Bullet Journaling – Refresher

If you haven’t heard of bullet journaling, it is a minimalists way to schedule your life. This is a system that combines several of your journals, schedulers, and calendars into one easy to keep track of book. Or so they say. Now before you get offended, hear me out. I tried this system back in November of last year, you can read that post here, and I failed.  My failure had nothing to do with the system and more to do with my perfectionism. I wanted beautiful spreads and amazing visuals on each page. Eventually, it became too much with the holidays and I never made it to December. To be honest, I don’t even know where that notebook is currently.

Now, lets discuss why this system failed for me. There are several reasons, some of them mental and some of them physical. These range from not having the right notebook, to not making the time, and not putting forth the effort. “Oh, I don’t need to write that down, surely I will remember it!” Famous last words. I never did remember it and I never did write it down.

Excuse #1: Not having the right tools.

Now, don’t think that you have to have the most famous bullet journal or the most expensive pens and products to do a bullet journal. You just have to be happy with what you do have. You can just use a composition notebook and a bic ballpoint. You don’t need the fancy supplies to get started, and honestly, I wouldn’t go out and buy them until you have created the habit.

However, in my mind, I didn’t have the right supplies. I didn’t want to use the inexpensive supplies I had on hand because I have to get excited about a new habit, or it won’t form. If I don’t have crisp, clean notebook and a pen just for it, I won’t be happy long enough to continue.  So, I bought the Leuchitturm 1917, which is like the official bullet journal. I did not buy pens for this, because I already have my Staedtler Triplus Fineliners that I love and work perfectly.

Excuse #2: I can’t make my spreads look like those on Pinterest

This is a very very common misconception. The spreads are beautiful, and one day, I will get there. But it is better for me to form the habit with the minimalist attitude. So, here is a picture of my year at a glance spread below. You will see that I just made it simple. I also added a thin piece of washi tape across the top, not even perfectly lined up *gasp*, so that i had a quick reference to jump back to. *personal information is blacked out*

I decided to only do 6 months because that would carry me to the end of the year. When the next 6 months arrive, if I am still doing bullet journaling, I will add it to it then another 6 month spread. Besides, who wants to get bogged down on trying to keep up with a full year at once. Guess what else? I only used black and white on this page. I want to get into the habit before I learn new ways to create the same spread. I highly recommend this way of thinking.

Excuse #3 – I don’t even know what I should track or that I want to track.

If you look online, especially Pinterest, you will find a huge list of trackers. But I say NAY! Don’t get bogged down with all the trackers available. Add trackers as you want to, and how you want to. Throughout the process you will find that you will come across things that are important to you specifically that you want to track. For me, I want to track my 100 mandala challenge! This challenge is important to me and something that I want to complete before the end of the year. Here is a look at how I am tracking this, in my 2-page tracker spread.

As you can tell, I drew  a simple mandala and also included the website where I got the challenge from. I then write a date on the number and color it in. This is my favorite spread so far. It appeals to my artistic side, as well as my need to track this challenge.

Excuse #4 – I’m too depressed/anxious about keeping up with something else.

Yes, depression and anxiety is something that we all have to deal with at one time or another. Some of us even struggle enough to be medicated. But that is what is so great about the bullet journal process, if you miss a day or a week, you can jump back in and there are no predetermined pages that you use up. You determine how and how much you use your bullet journal. I decided to try to list all the things that make me happy and put it at the beginning of my journal. This ensures that even on the days that are considered my lows, I have something to keep me from going under. Take a look at this below.

Excuse #5 – I’m too busy

Honestly, we are all too busy if we believe it, but the truth of the matter is, we can make time for anything! After planning out my first two weeks, I saw just how busy I wasn’t. I was too busy to add work, but not too busy to add fun. So I knew by looking at these two almost blank weeks, that I would see just how much time I really had to play with. Of course, I didn’t mark down all the ER visits and power outages and mom life with many many kids, but outside the home, I didn’t have much obligations. My next step is to track my hours, find out where everything goes. Check out these two weeks below. As you can tell, they are all really really simple.

So as you can tell, I didn’t want to do anything too crazy and I wanted to keep my trackers simple. At the beginning of each week, I also track my social medias. This shows me if I am doing a good job or if I need to work harder. Because I am just starting out, I feel like my numbers are embarrassing, BUT everyone has to start from the bottom.

I hope you enjoyed this walk through my bullet journal. Remember, you don’t have to wait until January 1st, to start. You can start in the middle of the month like I did. The objective is to start somewhere. Do you bullet journal? How successful are you with keeping it up. I would love to know your bullet journal experiences in the comments below!

Depression and Anxiety are real!

Depression and anxiety are two things that a lot of people don’t understand can go hand in hand. I may seem outgoing and happy, but dying on the inside. I love having people over to my house, but it is nearly impossible to get me to go party anywhere else. I’ve made my environment comfortable and to step out always causes such anxiety.

