New Year, New Site

Hello, all! Hope you have all stuck around whilst I’ve been taking some time away from posting every waking moment. If so, I truly appreciate you and your support for my content.

With that appreciation, I now ask for a huge favor in my next endeavor. I’ve hinted at it in the past, but only recently have I taken the plunge and have gone head-first into new territory.

Yes, I now have my own domain, a new self-running website, and new content to spring at you. I want to fully dedicate myself to the world of blogging, which means each post will involve more time and effort to hopefully better serve as a resource for my readers.

So what’s new with my site? alliemaelynn.com is still just me, the same ol’ person at the keyboard typing away about whatever I deem important and inspirational to discuss. I’ll still be discussing the same types of topics I already do, including mental health, spirituality, and sustainability. These are all still very important to me.

However, I really want to hone in on these topics into one overarching goal: to help others live a life prioritizing wellness. I’ve always considered the term “wellness” as one requiring a multi-faceted understanding of physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of ourselves.

By becoming more mindful and grounded in what makes us better selves, we can then translate that into wellness beyond ourselves. We are more aware of how our choices and actions affect others and the world around us. This is where my passions for sustainability, veganism, and advocacy come into play. We establish the foundation of wellness within ourselves, and then we can focus our intentions outward.

That’s all fine and dandy, but what else is new besides an actual domain name? Since I plan to take more time with each post I write to ensure they can be easily shared and helpful for you, I’m cutting back on how often I post each week. Let’s be honest, it was already crazy busting out 5 posts every week, but I still plan on sharing 3 different posts: one post for your own wellness, one for outward wellness, and one for me just to chat about whatever tickles my fancy. As always, you can find these posts shared across my social media platforms with a new emphasis on Pinterest.

These three posts each week will also include a new tidbit at the end of my long-form rambling, and that is a mindful meditation. In a few short sentences, I’m including a spiritually inclined devotion to provide a higher focus and purpose behind what I share, as well as start the day on a gracious, humble foot. A goal for myself this year is to become more open and involved in my faith rather than tiptoe around it in fear of offending others, but at the end of the day, this is my site, and if you’re here for my opinions and beliefs, then that’s a big part of it.

Besides all that jazz, I’m just going with the flow and seeing where this new step takes me. With greater flexibility and independence on my own website, I really have no clue what possibilities could come from this, but I’d really love to be able to make my blog a “side hustle,” as the kids call it, and put my heart and soul into my work. Not like I already did, but now I have a reason to be more focused and serious about what I do as an online creative.

Again, thank you all so much for being a part of this journey. I highly encourage you to join me on alliemaelynn.com and subscribe to my posts. Share my site and posts with others who might benefit from them, and please provide any feedback you have so I can make my site a resourcefor you to enjoy.

Change is scary, and so is going into an unknown where I could fall flat on my face, but I’m ready for the challenge.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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Who’s Next?

A lot of this news goes back to my time doing Ground in Gratitude, so I really didn’t have a chance to discuss it.

But the news keeps coming. Someone new every day, it seems. It feels like what it would be living in the McCarthy era accusing each other of Communist ties.

Countless women are now coming forward to point out a past of sexual misconduct from male coworkers, men that just so happen to be in the public eye.

It’s a lot to take in. For some people fired on the spot, it’s hard to believe the claims, even as a woman myself proud that others are standing up for their rights and are brave enough to come forward.

There is no good or bad way to go about this, the process of accusing others, addressing it, and experiencing the aftermath. But when it all seems to ripple upon each other, the same message over and over again, it turns into the phenomenon associated with terrorism and mass shootings: we see the same kind of news and headlines, and we start to become numb to it all. We aren’t taken aback anymore. We don’t feel much of anything.

That lack of empathy hurts the most. When we’re constantly aware of every bit of news out there, numbers and names become less human. These are people, as real as you and I, facing some difficult burdens. And yet we can only do and feel so much before it gets far too overwhelming. Plus, these countless individuals coming forward, anonymous or not, deserve better than mediocre, half-hearted sentiments. They deserve action.

