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Danielle Ione

Romance Writer. Twin Mama. Wife. Sarcasm enthusiast. Mental Health Awareness. LBGT Advocate.

Month

July 2015

#Don’tBeAnAsshole

Funny hashtag right?

Anyway, I’ve had a really hard time lately.  It’s probably not what you think, I’m not having a hard time in my personal life, or in my marriage, or with my children.  Honestly, I’m having a hard time with the general population.  That seems stupid as I type that out but it’s the truth.

All I have seen lately, as I’m scrolling down my newsfeed, is people being assholes.  And honestly it makes me so mad, and irritated, and completely turned off by the outside world.  I swear, no matter what I’m doing on Facebook or Twitter Twatter, there’s someone, somewhere being a dick.  And I just do not understand it.

I feel like I’m missing something, because I have to be right? It’s like everyone around is being an asshole and I’m over here in the corner trying to figure out why or how they sleep at night knowing that the words they spoke or typed has actually hurt someone.

I’m going to confess something and I know, it might be a shock.  I am a former asshole.  That’s right.  I said it.  I used to be an asshole.  I’m sure everyone at some point in their life flaunted the asshole flaw.  No one is perfect.  I’m certainly not.  But, here’s the thing, it never felt good being that person.  I always felt so much guilt from the things I would say to people in my unstable and passionate mind.  Days later I would be beating myself up over it with no clue how to fix it.  You can’t take back the things you say.  You can’t erase them from someone’s mind.  You can apologize but the words you say will always ring in their ears and come to the front and center of their minds when they see you.  And even now, years after I got my shit together and learned how to control myself, I still feel guilty.  I can’t see certain people without remembering the awful things I said, I can only imagine what it’s like, being the person on the other end of my viciousness, when they look at me.  I hate that.  And I don’t think people who are current assholes realize that is how it will be down the line.

It saddens me to read these articles, to see these videos, to watch as the general population tears each other to pieces all for one reason; their right to freedom of speech.  Yes, it’s totally your right to say what you want.  But should you? Should you say those terrible things to someone? Should you tell the girl who is uncomfortable in her own skin already, that you find her unattractive? Should you tell someone that without makeup they are hideous? Should you tell the gay couple who are enthralled over the fact that they’ve been fighting for years to have the rights they’ve finaally been given, that they don’t deserve it, that they are nothing less than a spawn of the devil, just because that’s what you believe? Should you step on the american flag, or shit on it (a new video I recently saw), just because you’re unhappy with the direction your country is going? The answer to these questions is simple.  Probably not.  Why? Why shouldn’t you say what you really feel if you have the right to do so? Well it’s also simple; because it does nothing but tear people down.  That’s not constructive and that wasn’t the point of freedom of speech.  The point was to give people the platform to fight for their opinions…in constructive ways.  Taking to social media to film people beating up others for being a different race from them (Not just white vs blacks by the way), or writing posts about how someone somewhere should die because they’re ugly, or spreading lies about others because you do not agree with them is not what freedom of speech is about.  That’s being an asshole.  That’s being cruel.  That’s not being a decent human being.  It kind of blows my mind that I’m even posting about that.  I mean, that should be common sense right? Well, surprisingly enough, it isn’t.

I can’t even get on any social media page without my heart hurting for someone.  Sure, I’m a little bit more empathetic towards peoples feelings, but that doesn’t make it any less true that people need to take the time to realize what their words can do.  I get it.  I totally understand being so passionate about a subject that you want the entire world to know your stance.  But I also get what it can do to people when that passion turns to cruelty.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t speak your mind, all I’m saying is it’s worth taking a second to filter through your thoughts and make sure that your point isn’t to tear someone down.  It’s true that there is always going to be at least one person that disagrees with you, that’s something you can’t fix, but you can fix the way your words impact another life.  Try to use your words to impact them for good, to inspire them to take a second look at your beliefs, to give them determination to become understanding and respectful.

It may not seem like doing that once or twice could actually make a difference, but it can.  Once people start to change their mindset, start to see the goodness in people and not just the negative, things can change.

Don’t be an asshole.  Don’t be a douche canoe.  Just try to be nice for the sake of being nice.  You’d be surprised as to what it does for you as a person.

Vanity

You.  Are.  Beautiful.

I bet when most of you read those words, that little voice of doubt and self consciousness spoke up, nagging at you, telling you the exact opposite.

