Dustin’ That Ass Off

When I’m feeling bad about anything in my life I use it as motivation. I use my emotions to push me towards the things I need to do in order to succeed. There will always be experiences, people, and tragedies that will occasionally knock you down no matter what you do to prepare. But there has not been one single instance in my life where I have been knocked down and just laid there. I take a moment to breathe and then I get my ass up, dust myself off and I make a plan.

I’m a firm believer in using the bricks life throws at you and building yourself up to be even stronger. “Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.” -Ralph Waldo Emmerson

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If you’re sad, be sad. If you’re hurt, then be hurt. Allow yourself to go through those feelings and witness your fear. But give yourself a deadline to feel that way, because there is only so much one can do when they’re feeling bad for themselves. I like to cry it out, take a hot lavender bath, make myself an amazing meal, and get a full 9 hours of sleep if possible (I realize that’s not always an option for some people..) and then I wake up the next morning and give all my anger, sadness, confusion, and pain up at the gym. It works every time. I leave the gym feeling like a new woman.

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But the biggest thing I’ve learned from the recent let-downs in my life is this: you have to make an effort to be strong, you have to fight back against negativity and self-doubt every day, and you have to disregard anyone’s desire to blow out that flame that you work so hard to ignite within. And the most important thing is that you do all of that with love and grace. Because anybody can be a fighter, but not everyone can go about it in a gentle and loving way.

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Getting Rid of Toxic People

“You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend, or a new acquaintance — you don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and continues to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go.” -Danielle Koepke

 

 

It’s How You See Yourself

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“Your job is to see people as they really are, and to do this, you have to know who you are in the most compassionate possible sense. Then you can recognize others.” -Anne Lamott

Do you understand? Read it twice. Love every inch of yourself. Embrace every good part and every bad part about you — do it without making up excuses. Be humble. Be gentle. And then it will all begin to make sense. 

XOXO, Bailey Mikell

My Intention for 2014

Usually I take some time to write a post about my year. Obviously everyone needs to know how I felt about it, right? ;) But this year it feels best to keep it short & sweet — 2013 was many things.. and a year I will never forget. I feel gratitude for the people, experiences, and challenges it brought into my life. But I have shared my thoughts on many things over the last year on this blog & I feel as though it’s time to truly put the good, and the bad, in the past.

With that said, I woke up this morning eager to start the first day of the year. When I first thought about making New Years resolutions I did what I do and got busy over-thinking (naturally) Here’s my first list aka clusterfuck: Get a 4.0 during Spring semester, finish my first half marathon with a great time (or just finish, that’s cool too), improve my performance at work, make my apartment more Pinterest-y, or beat last years time when I compete in the Spartan this June for the 2nd year. But I quickly realized all of that doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. These things are like the sprinkles on top of the cake — nice, but not necessary.

I’d rather commit the year to improving myself all together and putting energy towards being the well-rounded, loving woman I know that I can be someday. I love my life and the adventures I’m about to embark on and I plan on doing the things listed above. But I know there is more to “it” than just that.

So as I sat in my last pose in my last yoga class of 2013 I set my intention for 2014: Create more love and bring it into all the different areas in my life. My career, education, relationships, yoga practice, and the things that bring me pain could all use less structure and more love. Pure, undeniable love makes the cake — marathons, good grades, a nice job, etc. are the sprinkles.

“Forgive others. Not necessarily because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” -Unknown
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I have really focused on coming from love when handling hard situations over the last 2 months. There have been times where my heart has ached, I’ve felt anger, confusion (ya lots of that) and betrayal. Moments where I had 2 options: be an emotional biatch or take a big deep breath and remember it’s better to be happy than right. I reminded myself that it’s not what happens to me in life, it is how I react. AKA I calmed my sassy brazilian ass down and let whatever was ruffling my feathers go.
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So when people or situations bring me pain I will choose to bring compassion, understanding, patience, forgiveness, and above all I will come from love. One of the most important lessons I learned in 2013 was that those who bring negativity and sadness to your life need exactly the opposite in return. They need love. It’s true.. those who hurt others need love more than we could ever truly imagine.

So here we go babes. Another year down where I hope you feel like you kicked some ass, but if not there’s good news… We have 365 days of blank pages and we can choose what we’d like to do with them. Isn’t that incredible?

So if someone is really awful to you and you’re not sure why, just think “Wow, you’re kind of an asshole. Maybe you need a hug?” How people treat you is their karma — how you respond is yours.

It will be hard to always be full of love because unfortunate circumstances are inevitable in life. All I know is that on December 31st when I’m looking back on the days of 2014 it will be impossible to feel regret when all I see is love.

Happy New Year dolls,

XOXO Bailey Mikell 4b6be466786d46c25eda788c9ce64e3a

For Men Who’ve Never Held Your Feet

Every 6 months or so I go through the large wooden Olive and Cocoa box where I keep the little things that bring me joy. Birthday cards & “wish you were here’s“, gut-wrenchingly beautiful articles, old photos, worn ticket stubs, and quotes. With time these things begin to look scattered and lost — my pile of messy love. A tiny piece of my heart is in that box. And tonight was the night that I went through it, reflected, and organized the little notes and trinkets.

As I was doing this I found a quote folded up that I printed off at work. I did so because at the time there was a man in my life that treated me like a kitchen dish towel. It felt as though he had found me nicely folded, dunked me in hot dirty water, used me to clean the corners of his dusty and tattered heart, and then rung me out before he threw me aside to dry. Needless to say, there was some healing to do.

I’ve always loved the way words can handle my emotions that I often don’t know what to do with. This quote is long, but it is such a nice reminder of how far I have come. How much my heart has grown and how much strength I have found since this time of my life. It’s an incredible feeling to know that I’ve made the decision to never allow anyone to make me feel that small again.

So as I sit here on the floor of my cozy little apartment I am crossing my fingers. Hoping that at least one person can relate to this and then think “Wow, I am so much stronger now.” Anyway… I hope you enjoy it.

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“How far have you walked for men who’ve never held your feet in their laps?
How often have you bartered with bone, only to sell yourself short?
Why do you find the unavailable so alluring?
Where did it begin? What went wrong? And who made you feel so worthless?
If they wanted you, wouldn’t they have chosen you?
All this time, you were begging for love silently, thinking they couldn’t hear you, but they smelt it on you, you must have known that they could taste the desperate on your skin?
And what about the others that would do anything for you, why did you make them love you until you could not stand it?
How are you both of these women, both flighty and needful?
Where did you learn this, to want what does not want you?
Where did you learn this, to leave those that want to stay?” 
― Warsan Shire

Oversharing and Living in The Now

In the last year I’ve noticed an unhealthy pattern with social media: it sends a message that we’re never good enough, that there is always something or someone doing it bigger and better out there. Because of this we often put up a front instead of showing who we really are. Some do it out of fear, insecurity, uncertainty, or to try and avoid “social rejection”. Others do it because they thrive off of attention, they need to feel validated in everything that they’re doing and they want to show that they are “winning” in this game of life. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter each have their own influence.

So much time is wasted on these things that can never bring us genuine comfort, happiness, love, or the healthy social interaction we need as humans. And we tend to spiral into a negative head game with ourselves by comparing our lives to others, usually complete strangers, who manage to portray the “perfect life” (that does not exist) by posting photos and videos online. This is so. damn. unhealthy. And honestly, it’s kind of scary. We make up a romantic illusion of what our lives look like, when really things are far from what your feed reflects.

I’ll be the first to admit that I regularly have unhealthy thoughts about my reality and the life I show online. I’ll think “I should take a photo of these weights to prove how healthy I am, to show that I’m dedicated to my fitness.” or “This dinner was delicious and it happens to be pretty, I should snap a photo and upload it to show off my love for time in the kitchen.” or the best one, “I look good today. I should post a #selfie and then put a quote as the caption that has nothing to do with my face. It will distract others from the fact that I’m trying to bring attention to myself” And before I know it I’ve wasted time at the gym, my food is cold, or I’m being rude to those around me by giving all of my energy & attention to an insignificant little app that will not ever truly measure the “good” in who I am or add value to my life. It’s all really unfortunate.

How can we be our authentic selves & truly enjoy this beautiful opportunity to create a life we love when we’re so caught up in this rat race? When we’re constantly missing the miracles in life because our heads are down & we’re living through others? Yes, I am guilty of being sucked into social media & societies expectations. I have been doing it all for years now, including this little blog of mine. For a long time these things were positive outlets. I posted uplifting thoughts, photos of nature, and things that simply made me happy. But it has grown into such an unhealthy daily game of comparison that I’ve decided to step away for a while. No more Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for me. I need to take a breather from all the bullshit. I desperately need some authenticity in my life. And I need to really think about what I want my message to the world to be.