Again, I don’t want to somehow compare apples to oranges in referring back to gun violence in this scenario, but I’m getting this quick post out there for others who might feel the same way. When our dialogue surrounding current events becomes the same story over and over again, that raises a red flag. We have the energy to be so intent in keeping up and knowing who’s who, but we could devote more to moving forward, too.On that note, I and so many of us can probably make a personal connection to these claims and scenarios. Even on my campus, recently two footballs players were accused of rape and sexual assault. The administration later held an open forum for students to ask questions, and the answers were…less than satisfying.

Like so many issues, we’re quick to point out the flaws in the system, but we’re at a loss when deciding how to effectively address the problem and prevent its recurrence.

Admittedly, the problem of sexual misconduct isn’t all occurring at the same time: we just all decided to speak out about it at once, turning into a crowd of people all shouting at the same volume, trying to be heard. The men whose reputations are tainted are becoming a wall of faces, blurring out of immediate focus.

Those who have done wrong deserve to face the consequences. Besides the presidency (did we forget about that?), entities have done well in handling issues of sexual misconduct. But this is cleaning up the mess that’s always been there.

For however long it might take, we’ll keep seeing the news pop up with someone new at fault. Once this subsides, the real question will be, what are we doing differently? How are we solving this problem? Those who need justice will receive what’s coming to them in due time. I’m more interested now in seeing what comes next. Is it truly a phase that will just die down and pass by like another trend? Or will we start seeing headlines about changes in major industries changing policies and leadership? Let’s stop hitting the rewind button. I want to hear more about here and now: what can we all do now to make a difference and put humanity back in the recycled headlines?Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

Grieving and Growing

Many researchers have laid out a basic template for experiencing grief, but there’s so much more between the lines.

When hearing the word “grief,” we automatically think of the cliche five stages of emotions in a neat little line, all arising when a loved one dies.

Well, think again.

In my studies in grieving, which already remains abstract when we all interpret and experience grief differently, I’ve found myself resonating with the topic much more than I had anticipated.

I’m blessed to say that at this point, my first major loss was earlier this year, and that was my dog. I have drifted apart from friends, but no immediate loved ones have lost their lives. Again, for that, I am so grateful.

But I believe grief can manifest itself in situations beyond mortal loss. In life, we’re constantly changing, constantly losing and gaining, so inevitably we react to these changes in both positive and negative ways. And just because we’ve felt a certain way toward a particular change doesn’t mean we’ll always experience the same reaction. Again, it’s quite a difficult topic to pin down.

At the end of class the day we discussed grief, we were asked to answer the question, “What is your most vivid experience with grief?” Although prior to this lecture I had never considered answering the way I did, I felt compelled to say my most immediate, emotional encounter with grief was the loss of myself. The loss of the identity that my eating disorder so desperately craves.

I can still remember so clearly the first time my family had an intervention with me. The first time I myself realized I had a problem that I was ignoring and outright denying. I was at a point where I especially could not see myself as I was, malnourishing myself. Constantly thinking about food and my body. Losing a noticeable amount of weight in a short time. 

As I said, I was in denial that my mindset and intended lifestyle were not sustainable. That my “goal weight” and “ideal body” weren’t possible without slowly killing myself to achieve them. 

When realization hit me like a ton of bricks, I cried harder than I had ever had in my life. I remember going downstairs to my bathroom and just sobbing, getting so furious with myself that I had done what I had. That I had spent the last few months completely consumed in a daze of self-harm.

Accepting my reality, the stage I was at, the consequences I’d face if I continued, was my only way to truly begin recovery. Inevitably, I have frequently ebbed and flowed through various points of recovery, but knowing my mental illness and how it looks to me is crucial in responding to its corresponding emotions.

I have often bargained with myself, thinking of denying my eating disorder’s tendencies to become healthier, an internal battle waged that for most people wouldn’t take a second glance at making a decision. Or bargaining that certain behaviors aren’t “that bad,” that my weight isn’t “too low.” Again, acceptance and tenancity to counter these thoughts are key.

So grief is just an aspect of my psyche. I grieve the loss of an identity that has a perfect body, that can do everything with ease, that thrives on being the small, petite one. I grieve for my mind that is genetically always prone to self-harm. I grieve for an unattainable fantasy that I can always be the same size forever, making me feel special and unique.

I don’t hate this grief. It’s welcomed like an old friend. It has made me more mindful, more determined, more empathetic. It’s not some organized process you finish in due time, but a new perspective to value.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie