  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Vetiver
  • Bergamot
  • Roman chamomile
  • Neroli
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Ylang ylang
  • Orange or orange blossom
  • Geranium
Write

Jot your thoughts down in a journal. Whether it’s a notebook from Dollar Tree or a kawaii stationary journal, writing can help relieve stress.  Focus on what you’re grateful for or write about what’s troubling you.

Mindfulness

This is an excellent way of combating anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking. Mindfulness is a series of practices that keep you anchored to the present moment.  Ways to practice mindfulness include yoga and meditation. Here’s a brief list of resources:

Free Audio Resources for Mindfulness Meditation via Mindful magazine

Mindfulness Resources [pdf] via Stanford

Free Resources via The Free Mindfulness Project 

Listen to Relaxing Music

Music is another method to help relieve stress as it can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Slow paced instrumental music is highly recommended.  Here’s a few playlists via Spotify:

Best Relaxation Music

Calming Music

The Most Relaxing Playlist in the World

So how to do you feel? Still stressed? No matter here’s a few more resources for you:

16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety via Healthline.com

Stress and How to Lower It via Center For Young Women’s Health

1o1 Things To Do When You’re Stressed via Care.com

18 Ways to Calm Down When You’re Stressed – Entrepreneur

I hope this helps.  Have a wonderful weekend and please remember your existence is important. I’ll see you soon..

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Three Tips For Dealing With Disappointment

Well folks we’ve finally made it. Tonight 2018 comes to an end and we’ll have survived the second year of the orange troll’s reign in one piece more or less. This year was one full of disappointment in numerous ways.

  • A few of those we stan shocked us with their dismal words and actions, while other people’s problematic faves proved to be too problematic and entered the sunken place choosing to be enslaved to ignorance and mediocrity.
  • A segment of society showed their ass by continuing to act out their racism at the polls while another segment remained shocked and in denial that this was America-even though we know this IS America.  Children and their families have been tear gassed, separated, and abused.
  • Our actions have resulted in Mother Nature giving us wildfires, horrible hurricanes, and other turbulent natural disasters. And we lost some of the best among us great and small…
I miss him.

I could go on but it’s not my intention to sink you further into the mire of this disappointing year. What I want to know is…How are ya’ll feeling? 

Mood

Like it or not disappointment is part of life. Doesn’t matter  whether it’s personal, professional, relationship, etc.  It exists (Read this infographic from  bestpsychologydegrees.org on the psychology of disappointment).  As I stated three sentences ago, disappointment is an inevitable part of our lives, there’s no avoiding it.

So with 2019 looming around the corner, I wanted to  give you a three tips on how to handle disappointment.

1.Understand what’s taken place.

  • Disappointment can either be predictable and preventable or unavoidable and beyond our control.

2. Were our expectations reasonable?

  • Keep it realistic.
  • Did we set the bar too high or too low?
  • Is the outcome what we want?

3. Cope with it in a positive way

  • Channel your energy into other endeavors
  • Reevaluate perception and behavior
  • Redirect our energy and focus on positive solutions
  • Avoid self-loathing, blaming yourself, or blaming others
Here are a few helpful links:

How to Get Back on Track After Disappointing Yourself

4 Steps to Deal with Disappointment

Dealing with Disappointment in Life

11 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Overcome Disappointment

A Letter To INFJs About Dealing With The Pain Of Disappointment

Feeling better? 

That’s pretty much what I expected. But don’t worry we’ll get there. It might take a while but we’ll get there, I promise.

Whether great or small, when life disappointments come at us how we choose to respond is vital in becoming better people and improving our lives and the world.  As we enter 2019 I hope that when disappointment comes knocking at your door-cause it will come-you’ll be able to weather the storm.  And when you’re feeling down remember:

Until we meet again…

 

 

 

7 Tips to carry with you into 2017

It goes without saying that 2016 was a clusterfuck of a year.  I’m not even going to rewind and go over the bad, the ugly, and the horrible.  Instead, I wanted to share with you 7 tips to carry with you into the new year.

  1. Never settle.

I might have mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again. NEVER SETTLE. Whether it’s a relationship, job, etc. Know your value.

2. Self-care.

With the many bad things that  happened this year, I’ve learned more about self-care and how important that I engage in it.  There are various ways to self-care, you must find the way that works best for you.  I find listening to music, watching a movie or a something online that I find interesting, helps me.