“Your life is your message to the world. Make it inspiring.”

― Lorrin L. Lee

We should be doing things because they make us & the people we love happy. Our actions, words, and goals should be said, and done, for personal fulfillment, not for ego boosts & validation from strangers who will never truly get to know who we really are. Photos aren’t taken to get as many “likes” & “comments”, they are taken to capture moments that take our breath away, moments that we want to be able to look back on & reflect as individuals. Not to edit the shit out of them, throw on a tacky font with a word like “Yum!” or “Joy!” & post online. Give me a break.

It is time to get real with ourselves. To embrace the fact that life is messy sometimes & we don’t have to share every little thing we do. Sometimes it’s about the quiet moments we have with ourselves. And sometimes it’s about deep, intimate, raw discussions that we have when we are connected with somebody else… Looking straight in the other persons eyes, not into a screen.

Humans tend to be so self involved. We forget that there is an entire world out there filled with so many other beautiful, intelligent, incredible beings. They don’t have iPhones but they do have hearts bigger than their bodies give them credit for and dreams far too large to document in one photo. When are we going to begin celebrating that about people? The quality of their character, their dreams & accomplishments, and their zest for life & making it better for others. That is what matters. Not your “Man crush Monday” “Throwback Thursday” or “Flashback Friday” posts that are repetitive & mean nothing. Go do something. Go be something. Make someones day & resist the urge to tell everyone & their dog about it. Stop posting about it & simply be about it. I promise you it will feel good. It’s time to break the habit of over-sharing and begin living in the now.

I hope that this break will help bring clarity into my life and allow me to step back, breathe, and truly be here.

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The Job That Changed My Life

Three years ago I called my mom & told her that I did not want to be a receptionist at a day spa anymore. I didn’t want to get all dolled up every evening & be the hostess-of-the-mostess at a high end, beautiful restaurant. And I didn’t want to answer phones at a hair salon & fold towels all day. I was thankful for those jobs & the opportunities & people I was lucky enough to experience along the way. But I didn’t want to just work, I wanted to inspire. I shed some tears about it, went to sleep, and then I woke up & got busy.

My heart knew that it was time to start searching for my purpose. I knew if I looked within myself & remained positive I could find the thing that would make me eager to rise early in the morning & work hard all day. It was time to find something that would not only occupy my time, allow me to support myself, and help me grow as a young woman — but something where I was making a difference in other peoples lives as well.

Fortunately the universe heard me. A few months later I was offered a position as a recruiter at The American Academy, an online private high school. I absolutely loved what I was doing, and then something amazing happened: I felt myself begin to feel alive again. I knew I was where I needed to be & that is where I have stayed.

I have been with TAA ever since & it has been such a rewarding journey. I’m honored to work with such incredible people every single day. I’m surrounded by motivated individuals who genuinely love helping others succeed. My students remind me every day that we can all do anything we set our minds to, no exceptions. They are proof that it is not about what happens to you in life but how you react. There are times when I hear the things they have gone through at such a young age & it really puts things into perspective for me. They help me be strong & appreciate the little things in life.

When I accepted my first position with TAA I had recently finished a semester at the local community college. After I completed my classes I decided to take a break from school for a while. I was burnt out & needed to focus on supporting myself financially so that I could have a stable lifestyle. A lot of our students originally dropped out for that exact reason, but they also have children & other hardships to overcome. But they found the courage to return to school. That is what motivates me. I love my students, and the fact that they keep on working hard when it would be so much easier to give up is amazing to me.

Thanks to TAA I have decided to enroll for Spring 2014 classes & start working towards the dreams that I put on hold for a while. And I have to admit.. I am absolutely scared to death to return to school. But I know that this is what I need to do in order to become the woman I want to be & open doors for myself. I’ll be able to create a better future for myself, and I’ll also learn how to be an even better support system to my students. I am so incredibly grateful for my job. I help students graduate & become more confident —  now it’s my turn.

What are you thankful for that has influenced your life in a positive way?

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