Sunday, November 29, 2015

Getting Back On Track

Hey all! Sorry it has been so long since I updated. I am happy to say I am finally getting my life back on track. Last week, I got accepted into Mount Saint Mary College to start my new major in nursing. I didn't get accepted for the spring semester, so I am planning on taking some science courses at the local community college next semester. 

I am also currently working three jobs. I work at Dollar Tree, the local music shop. and walk a four month old puppy. I find working has kept me busy and a lot less down time to be depressed and upset. I am really happy to finally be getting my life back on track. 

I have to laugh a little.. I see a lot of people I graduated with married or engaged and have children. Sometimes, I wonder if I am doing something wrong... kidding! 

I promise I will try to write more in December! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I Am A Christian

I was baptized by the Catholic church at the age of 3. Prior to that, my mom was taking me to the Presbyterian church. I grew up attending a Catholic elementary school, and later attended a Catholic (well Jesuit) university. I never felt pressured to go to church or be embarrassed that I was a Christian until I dated my ex-girlfriend, H. 

H was atheist. And while dating an atheist didn't seem like a big deal at first, it soon changed. I began to feel uncomfortable being a Christian. Any time a conversation started about God or Jesus, I would just laugh and agreed with what H was saying against Him. Soon, I lost most my faith.

Then, a big event happened and H and I broke up. Our friendship was dwindling away and I felt  alone. I had no friends living in Manhattan. The only friends I made at college the semester before, felt betrayed and forgotten because I only contacted them to vent or when I needed something. I didn't really talk to any of my friends from high school still. And the few friends I made at work and my new school didn't know about the situation. I had no one. I literally was alone. 

Weeks passed and I was depressed, until one weekend H and S (the other roommate) went back to our hometown. I decided to get out of the apartment and attend the Catholic church a couple blocks away. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. When I left  Mass, I felt refreshed. I knew I needed to keep going.

{Saint Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church}

I attended Sunday Mass regularly at St Elizabeth's Church in Washington Heights. When I moved back home, I continued to attend Mass throughout the summer at the local church, where I continue to go today. When I went back to school in Scranton in the fall, I began to attend Sunday Mass with my friends living on my floor. In the spring semester, I began to attend daily Mass with my friend Brittany. I felt myself growing so close to God. 

When I found myself in some trouble, I began to pray constantly for God to let me stay at school. And when I wasn't able to attend the U of Scranton anymore, I felt betrayed. I just couldn't understand why this was happening to me. A couple weeks passed and I learned that God has a plan, and this is his plan for me. 

I attend church every Sunday and listen to the Sound of Life radio station in my car. I also attended a Newsboys concert with a few friends about a month ago and it was one of the best days since everything happened. 

I am proud to say I am a Christian. I am a follower of Jesus. I will praise His name wherever I go.

Here are a few of my favorite Christian pop/rock songs!

 {Video I made actually! God's Not Dead - Newsboys}

{Same Power- Jeremy Camp}

{We Believe - Newsboys}

{Guilty - Newsboys}

{Even So Come - Chris Tomlin}

Also, these three songs from Catholic Masses I have fallen in love with.
~ Taste and See
~ Like A Shepherd
~ Only A Shadow

I will leave you with this movie trailer for God's Not Dead. It is definitely a must see. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

I Am Pansexual

This week on Finding Mak, I want to share a little about my sexuality and the common misconceptions that come with it.

My first ex-girlfriend (H) told me she was pansexual before we started dating, but I kind of brushed it off as “oh that thing where you’re attracted to personality”. I never gave it much thought, until I heard the term from a bisexual friend and she had told me she didn't think I was bi. 

I decided to share with you the questions I asked H five years ago, in the hopes of shedding some light on the often misunderstood or overlooked sexual identity. These answers are how I would answer if someone asked me today. 

Give me a personal definition of pansexuality and how you relate to the term.

I think of myself of being somewhat ‘gender-blind’ when it comes to attraction and love. I believe I am capable of feeling romantic feelings towards people of all gender identities, and all biological sexes. I have always had difficulties answering that ever awkward ‘so, what are you?’ question, as since I was fifteen I never felt as if I fitted in to the realms of bisexuality or homosexuality 100%. I’ve always felt as though the gender of a person I am attracted to or have romantic feelings for becomes somewhat irrelevant to me, it’s never really bothered me.

Often, bisexuality and pansexuality are confused. How are they different?

Bisexuality, ‘bi’ implies two – male, female. To me the term bisexual tends to exclude those different gender identities within the gender spectrum. It is still somewhat conforming to gender binary, which I can’t get on board with. I did identify with the term bisexual for a little while but it never felt completely right.

What are some common misconceptions about pansexuality?

That people who are pansexual are "just being greedy" or "promiscuous" or "are just gay but can’t make up their minds/are in denial." I have had all of these things assumed of me before many times! Another common thing to hear is "eww, you find everyone attractive we can't be friends". This is not the slightest bit true. I am able to maintain friendships because I do not find everyone to be attractive. I have found a friend or two attractive at times, but I have limits and would never tell that person unless I knew they felt the same way. 

What are some things that pansexual ally’s can do to help spread awareness?

Getting through to people that pansexuality isn’t about being greedy, confused or in denial! It’s always a bummer hearing those types of things, but with more people understanding, and more people clarifying the meaning of pansexuality (along with other sexual orientations!), I’m sure that would provide some great support.

Where did you find support and information for your identity?

That beautiful thing called the World Wide Web! When I was younger and first started dating people, I did a lot of researching around different sexualities, because I was struggling to find somewhere for me to fit in.

What was your coming out experience like, and what tips would you give others who identify as pansexual?

My ‘coming out’ experience wasn’t exactly a big scene or anything. I remember being almost 16 and had just broke up with H. I was having a lot of issues with the break up and my mom asked me if we were dating. I told her we weren't really ever just friends. My parents still aren't super supportive and still say "its just a phase". It took me a while to come out to a lot of my friends, as being in high school and having a very different mentality about it proved a bit scary. I’d say that with coming out as any sexual orientation, make sure you have someone you can go to – a friend or trusted family member, or even a great source of support like Rainbow Youth to go to if you ever feel lost or upset. A great support system can be a life changer.

What have been some challenges, and what have you learnt since you recognized your pansexual identity?

The only real challenge I have faced is actually explaining the meaning of pansexuality. Lots of people I have discussed it with aren’t aware of issues like gender and gender binary, so trying to explain the different between pansexuality and bisexuality has always proven difficult!

I watched this recently and wanted to share it, which kind of clears things up while addressing the HUGE elephant in the room – the classic, “oh so you’re attracted to pans?” joke.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Liebster Award 2015

I was recently nominated by Joanna from My Pink Rambles for a Liebster award!

After spending some time with my friend Google and other bloggers in my bloggers group, I learned that the Liebster Award is passed around the blogging community to those who have fewer than 200 followers. This is simply a way of getting to know each other and gaining more readers.

If you want to accept the award, you have to:
~Say thank you to the person who nominated and link their blog
~Copy paste the Liebster badge on your post
~Nominate 10 other bloggers with less than 200 followers
~Answer the ten questions the person who nominated you asked, and then make ten more for the bloggers you nominate.
~Nominate the 10 bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are Joanna's questions and my answers:

~What’s your blogging style?
My blogging style is life blogging. I started this blog to share my journey on finding myself.

~If you could turn back time and give your younger-self some advice, what would it be?
Well, I'm only 20 so I can't go back much younger, but it would probably be don't let others control your decisions. At one point, I let myself be controlled by an ex and I lost some friends because of it.

~What’s your favorite color?
My all time favorite is purple, but I also really like teal.

~If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go?
Ireland. I have always wanted to go there and dance...but I will never compete there, so I'll settle for just a visit.

~Describe a perfect Sunday.
Coming home from church and just relaxing.

~What’s your favorite food?
Hmm, this is a tough one... I think I would have to say Sloppy Joes.

~If you could meet any ‘famous’ person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Ellen DeGeneres. She is one of my idols.

~What’s your favorite book?
Uhm.. not too sure. It's close between "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" & "My Sister's Keeper."

~Where are you from?
A small town in New York, USA!

~Coffee or tea?
Both, honestly. Coffee in the morning, tea at night. 

The bloggers I nominate (press the blog title to go to their website):

Now, here are the ten questions for the bloggers I nominated:
~What have you always wanted? Did you get it?
~What made you decide to start blogging?
~What is your greatest strength or weakness?
~If you could have personally witnessed an event in history, what would it be and why?
~What type of music do you listen to?
~What cheers you up?
~Who is your idol?
~What is your proudest habit you have broken or want to break?
~What is your favorite and least favorite word?
~What did you do to celebrate your last birthday?

Thank you so much Joanna for nominating me. I look forward to reading my nominees' posts!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall Fashion Favorites 2015

Since it's the first day of Fall, I figured why not dedicate a post to Fall Fashion! I used to come up with three of my favorite fall styles.

{Outfit Number One}

I started this plaid obsession during my sophomore year of high school. Nothing beats a flannel plaid shirt, with a pair of skinny jeans or leggings, and a pair of converse!

 {Outfit Number Two}

Within the last couple years, I have probably collected 50 scarves. They are just so awesome since you can basically wear them during almost any time of year! This outfit was made my pairing a basic long sleeved top, with a pair of skinny jeans, mid-calf boots, and a floral infinity scarf. This outfit is casual, yet also elegant enough to wear to church or out to dinner.

{Outfit Number Three}

This outfit I had fun putting together. I love skirts and dresses. I went to Catholic school for six years and had to wear a uniform, I liked my legs being "free" and I still hate pants to this day. (Except yoga pants of course!) I paired this floral skirt with a lilac tank top and orange cardigan, the colors in the skirt. Then added a pair of brown tights. This outfit could be worn with either boots or flats depending on the weather. A cute necklace and pair of earrings would top this outfit perfectly for any date or special occasion. 

These three outfit describe my fall wardrobe. 
What do you think of my wardrobe? Would you wear any of it? What are some of you favorite fall styles?

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Last summer before returning to school, I bought myself a red Betta fish named Elmo. About a month into the semester he got really sick and passed away while I was away for the weekend. My roommate thought she killed him and felt horrible, but I knew he was dying anyway. I thought about getting another fish shortly after Elmo's passing, but I just didn't have the time to go get another fish from PetSmart. 

This entire summer I kept telling myself I would go buy a new fish. Well, I finally bought myself one yesterday. I always have a hard time choosing a Betta because their moods in the cup could either show how they will be at home, or be the complete opposite. There were a lot with fin rot, which is what killed Elmo, and I really didn't want to deal with that again. 

I finally came across this beautiful blue and green Betta that had healthy scales and fins. He reacted when I placed my finger on his cup, which eased my nerves about bringing home another sick fish. I decided he was the one and checked out.

When I got home, I set him up and he enjoyed exploring. I was looking up names until I heard one that I knew suited him. I came across Marble and instantly knew it would be his name. I hesitated between Marble or Marbles, but in the end decided on Marble. 

He is settling in well and I can't wait to take care of him for hopefully a few years!



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Letter to A Person With A Mental Illness

Dear Person With A Mental Illness,

You are not a monster. You are a valuable, unique, wonderful human being who deserves everything grand that this life has to offer. Come out of the shadows and stand proudly in who you are.

You are not damaged. You are WHOLE, regardless of having a mental illness. I like you the way you are. I wouldn’t change you. I see you differently than you see yourself. I am not afraid of you or your illness… I am amazed by you. I am amazed by your courage, willpower, gifts and talents. I accept you, and your worlds of light and darkness.

Some people just have a “neighborhood” in their mind and they never get lost. You have endless terrain to explore, but sometimes you take a wrong turn and can’t find your way home. I love your vast landscape and remember… we can make you maps.You can figure out how to stay safe and still sail on majestic seas of emotion.

You are not “crazy.” You are not violent. You are not the lame stereotypes.

I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with the stigma of mental illness. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with people who are misinformed. I’m so sorry you’ve been made to feel less than everyone else. I’m so sorry that after you’ve uttered the words, “mental illness” something in the person who’s listenings eyes or demeanor has changed. That’s their problem, not yours.

I’m just so sorry. I want to help you shatter the stigma.

Please stop blaming yourself. It’s not your fault. On top the pain and exhaustion your illness causes, you blame, shame and hurt yourself more. Treat yourself as you would a friend with diabetes. Would you tell a dear friend that they are weak for taking insulin? Would you tell a dear friend to just snap out of it? That it’s all their fault? No, you would give them so much compassion and kindness. Please be gentle to your aching heart.

Please don’t listen to misinformed people. Some are open to learning and you can help them understand what mental illness really is. The ones who aren’t open can stay on the shore as you sail away on your recovery ship into a cheesy postcard sunset. It’s ok to wave goodbye and not look back. Destination: Peace.

Focus on the supporters and allies. Hurtful and judgmental words slow your ship down. Let them fly off the back. Only kinds is allowed on board. Cue Taylor Swift, “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate- but you’re just gonna shake it off.” They tell you, “You have the blues and just need to get over it!” They were depressed once and cured themselves with yoga and green juices. Their cousin Betty cured her anxiety by eliminating gluten, but she has amazing willpower. They say, “If you just thought more positively…” This makes you feel like crap because no matter what you’ve tried the chaos in your mind is relentless.

Yes, maybe they had situational depression or the blues that was lifted by berry smoothies and watching Nerflix, but that is not what you have. You have a chronic illness that needs treatment. Yes, try all the alternative, wonderful resources out there if you want, (and if they work for you, awesome and never mind!) but do NOT feel one ounce of embarrassment or shame for taking medicine. Medications can have side effects but so do mental illnesses.

Getting and staying with treatment is brave. Also, who can afford all that fancy stuff from Whole Foods? “Here’s your one bag of groceries and supplements… that will be $241.95.”  It would be great if insurance companies covered these, but most don’t. The ignorant people born with normal brain chemistry may say, “The big pharmaceutical companies are evil and putting everyone on mind numbing drugs!” Well, guess what? They saved your life. You don’t feel numb. You feel like you can get out of bed in the morning and make eggs. Modern medicine is awesome.