I’m also going to focus  more on myself and what I want to do.

3. Leave it behind.

2016 was the year I left stuff behind that I didn’t need anymore. Whether it was bad friends, bad habits, etc. I’m leaving behind those things that have weighed me down and kept me stagnant.

4. Don’t rush.

When you see other people around your age succeeding or doing awesome things that you’re not , it’s easy to compare yourself to them.  It’s not healthy to do this. We each have our own roads and paths to travel at our own pace.  A lot of times when we look at other people we may feel inclined to play catch up.

When we rush, we make more mistakes and set ourselves back even further.

5. Be picky

With who you give your money to.

There are so many companies and individuals pulling at us to buy and or invest in their goods and services, it can be hard to discern which one deserve our hard earn cash. I’ve decided to be picky with who I give my money to.

I want my money to go to individuals and companies that are inclusive and champion the causes that I support and are concerned about.  There are too many businesses out there that want me money but don’t give a damn about people who look like me or support the issues I’m concerned about. They don’t put their money where their mouth is, or they do so in a half-assed manner and then want a pat on the back.

I work hard for my money, I grind from Monday to Friday work from Friday to Sunday.  Also I don’t make a lot so my money is precious. I want to be sure that I’m investing in things that are worthwhile.

About who you share your projects/goals with.

Some folks don’t care about your projects/goals.  They won’t support it in any way and they might be jealous of what you’re trying to do.

6. Save! Save!

I’ve got a few goals that I want to accomplish, but I need the monetary funds to do so.  This year I hope to save enough so I can take the next steps.  I spent a lot of years not saving so that ends now.

7. Always forward, forward always.

Though I’m anxious and scared of what the future will bring, I intend to continue to move forward. I can’t give up nor can I surrender. There will be days when I want to and there will be times when hope seems lost, but I must move forward. Even if I have to take some steps backward, I’ll continue to move forward.

forward-quote

 

 

Living Green: 7 Tips to help you have a green home

I originally wrote this for Uncanny Pop.

Having a green home gives you a lot of benefits. You‘ll save money, you‘ll have a healthy place for you and your family to live, and it‘s good for the environment. So here are a few things that you can do to fight high energy bills and climate change.

1. Check your insulation:
Insulation is important in that it keeps your home from losing heat. If you live in a house, make sure that there are no areas in your attic floor that have inadequate insulation. Follow the Department of Energy‘s recommendations.

Photo courtesy: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_sealing
Photo courtesy: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_sealing

2. Use Low-VOC products:
Always check that the paint you‘re using is a low-VOC or a no-VOC paint. When purchasing paints, you should look for the green seal. Also when you clean your home use non-toxic natural products or make your own green cleaning products!

3. Make Your Own Green Cleaning Products: Here are a few recipes courtesy of PathNet.org!

  • All Purpose Cleaner:
    Add 1/2 cup ammonia and 1/3 cup washing soda to a gallon of warm water. Use to clean floors, tiles, and painted walls.
  • Window and Mirror Cleaner:
    Put 1/4 cup white vinegar in a spray bottle, and fill to the top with water. Spray on desired surface, and rub with a newspaper or a rag. Squeegee dry.
  • Toilet, Tub and Tile Cleaner:
    Mix 1/2 cup borax and add enough lemon juice to make into a paste. Wet the sides of the surface and add the paste. Let stand for a few minutes, then scrub off and rinse.
  • Rug Stains:
    Dampen stained area with water, and rub in borax. Vacuum when dry.
  • Oven cleaner:
    Mix 1 cup of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Apply to surface and let stand for a few minutes. Scrub the surface with a scouring pad. Do not use this recipe in self-cleaning ovens.
  • Drain cleaner:
    Three words – Use a plunger. A hand plunger used every time the drain slows down will take care of almost any problem. In you need a cleanser pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, and then 1/2 cup
    vinegar. Let it fizz for a few minutes. Then pour down a teakettle full of boiling water. Repeat if necessary.
  • Mildew:
    Make a paste from salt and vinegar and rub into affected area.
  • Furniture polish:
    Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to 1 cup vegetable or olive oil. Apply with a soft rag.
  • General air freshener:
    Simmer a pot of water with cloves, an orange peel and cinnamon.
  • Natural Pesticide:
    To naturally keep ants and other insects away, add a few
    teaspoons of orange oil to your green cleaning products. To kill
    ants that are already around, just spray them with diluted orange
    oil.