Don’t be ashamed, it happens to most of us.  I have those days, and in my younger years, I had them every single time I looked into a mirror.  In fact, I had a very toxic outlook on my appearance.  It caused issues with how I saw myself as a whole, and in turn I developed some rather unhealthy habits as far as eating and dieting went.  It was stupid really, I looked just fine, but at that point in time, I thought I was the worst.  It wasn’t until after I had kids that I stopped worrying about it so much.

I didn’t let myself go.  I just became comfortable in my own skin, my very stretch marked skin that is lol.

I spent my days growing up in a very vanity driven area.  Living in the surrounding cities of LA kind of does that to you.  I rarely left the house without my face on or my hair done.  I always wanted to look “on point” even if I was driving to the gas station at 4 am or to Walmart to get some damn milk.  It was ridiculous really.  And if I did end up leaving the house looking less than my version of perfect, I felt so down on myself for it.  I would feel like people were starring in the worst of ways.  I thought maybe they were inspecting me under a microscope, searching for every flaw I had.  It was an unsettling way to feel on a daily basis.  And god, when I gained all my weight, it was even worse.  I was always a very thin person until my early 20’s when my medication count went from one or two pills a day to seven.  I gained at least 50 lbs and I was unhappy to say the least.  Then I lost it all and I was so elated about it.  But, it never felt like it was enough.  I was thin, but I wanted to be thiner.  I was pretty, but I wanted to be super model pretty.  I wanted things that weren’t possible, not really anyways.  I wanted the unrealistic to become real life for me.

I know that in this day and age, everyone has these unrealistic expectations of what people should look like.  Men should look like Channing Tatum, act like a dude out of a Nicholas Sparks book, and make money like Christian Grey.  And women, well, we all need to look as flawless as Barbie, embody seduction like Kim K but still be as innocent as a virgin, and be willing to submit but have a spit-fire take on life too.  And you know what, in theory that’s all fine and dandy, except when it isn’t.  Who wants to be like that? I don’t know about you but that just seems like a whole lot of work that I don’t want to do.  Why would I want to spend/waste my time looking and embodying someone that isn’t me? Isn’t that kind of…pointless? I wasn’t put on this Earth by whatever divine power there is for me to waste my life being someone I’m not.  I spent years doing this, I spent years wearing the six inch heels that I could hardly walk in just to make my legs look longer.  I wore the five pounds of makeup to make me look older, look like I have perfect skin.  I did my hair, frying it in all kinds of ways for what?  So I could walk around feeling uncomfortable when I really just wanted to feel good with my hair up, no make up on, and in a t-shirt and jeans.  I don’t know what happened but suddenly I went from a girl looking to be flawless, to a woman who feels just fine as she is.

I think it happened when my kids were born and all of a sudden my perspective and priorities switched.  I realized that there were bigger things in life than how I looked.  It didn’t happen over night, but it did happen.  And you know what? I’ve never felt better.

Let’s be honest here.  I am far from perfect. I’m not just talking mentally, cause let’s face it, I’m one of the most awkward people you’ll meet.  I’m weird, I’m random, I have this issue with rambling, and good lord do I have issues with people touching me or when there are too many emotions in one tiny area.  But, I also have some physical flaws too.  Some that people don’t think I have, just because, from the outside, I seem to have it all…and by that I mean that I’m thin.  But, as everyone must know by now, not everything is as it seems.  I don’t want that to sound like I hate what I’ve got going on, because in truth, I kind of love it in some really odd way.  I have a pretty weird stomach, especially after carrying twins to near full term.  If you’ve ever seen pictures of my pregnant belly then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, then just picture a giant torpedo trying to escape from my midsection, add in some super shiny skin, and the fact that there was nothing truly round about my belly, and you’ve got a decent image of what I might have looked like.  I’ve got stretch marks, I’ve got a weird caved in belly from my muscles no longer being attached to each other, a hernia, and my boobs that were once pretty damn awesome from breastfeeding are now shrinking.  I’m aware of my flaws, and some days they bother the hell out of me.  Especially when my I’m-growing-my-mistake-of-a-pixie-haircut-out-and-I-look-like-a-mixture-of-Justin-Bieber-and-Mrs-Brady is in full swing.  But, I think somewhere along the way I learned to love me even on the days where I wish I looked a little different.

