Hello Followers & Future Followers,
A few weeks ago, I moved my site Be Iconnic to Naturally Nic
Please re-direct all your follows, likes, comments, and attention to there – Thanks everyone ❤
Disclosure: I personally believe that mental health awareness should not be restricted to one day a year. I wrote this after finding out about recent suicides on my university campus. I thought today was an appropriate day to share.
Check out my acknowledgement of my own mental health here.
I always wanted to be strong.
Imagine, 5’2″ me, the strongest woman in the world. I could build bridges, end wars, encourage world peace. I can bring diverse populations together. No more hunger; no more pain.
I can do this all because I am strong. My physical body would pave the way for the toughest journeys I would face. My fierce mentality would push me towards my goals. I would never give up.
I am strong.
But, this is all a fantasy.
When I experience my darkest episodes of depression and anxiety, I feel so weak. Like my physical body is burning away into a pile of ashes that will be blown into disappearance. Everyone will forget me. My soul feels unworthy. It feels like the runt of the litter. The worthless one.
How can someone so weak ever dream about being so strong?
And that is what mental illnesses can do to you. After hearing about a recent suicide at my university, I let out a huge sigh. Another individual, like me, suffering from a mental illness was taken way too soon.
Whenever I hear about suicides I shiver at the reality of it. That COULD have been me. I am beyond happy right now. Haven’t experienced an episode of depression or anxiety in months. But, I have been there. And for all I know, I might experience that again someday.
I am strong. Not because of my muscle mass or mental ability to retain information. I am strong because of the power I have to fight back against the darkness in my life. This is a strength that not everyone has. BUT, this is a strength that we all should be encouraging in one another.
A lot of my strength has been internally founded. I have discovered ways to overcome my episodes. Yes, I am strong. But, some of this strength was formulated through the positive energy around me.
A simple smile I received from a stranger; A “how are you text” from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while; A quick and quiet stroll in the park with a good friend.
These little events are what made me strong. On the exterior, I appear unbreakable. On the inside, my soul would weep in pain. This is a feeling I hope to never experience again, but this is a feeling I know so many individuals are familiar with.
Before you decide to bully someone (like seriously grow up if you still do this), purposely avoid eye contact with a stranger, or send any other form of negative vibes their way, please consider what these people might be going through.
Sometimes the people with the STRONGEST exteriors are in the deepest pain. Remember this.
The death of a young person really puts life into perspective.
I’m sitting here in my living room with the lights turned off because I cannot afford to pay expensive hydro bills. The darkness that fills the room leaves me clenching my eyeballs trying to hold back tears. I saw a friend from high school in a casket just a few hours ago. Twenty-One years old, my age, already dead. As a child, I always believed young people were never supposed to die. I think a lot of people still live with that mentality.
We plan our lives and goals assuming we have more time. All my dreams will come true in the future. But what future do we have? As saddest as I sound, life can be snatched from you at any second. Have you lived your life to the fullest? I know I haven’t.
Even in death Simon had the most positive energy illuminating from his casket.
In his Final Testament (a document Simon wrote before he passed), he wrote that he created an immobilization of ideas and memories he wants to ripple forward after he dies. I want the same to be true for my life after I die.
Luckily (and unluckily depending on how you look at it) there is no “countdown clock” ticking away the time we have left on this Earth. I am a big believer that our body is a vessel that holds our soul for a given period of time. But, what I fear the most is being forgotten. I want to positively influence each person I meet while living on Earth. I want my eternal energy to live on in people once my body decomposes.
As I placed my trembling hand on the casket of a fellow friend, I promised him that his uplifting energy and illuminating presence will never die. I will live each one of my days the same way Simon had. I will be kind to every living being that I meet. In my darkest times, I will fight negativity, disease, and failure with a bright smile on my face.
The death of a young person really puts life into perspective. Live out your dreams, your passions, and aspirations while you are alive. Be kind, be positive, and be bright.
I have so many issues with people who constantly complain about school. And yes, I totally understand coming from a Middle-Upper class, European-Canadian home, I do hold privilege in the education institution. Curriculums have been catered to my upbringing and I recognize the incorrectness in this.
However, I am a first-generation immigrant and was the first person in my immediate family to graduate high-school and receive a bachelors degree. My family’s lack of education has constantly pushed me to continue mine.
Catholic school, private school, studying abroad in Italy, university (both in Canada and America), and soon-to-be graduate school… I have been granted an education, IN A FIELD I LOVE, that many people only dream of. I am grateful for this. One day, I will share the knowledge I have obtained with others.