4. Plant a Tree:
No you don‘t have to wait for Earth Day or other holidays such as Tu B‘Shevat or Arbor day to plant one! Planting a tree can lower your cooling costs by up to 25% while reducing heating costs by 20%! They also make your home even more comfortable and provide a habitat for birds. Trees and shrubs that are placed properly can act as windbreaks shielding your home from the cold winds.

Photo courtesy: http://www.clipartbest.com/tree-planting-clip-art
Photo courtesy: http://www.clipartbest.com/tree-planting-clip-art

5. Optimize Your Water Heater:
If you don‘t have one, purchase an insulative jacket around your water heater. The jackets cost between $10-20. You can also insulate the pipes around the water heater. You can purchase pipe insulation for less than a $1for six feet. Lastly, turn the water heater down to 120 degrees. This will save you money
and prevent scalding.

6. Program Your Thermostats:

thermostat
When you set your thermostat back when you‘re not home or while you‘re sleeping, you can save 10% on heating and cooling costs. Program your thermostat to 78 degrees F or higher during the summer and 62 degrees F or lower during the winter. You can even recycle your thermostats. For example the state government of Maine has a program. Check online to see where you can do this.

7. Change Your Bulbs:
Replace those incandescent light bulbs with CFLs bulbs. The CFLs might cost a little more than the incandescent bulbs, but you‘ll save $100 per year with them while using less electricity!

cfls
CFLs, photo courtesy of the Department of Energy

Itinerary: Planning for and attending a convention

***This was riginally posted on ComicsCrux.com for my JIMAA column and then I expanded upon it for Uncanny Pop and have altered it a bit for this entry.***

My fellow travelers, the convention season is now upon us. Many of you have attended some type of convention while others have never attended one. I’ve been to a few now and I’ve taken a long break from attending them. As I start back up this year going back to conventions, I wanted to share with you some tips of my own and via the world wide web that will help you be prepared and enjoy yourself. Let us proceed.

What You Should Do Months In Advance

Do Your Research: Find out what conventions you want to attend.

There are many conventions and it might be overwhelming to pick one that you would like to go attend. If you’ve never been to a convention, you might want to start with the local ones in your area and then fan out from there. You can make a list of cons that you would like to go to and then start with the first one.

To help you with your search there are a few websites which list almost every anime convention in the world by region, country, and state. Sites such as animecons.com and http://www.geekcal.com/ are excellent resources.

Do you want to attend a huge con, or would you rather start out with something smaller? Keep in mind that the larger the convention the bigger the fan turnout (Large cons can have anywhere between 15 and 40 thousand people attending), so if you have social phobia like I do you might want to start with a smaller convention.

Create a Budget

Once you’ve decided on the con you want to attend, the next thing is to create a budget.

This is important as you’ll need money to cover the following:

Travel/Hotel:

If the con you’re attending is nearby you’ll need gas money. If you have friends who are going with you you could car pool. You’ll also need money for parking. If a convention is at a hotel you won’t have to worry about that as parking is free.

Now if you’re attending a convention that’s farther away, make sure:

  • That your con takes place at a time when you will be able to vacation for 3 – 5 days.
  • Decide how you’re going to get there.  Are you going to fly? If you’re planning on a road trip, will you rent a car? Who will drive it? How much will gas cost?
  • Make sure you have more than one person who can drive, and that the car you’ve chosen is reliable and has enough room in it for the passengers and luggage.
  • Figure out who are you going to take with you, if anyone. Make sure you settle on who’s going to pay for what or how much each person’s going to chip in. Do this before you go! This has cost a lot of friendships.

Registration:

The majority of conventions you can’t get into free (unless you’re press) so you’ll have to pay a fee to enter and the price varies from con to con. Smaller cons usually cost less than the bigger ones so that’s also another reason to start with a small con.

Register early.  I can’t stress that to you enough. If you know for sure which convention you’ll attending then register early. The longer you wait to pay to more you’ll have to. Many conventions have early bird specials which are way cheaper than paying the day of.

There’s usually a difference of $15-$20 between the early price and the at-con price. If you pre-register, all you have to do is pick up your badge whatever day you arrive. At-con registration is expensive, stressful, and usually involves getting up at 5:30 am to avoid standing in a long line of other people who also forgot to pre-register. Usually registration for a con opens up about three months before it occurs, so be ready.

Bring enough spending money.

Remember to bring spending money too! You can easily spend more than $200 dollars at con on clothing, posters, DVDs, books, and other merchandise. One year I spent $150 (all on comics sadly) in one day. You will be very sad if you get to the con with your $25 and want to buy some souvenirs, but don’t have enough money.

So come prepared! Books and DVDs are often discounted, so there’s incentive to buy them there. Make sure that you know what you want to buy so that you’re not wasting your money. Also make sure what artists you would like to get a commission from. Commissions are usually more expensive than prints so just be aware of that.

Know if you are you going to cosplay.

If so, plan in advance. Buy or start making your costume at least two months in advance. That way you know for sure that’ll be shipped on time if you’re ordering it, or you’ll have plenty of time to make it.

Also when you’re packing, take cosplay into consideration. Think of how much space your costume and accessories need, and make sure you have that space. Are any of your travel mates doing large, bulky cosplays? Find out! Make sure you do the following:

    • Bring a sewing kit, duct tape, permanent markers, and/or whatever else you need to make emergency costume repairs. If your costume tears or breaks you’ll be very sad if you can’t fix it!
    • If you’re cosplaying, practice poses in costume beforehand. That way you’ll be ready to strut your stuff when people ask to photograph you – and they will if your cosplay is halfway decent!
    • Make sure your costume is appropriate for a potentially crowded con. Try to avoid long trailing pieces of clothing that could easily be stepped on or large accessories on your back that could hit people as you turn around. Your costume should allow you to move around easily and see reasonably well. If your costume does limit your vision, recruit a friend to escort you around the con or just try to stay in one place while you’re wearing it.

What to do a few days before the con:

Alright so now you know what you need to do in advance. Now here’s what you need to do a few days before you go:

Driving Preparations:

If you live a couple hours away from where the con is, give yourself plenty of time to get there in order to arrive at a decent time. Make sure you have time to settle into your hotel room and get a good night’s sleep the night before. You’re gonna need your energy!

Get Snacks!

You’re probably going to be at the con for most of the day, so you’re definitely going to need snacks. Here’s a list of some items that you should get. These food items are things that will help you keep your energy up, most are healthy and they travel well:

Granola Bars

Water

Trail mix

Power bars

Breakfast bars

Raisins

Candy

Gum

Dried fruit

Sandwiches

Peanut butter

Pocky

Snack sized fruit cups

Chips

Crackers

Spray cheese

Fresh fruit

Other Items to Bring:

  • Fresh clothing for each day
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)
  • Prescription medication
  • Photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
  • Money, credit card, ATM card
  • Cell phone (and charger)
  • iPod (with headphones and charger)
  • Camera and video camera (and charger)
  • Directions to hotel
  • Printed hotel confirmation
  • Printed airline/train/bus itinerary
  • Printed receipt of pre-registration
  • Printed convention schedule (to be discarded when updated version is available upon arrival)
  • Costume (and all costume pieces)
  • Business cards with contact info for new friends
  • Read the Guide:Read the guide to con before you go. You can do this by looking at the convention’s website and printing off a copy of the guide or take a few notes. This is a good way to decide what events you want to attend as well as where to locate where the artists are and what booths you want to buy from.  Don’t worry about planning every minute, just find out what interests you beforehand and make your decisions as you go. Do not try to attend everything that interests you! It isn’t possible, and rushing around all day to catch five minutes of everything will just make you feel tired and dissatisfied.What To Do At the Con:

    It’s the day of the con. You’ve done everything stated above and now you ready to set out and have fun. Here’s what to do.

    Wear Comfortable shoes and clothing:

    If you’re not cosplaying, this is a must as you will be doing a lot of walking and standing.

    Arrive Early:

    Parking fills up fast -especially on Saturday. Saturday is the busiest day of any convention so make sure you get there early if possible to find a parking space and just be aware there’s going to be a lot of people. This will also give you time to check out the schedule to see what you would want to do for the day.

    Look over the guide again:

    At registration, you’re given the guide which contains the con’s rules, as well as a detailed schedule of events. Take a couple minutes to look it over again and see if there’s anything else that you would like to attend as well as go over the things that you already wanted to attend. This way you won’t miss any of your favorite anime screenings, autograph sessions, or band performances.