I hate seeing women and even men, hating the way they look because there is this unrealistic expectation of what we should look like.  Because in reality, everyone is beautiful in their own way.  You could be 900 lbs but if you’re a good person, if you can make someone else laugh, and make an impact in someone’s life then you are beautiful.  It doesn’t take looking like a photoshopped model to be beautiful.  It just takes a little confidence and a good soul.

And I’m sure none of this will make you feel better about yourself, but I wish it would.  I wish there were less people living life feeling terrible about themselves and more people saying “You know what? Fuck what people say.  I am fabulous.” Because you are.

When the kids were born I think I struggled for a month or so.  I was adjusting.  My once flat and smooth stomach was some strange shade of brown from my skin healing, and it was bloated and foreign.  And, I went from being my own person to being a mom with two tiny humans attached to my boobs all day, relying on me to protect them, feed them, love them unconditionally.  And I did all of those things willingly and happily but it became overwhelming to realize that I was their everything and their role model.  And I thought about Emma and how I really hate the idea of her feeling the same way as I did about myself.  I didn’t want her to see me the way I saw myself– gross and ugly and have that be her one prime examples of how a woman should feel about herself.  So, I vowed to try and change that.

I think it really hit home when we decided to take the kids to the lake one day and I was so excited, until I realized I would have to wear a bathing suit.  That thought alone killed me.  And you want to know the first thing I asked my husband when we made these plans? “Do you think the people we’re going with will be offended by me wearing a bikini?” My husband looked at me dumbfounded and asked me what the hell i was talking about.  I said, “You know, because of my stomach.” He didn’t even offer a response, he shook his head at me and walked away.  I got the point.  I was being ridiculous and there were no amount of words that he could utter my way that would make me feel any more stupid as I did right then.  That’s the upside to my husband, a lot of times he lets me figure out my own mistakes on my own.  It made me think though.  And I came to this conclusion:

Who the fuck cared?

I’ll wear a bikini because I want to wear one.

Will people find it gross and weird? I’m sure they will.

Will it impact the way I feel about myself? Maybe.

Should it? No.

Will it impact me forever? Definitely not.

And you want to know why? Because I could look down at my kids and see them smiling at me, weird stomach, stretch marks, naked face and all, and they would still smile at me with all the love in the world.  And because my husband, who honestly saw things in that delivery room that I”m sure is now burned into his brain forever, still found himself attracted to me.  He still loved me.  I had all the love from these three incredible people who saw nothing wrong with me.  They only saw me for the person I am, not what my body looked like.

So what was the problem?

It was then and there that I decided to let it all go.

Fuck it.

Bitch, I’m fabulous.

And I went about my day.  I rocked that bikini with a smile on my face because my kids were happy, my husband was happy, and I was fuckin happy.

I wish everyone that feels bad about themselves could break the chains of self doubt and self criticism because it feels amazing and it opens up opportunities for so much more in life when you feel good about you.

So, I want to say that each and everyone of you….YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, DAMMIT.

Because I said so.  Because I believe it’s true.  And because you deserve to feel it.

It’s just that simple.  You deserve to feel beautiful and desirable and like you are worth all the money in the world, because you are.  If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about how much doubt you have in yourself…stop.  Because you are better than that.  You’re better than these expectations that are thrown in your face.  You are beautiful because you are you.  That’s that.  That’s the end of it.  That’s the truth.  So own who you are.  Be fabulous.  Be brave.  Be you.  It’ll all be worth it in the end.

Nightmares

Nightmares.  We all have them, some of them made up of stray thoughts in our head before falling asleep, and some of them are made up of memories rearing their ugly heads.

I don’t get them often, but when I do, I swear they’re trying to go for a kill shot.

I woke up from a much needed nap yesterday completely breathless and confused.  I had a nightmare of my past for the first time in years.  Let me start off by saying, I have a very complicated past.  I won’t go into detail, and I’ve said that before in a previous post.  It’s not that I can’t, I just don’t see the point of it.  What’s done is done, the tiny details of my story don’t need to be told because the reality is, they do not matter.  But, for the sake of this post, I will say that for a time in my life, I surrounded myself with some pretty terrible people.  And by that, I mean they were the type of people your parents fear you getting mixed up with.  The life ruining type of people.  And as I type that, I realize that it makes me sound like I’m pointing all the blame on them, I’m not.  In fact, it’s mostly my fault for not going with my better judgement and not noticing the red flags when I should have.  I let the evil in, and that was my decision, and mine alone.  It doesn’t make what these people did any better, but as an honest person, I can’t force all the blame on them; it was me too.