I wrote this poem the other day. Its something that has been gradually coming to me. It almost dictates how someone with depression and anxiety may feel overwhelmed by circumstance. I have days where I wanna be left alone, but I don’t ever want to feel lonely. There is a difference.

 

Just Leave Me Alone
Do you ever feel like you need to get away

from the hustle and bustle and day-to-day?

Do you ever want to push everyone further,

and inside yourself, crawl and whither?

Do you ever love your family so deep,

That you try to save them from this heap?

A heavy burden your carry within your heart,

so heavy from inside it rips you apart?

Leave me be, don’t come any closer,

The anxiety runs over me like a dozer.

The intensity of co-existing with another,

Is too much to take, I feel smothered.

Inside the quiet space, I’ve made for my mind,

Is the only sanity, I fear I can find.

I’m screaming inside, do you hear that?

The pressure is holding me down flat.

I can’t breathe, I can’t make a complete thought,

The darkness is overwhelming making me rot,

Let me fight this insanity in my solitude,

Or inside me will grow this feud,

And overwhelm me until I expire,

Maybe only that will put out this fire.

I encourage you to listen to those around you. I’ve heard that it is often most the happiest people around you that have the worst battle with depression. Sometimes a little compassion can go a long way.

Just as a disclaimer: I am not suicidal, nor do I wish to perish. Its my belief that everyone has a battle with darkness inside them and how you decide to fight that battle is as individualized with the battle itself. We all need a moment to be ourselves in the still, in the quiet.

Do you suffer with depression and anxiety? Do you know someone who does? Do you have any tips or pointers on how to deal with stress playing a role in the severity of that suffering? Comment below and lets help the world become a better place together.

Dealing With Loss

Those of you that have been following me may have noticed I have been MIA for a few days. The reason is because we lost my brothers wife tuesday night and we’ve been dealing with all of this.

I was working on this piece during my last conversation with her and when my brother called me in tears. Our family has been struck hard by loss with the passing of my grandmother Thursday morning as well.

I feel like this piece speaks wonders about each person is so complex and unique and yet we all entwine with those around us making each family a beautiful masterpiece.

Defeated

This poem I wrote when I was in a very dark place in my life. So much was going on that I felt overwhelmed. As I re-read it, I remember those dark times and how all felt so hopeless. Thank God I’m out of that place and now I can look back and see just how far I fell into the darkness and depression. I remember wondering who would even care if I still existed, who would even notice my absence. I was alone, I was tired and I was on the brink of giving up.

I’m so tired of always fighting,

I’m tired, worn out and weak,

Who really cares if I exist,

I’m just called a whore or freak,

When I am too weak to carry on,

Who will pick up my sword and shield,

“They” are ripping me apart,

And to “them” I bow my head and yield.

This is my existence, no use fighting now,

I have dug my six foot grave,

For once in this miserable existence,

Am I forced to willingly behave.

As I gaze off in the distance,

The end is near, so I look to the ground,

I’m grasping for anything, anyone?

All that I ever loved, is no where to be found.

They have forgotten this war I wage,

They have just stood by for the show,

As the sword pierces my heart I yell,

Now I’m finally free from this woe.

Brick by Brick

The following poem was one that I wrote several years ago when I was told we were getting a divorce. The finality of it set in. I had been a wife for so long, I hadn’t even realized how to be just me. I hope that it inspires others that may be going through the same thing.

At once I saw no fault in your eyes,

Never thought you were capable of lies,

My heart beat faster when you were near,

I never thought that feeling would disappear.

My heart had wings, flew to cloud nine,

I was so happy you were all mine,

Your expansive knowledge amazed me,

From my past, I felt you saved me.

But throughout the years, bricks in hand,

You showed me how you take a stand,

With ever hurtful and painful memory,

You started to build what now you see.

I started to watch you closer still,

And analyzed what really I feel,

The mortar laid thicker with each lie,

I saw our love had started to die.

The pain and hurt so fully inside me,

Suppressed who I was meant to be,

I forgot who I was, I assumed your new role,

But in the mirror, I saw it taking its toll.

This wall is building around my heart,

The blindness of love is breaking apart,

Alone with myself, I find no comfort,

I’m screaming inside, “Abort! Abort!”

I push against this wall, I want out!

I’m tired of the negativity and doubt,

Like a bird in a cage, I want to be free,

Of this wall, you’ve built up around me.

I can’t breathe, I’m starving for true love,

I get up the courage and put on a glove,

Now fighting for my existence, It’s on now!

To your feet no more, will I ever bow.

One by one they start to fall down,

No more in your lies will I surely drown,

You can lay it on however thick,

But I will fight you forever, Brick by Brick.

By Charity Woods, 2011