    Get to popular events & panels early!

    Line up early for big-name events. For band performances, cosplay and AMV contests, and awards ceremonies, make sure you get there early. Lines can grow to epic proportions, and although chatting with fellow attendees in line can be fun, waiting 45 minutes is not. For example: When I attended MegaCon a few years ago, I arrived at one of the Star Trek panels a little late and it was already packed-standing room only-and then they stopped letting folks in!

    Do not be afraid to split up.

    It’s okay to split up. If you’re at con with friends, you might have a panel that you want to go to but some of your friends want to attend a different panel. Set up a designated time and place to meet, then go off to explore on your own or in pair if you’re part of a large group. Con has something for everyone, and no matter how much you and your friends have in common, you won’t all want to do the same thing all of the time!

    Remember to eat, sleep,drink water,shower,and brush your teeth.

    Don’t get so caught up in the excitement of attending the convention that you forget to take care of yourself. Eat lunch, even if it’s just grabbing a quick bite. Staying till midnight to catch a late night anime showing can be fun, but don’t stay into the wee hours every night. You’ll wake up feeling groggy and exhausted in the morning.

    And last but not least, please don’t forget to shower and brush your teeth because nobody likes a smelly convention go-er with bad breath. I can’t stress how much this is important. Nobody wants to stand in line next to, talk to, or bump into a stinky con attendee. I really don’t want to smell your funkiness so please make sure that every day at the con you’re so fresh and so clean, clean!

    Don’t spend the entire time at con doing the same thing.

    Don’t stay in the game room, or the dealer’s room all day, you’ll regret it later. Get out and try things that you don’t know anything about! You may find some new anime, manga, or friends in the process!

    Socializing is a tricky business especially if you’re anti-social like I am. But just get out and try and be yourself. Sometimes at a con, friendships are made and broken, and love can sometimes be found. Just take the time to get to know somebody before you give out personal information, if at all.

    A few more things:

    • If any attendees are harassing you, make sure to tell convention security. Check out this Facebook page.
    • If you’re attending all three days, wait till Sunday to buy things from the dealer’s room, that’s when the merchandise is cheapest. If you’re not attending all three days buy things on Friday as on Saturday you might not be able to find the stuff you’re looking for as other fans wipe out the merchandise. This doesn’t always happens.
    • Never buy food from the convention itself-there are always restaurants and food chains around the convention itself that are cheaper.
    • Make sure you give yourself enough time to leave and get home.You may be tempted to stay until later than you had planned on the last day of the con, but if you have school or work tomorrow, you may want to reconsider. Sundays are pretty short so, the important events are usually over, so don’t feel bad about skipping out on the last half-day if you have to get home.

    Finally, try to remember, conventions are supposed to be a fun experience, so try not to get overwhelmed or stressed out by the number of people and events and the limited amount of time. And that is how to plan to attend a convention. With this knowledge, your convention experience should be fun and exciting! Now go forth and attend a convention!

Top 5: Things Patrons Lose at My Library

Interior_Library

My library is always bustling with students, faculty, staff, and people from the community who use the library’s computers, study rooms, desks, and chairs. They read books, newspapers, magazines, do homework and chat with their friends.  On campus, the library is one of the main places that people come to relax, study, and hang out.

With that said, when it’s time for the library to close, folks start packing up to leave and it’s time for library staff do one last walk about before locking the doors and going home..  Upon doing the walkabout,staff push in chairs and straighten up the place and usually find things that need to be put in the trash or given to security for lost and found. Here are the most common things that we find:

  1. Headphones

headphonesA lot of times, students bring their own headphones instead of checking out the library’s and sometimes they’ll forget to take theirs back home with them. We don’t get a lot headphones left behind but they are commonplace to be on the list.

 

 

  1. Books

booksThese objects shouldn’t be a surprise on the list, it is a library after all and books are the top thing to get used. Depending on the night, I can pick up one book or more than ten around the library. It’s nice to know that our patrons are using our materials.

  1. Trash

trashSometimes folks at the the library get a little too comfortable and leave the remains of whatever they’re drinking or eating behind. They forget that there are several trash cans upon the premises where they can dump their scraps and papers.

 

 

 

  1. Jump drives

jump driveWhen students are sitting at the computer focused on their work, oftentimes they’ll leave their jump drive behind. Thankfully, other students are kind and come up to the desk to turn in the abandoned object. It’s because of this that the student is reunited with their lost jump drive.