As a journalism and women’s studies student, I am bombarded daily with assignments, essays, and articles to write. Oh and did I mention that I need to stay up-to-date with current event stories from all over the world? This isn’t to devalue any other major, but I complete way more assignments than the average college student.
Sometimes I wish that my programs would consist of only two exams and one major assignment. This is the standard course load I see in a lot of other majors. But, these were the degrees I chose. And, I have no regrets.
I love school. I would chant it from the top of the CN Tower in Toronto if I could. Sure, those late nights writing 20 page papers were brutal at times. But, I’ve been dreading graduating university ever since I was in Preschool. The end came so soon. How, in the matter of months will I be done 2 university degrees? Sure, I can probably prolong my degree. Take a 5th year, mess around and take a bunch of random courses. But, I’m already taking an extra semester I don’t really need. For what? To boost my already high average into a perfect 4.0. Is that really necessary? Nope, not at all.
This isn’t to brag about my knowledge. Everyone is smart in their own way. But, I saw something the other day that completely disheartened me. And it was this…
It’s so easy to claim you hate school when a big assignment is due. School is indeed stressful at times. But, if you’re constantly going to complain about your workload, skip class, or put in the bare minimum… You should not be in school. School, isn’t for everyone.
My issue arises because I acknowledge that school is a privilege. My parents were unable to receive an education because of familial and economic reasons. Though that was over 30 years ago, these inabilities to access education still occur today. Before you complain about hating school, think of all the individuals who were and still are unable to receive the same opportunity you have been given.
People are denied an education because:
So please, if learning really is a burden for you, either think twice about your position of privilege or simply question whether a higher education is right for you. As I stated previously, school isn’t for everyone.
I lost myself in the process of finding myself.
Let me explain…
While reminiscing through teenaged photos of myself, I began to feel empty. I get it, people change. I always knew I was going to. I frequently look back at the past. I like soaking in all the fond memories I have. But, something was different this time around. I did not feel happy looking at old pictures of myself. I realized, I missed the old me. Who I am today is not who I’m supposed to be. Who I was in the past was the real me.
For clarification, when I reference the past I’m talking about 14-17 year old me. I never acknowledged high-school as being my peak. And I definitely hope it wasn’t. But, there was something so true about younger me. I took hundreds (probably thousands) of SELFIES of myself. Smiling, sticking out my tongue, and blowing kisses. Now, I can’t bear to open up my front camera without feeling some disgust for the person I see. There is always something to fix. My nose, my skin, my hair, my eyes… Yet, teen Nicole did not morph a thing.
Maybe it is the culture we are in right now. There are so many apps to morph your face and body into something you are not. Even though I know this Facetune/Photoshop/Instagram culture has something to do with it, my feelings of resent lie deeper. Everyone who knows me would probably say that I was always the popular, outgoing type. They are wrong. Looking back at these pictures, I realize I was SO FUCKING WEIRD! And I love it; I miss it; I want to be it! I did not give a shit about what people thought about me. And now I do.
That is my problem. Somewhere between the end of high-school and the start of university, I lost myself. I was that fun, artistic, stoner-chic, poet chick. I loved the person I was. I dressed how I wanted to, drew weird pictures, wore blotchy, no-brand makeup, but was completely content with who I was. Then, I changed.
I changed myself to be like everyone else. By the looks of my photo timeline, this transition happened gradually. Every photo included in this blog post was posted on my Instagram account ages ago. I used to take a strange photo and upload it immediately. I would upload photos at 3am, sometimes would upload 4 a day. Then I learned that your social media image and presence is apparently really important. Now, I never post.
I’m wondering if this acknowledgement of my lost self will lead me to becoming my true self again. Maybe this whole time that I was “trying to find myself” only meant that I would eventually return to the person I once was.
I thought about you everyday.
You were the first thought I had when I woke up in the morning. You were the last thought I had before I went to sleep.
Wherever I went, you were on my mind. I would walk through a store and imagine outfits I might wear when we are together. I would plan what club, restaurant, or bar I went to in hopes that I would run into you there.
I would imagine scenarios of us in my head. You in bed with me. You at this party. You having dinner with my family. None of these scenarios ever played out.
When you would message me, I would get butterflies. When we would hang out, I lived in the moment with you. And when you would leave, I would think about the next time we would be together.
I thought about you everyday. Until one day, I didn’t.
I was out living my life. Out, thinking about me. Then, I felt as if I was missing something. I felt so whole. I felt so clear-headed.
Then it hit me, I stopped thinking about you. I wasn’t missing you anymore. You were no longer part of my everyday thoughts and routines.
I felt a little uneasy about this new feeling. This new life, which you were not apart of.
And then, I started thinking about you again. But this time, it was because I knew it would be the last.