There’s a history with these people and it was one that haunted me for years.  That past, those memories, they haunted me for longer than they should have.  It wasn’t until a few months after I stopped my medications and ceased all medical treatment that I was able to put it all to rest.  That was almost three years ago.

So, when I woke up yesterday, my mind still filtering through the images of my nightmare, I sat there astonished that this dream even came to mind.  It had been years since I had those kinds of dreams.  Honestly, it took me back for a few minutes.  I looked at my husband and told him about it, and it shocked him as well.  Neither one of us could remember the last one I had, just that it had been nice not having them.  It made me realize just how far I have come in the last few years.

Had this happened in 2011, I would have spent an entire week trying to recover from the mental mind fuck.  And at the time, it didn’t seem sad, it just made sense, but now, it struck me as depressing.  I spent so much time in my life stuck in this world of hurt, reveling in the pain of situations that I couldn’t change.  They happened, they were in the past, there was no way for me to turn back time and stop myself from making these decisions, from letting these people in my life.  I know this now, but years before, that thought wouldn’t have even crossed my mind.  I woke up from this dream taken back, but instead of letting it control my mind and infiltrate my every thought, I said to myself “Well that fuckin sucked.” and moved on.  Do you know how powerful that made me feel?  I was able to take complete control over my thoughts, my emotions, when I was never able to do that before.

I don’t know why it surprised me, I’ve been in a much better place since then, but I guess since I laid all of my past to rest, I haven’t really had to face much of it.  Sure, the random memory would cross my mind but I would feel this disconnect to it.  I wouldn’t feel sad.  I wouldn’t feel nostalgic or guilty.  I would just remember them as if it was an episode of a TV show I watched once and that was it.  Dreaming about it with such detail, well you would think that would cause some sort of relapse in my now sane mind.  But it didn’t.  And I don’t even know how to describe it because I’m pretty sure nothing can compare to the amount of power, the amount of accomplishment, the amount of pride I felt over that.  These things, these people wrecked my entire world for years, and yet here I am handling it as if it were nothing.  And I guess now, it is nothing.

When I stopped giving my past the power, the control over my life, I started feeling happy and living the life I knew,deep down, I deserved.  

I never thought I would be at this place in my life where I wasn’t bogged down by medicines, where I wasn’t consumed by therapy and being forced to relive every depressing detail of my truthfully depressing life.  I never thought I would be living a sane persons life where I could have a nightmare about someone, about something that plagued me, and just go about my day, normal as can be.

I’m astounded.

I don’t know why I thought to write about it really, because without the details it might not seem like such a big deal to most, but it is to me.  I felt the need to celebrate what killing myself mentally has done for me.  And I say that, killing myself mentally, because that’s what I did.  I completely shattered any former thought I had.  Any type of habit I embodied as far as mental thought process goes, I deleted it.  Any depressing thought, any panic ridden memory was obliterated.  I erased the way I had been tough to work things out in my head and I started new.  I started fresh.  I killed myself mentally, but god damn was it worth it.  It’s been years, years, and I’m able to handle life.  I…just can’t even believe it sometimes.

There was a quote I used to love, back in the day when I was in the thick of all of this shit.  It went something like this (my memory is rusty so it’s not word for word)

“I want you to know, that no matter how many times you push me down, I’ll be getting back up with a smile on my face, knowing I am strong, knowing I am your only weakness.”

I used to think I embodied that.  I used to think I understood it, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I truly understood it.  I used to apply it to somebody, but now I apply it to my mental illness.  No matter how many times it wants to push me down, to crush me under it’s weight, I’m going to get back up and I’m going to do it with a smile on my face because I know that as long as I’m strong, as long as I’m willing to fight, willing to stay positive, that my illness is literally nothing.  That PTSD, the Bipolar, the Panic disorder, it’s all nothing unless I decide to make it something.  And now that I’ve seen the other side, the side where the grass is greener, where the possibilities for my life are endless, I’m never going to decide to bring it back, to make it something again.  Random anxiety will always be apart of my life, it’s normal.  Driving a car, that makes me have a little bit of anxiety, I’m a control freak, it’s a given.  Anxiety while having the fullest plate imaginable, totally understandable.  But, I can handle that.  And I won’t let it go into anything more than that.

A nightmare.  It was designed to throw you, to set you back, to scare you.  But all it did for me was open my eyes to how far I have come and how far I will continue to go.

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