 

1. Water bottles

waterbottlesI don’t know the exact number of bottles that have been left behind sitting on a desk or chair, but I do know is that there have been many. Some are half full while others haven’t even been opened, and I feel so bad for throwing them out knowing that the water has gone to waste. As far as I know there isn’t a recyclable bin nearby so the bottle also goes to waste. I don’t know what it is about water bottles that they’re the top thing that’s left behind.
And that ends this list. Until next time!

8 Things I Learned in 2014

In just a few hours 2014 will be over, 2015 will arrive and I will welcome it with open arms. But until then, I wanted to share what I’ve learned this year.

1. Don’t compare yourself to others. 

I’m 32 years old and I look at what other people who are in my age group have done and I become disappointed in myself. I feel as if I’ve should be farther than where I am in my life. I keep comparing myself to others and it’s not doing me any good.

I’ve learned that each person is on their own path in this thing we call life and though at times I feel as if I should be further along, I know I just need to stay focused on who I am and what I want to accomplish as I continue to work hard to get to those mountaintops. I don’t need to worry about what others are doing. I can be inspired by their journeys, but I don’t need to compare myself to them and feel as if I’m a loser.

2. Never give up, never surrender.

This phrase from Galaxy Quest will forever be one of my mantras.  This year was the year I almost quit writing for good. I had accomplished writing my first novel and I was so excited about the next step in the process-editing. As I started the process my excitement came crashing down and felt so frustrated and angry with myself. I felt that I should have done better with my writing and I also felt stupid.

My frustrations boiled up to the point of almost no return and I began to hate writing and wanted to walk away from writing for good. That’s why I haven’t written much on here, my love of writing just left me.  Thankfully I decided to take a break and when I did a few good things happened.

  • 3. When frustrated, work on something else.

When I put my novel aside and left it there, I worked on other things. I published my third poetry ebook, and I started the pop culture blog Uncanny Pop with one of my Twitter friends. I didn’t stop writing, I just worked on something else and my love of writing has slowly returned.

4. An accomplishment is an accomplishment no matter how small. 

I might not have accomplished much in some people’s eyes or my own this year, but I did do something. I wrote a novel (which was on my bucket list), and I published four books (Where My Imagination Takes Me, Attack on Love, Poesy Rainbow, Outside of the Box) this year.  I had two of my stories published in an eZine and a comic book anthology, in addition to creating Uncanny Pop which is slowly developing a following since its inception in October (the blog has about 235 followers so far). Finally I surpassed my yearly reading goal by reading 68 out of 40 books for the year.

5. Change is scary but it’s also necessary for growth.

This year I cut my hair for the first time ever. I said goodbye to my long locs and hello to short hair. I was scared to do it at first but I overcame my fear and plunged right in. I’m hoping to make changes in other areas of my life in 2015, I’m scared but I know it’ll help me grow as a person.

6. Though the struggle is real, don’t give up hope.

Things in my personal life got a little bit worse, my family has struggled all of my life to make ends meet and right now things are extremely tight.  I’m the sole person who brings in an income-and it’s not a lot at all. On top of that my mom and I have been sick-my mom’s been in and out of the hospital this year, and I’m dealing with my graves disease. There’s a lot of stressful things going on in our lives (police brutality, racism, finances, health, etc.) but though we struggle we continue to not give up hope.

7. Let it go. 

I haven’t seen Frozen (and probably never will due to the many parodies of the song) but that phrase has stuck with me. Sometimes you need to let go of the things and people in your life. There are 10 types of toxic people that you need to leave behind in 2014. Let them go! They’re not worth dealing with anymore.

Many days go by where I’m not sure if I really have friends, but I look forward to the new year and what it has to offer in the way of my relationships. I want to have my own circle of trust that I can depend on.

8. Do your thing!

Be you! Don’t try to be anyone else. The world needs you, you are unique and no one else could replace you. Keep practicing, keep working hard. Don’t give up! Whatever goals, ideas, projects, etc. that you have always wanted to do, do it in 2015, find a way to make it happen. Don’t wait on others, just plunge right in.

I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year! I hope 2015 is way better than 2014 and that you’ll be healthy, happy, and flawless!

I’ll see you in 2015.

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-Tali