Mental illnesses have nothing to do with “not being strong enough.” They have nothing to do with your character. They have everything to do with being illnesses.

Please do not hide. The world needs you. The world needs your story. You have been to hell and back and you are here to say, “It gets better” for others who are in that hell. When a person is struggling with mental illness, many people look away. Many people change the subject. You reach your hand out into the darkness to find theirs. You share your lantern. You’re not afraid of darkness, because you know it… You had coffee with darkness yesterday. He brought donuts. He doesn’t scare you like before. You know how to work with him.

You are a pillar of strength. You can make a difference. (Warning: I love being cheesy!) You have grown stronger, more compassionate, and wiser because of your illness. (High-five, illness!) You are creative, artistic, and a dreamer. You can think outside of the box. You easily connect with people. That same imagination that exhausts you with sad images and fearful scenarios can also dream up amazing art, music, stories, new products, business ventures etc.

You are here for a reason.

You’ve held so much pain that is now energy that you can use… What are you going to do with it? Create or destruct? Choose create.

Shout from the rooftops, “Yes, I have a mental illness. I’m also freaking awesome.” “Yes, I have a fabulous life.. and a mental illness.” Be one of the people working towards ending the stigma!

Please remember your life is YOUR story. Take your pen back and hold it tight. No one else can tell your story for you. Get out your eraser and erase the things you’ve let others write that don’t feel good. Those words are not true for you anymore. Who you allow to contribute to your life’s book is your choice. No one has ever been more qualified to write than you. Redraw the pictures that they tore out. Start on the plans they said weren’t possible. You hold the pen now, and they are possible.

Before you touch your pen to the page ask, “Is this nourishing? Is this kind?” If the answer is no, it doesn’t belong in your book.

Don’t be jealous of books with shiny covers. We never know what another’s pages hold.

What will you write in your next chapter? You can always write a new chapter. Stop looking back on the chapters that didn’t go so well. They got you here. They made you a better writer. Everyone has chapters they regret. We all make mistakes, whether we have a mental illness or not. We all act out of pain or confusion and do stupid, hurtful things. We are all human. It’s time to forgive yourself for everything. Guilt and shame slow your ship down too and you are ready to live free from them. You’re gaining more and more speed…

You are ready for life to take you to the most beautiful places.

Please know that the media has no idea who you are. You are not a monster with a chainsaw. You are not a person in the news in some scary story they are obsessing over. You don’t even like killing bugs. You took a cockroach out of your apartment and set it free. (Who does that?!... Me!) You helped a homeless man who fell when a huge group of other people just ignored him. You held his hand until he calmed down. Compassionate radiates from you. Remember Mozart? Lincoln? Plath? You are in good company.

You are beautiful. You are brave. You are worthy. You are precious.

You are not going to snap and totally lose your mind. Look at the evidence. Has that ever happened? No, and things have always worked out, even when they were really tough.

Please remember you have an illness, but you are not your illness. How could a label or diagnosis EVER come close to all that you are? You’re a huge, fabulous spirit with so many gifts, talents, quirks and unique qualities. Your illness is an ant and your spirit is a dinosaur. RAWR!

Please stop picturing bad things happening. This doesn’t protect you or help you, it just takes you away from beautiful moments now. Be kind to yourself in your mind by not playing yourself movies of pain and anguish. When you picture something going wrong, remember it could also go right. You could succeed in school. You could meet a wonderful partner. College could be better than high school. The next medicine could work. You could live a full, happy, wonderful life. See the possibility. Believe the kind thoughts.

Challenges will come and you can face them with all that you are when they are here. No need to face pretend ones in your mind! Also, you are not your thoughts.Thoughts can be scary and you can still be ok. They are just thoughts! You don’t have to take them seriously. Also, know that everyone pictures weird things that they don’t want to picture. We just don’t talk about it. You’re thoughts don’t define you; they just go off like a reflex on their own. Everyone’s thoughts are a hot mess sometimes. No ones thoughts are always unicorns eating rainbow ice cream. (Although I just pictured that and it was pretty awesome!)

There is a place inside you that is not affected by thoughts or fears. You are that place. The dinosaur-spirit! RAWR!

Show yourself images of you rising up and creating an amazing life. Use your phenomenal imagination to paint something incredible in your mind.

Please know you are worthy of love. Would you tell a friend with an illness that they weren’t worthy of love and a wonderful relationship? Of course not! Would you date someone wonderful, who makes you super happy, but also has an illness? You would and the right person will with you. You can have a mental illness and have a healthy, successful relationship. The right person will fall *madly* for you. The others can go be shallow and find someone “perfect.” Someone worthy will be crazy for you,

Please know that you deserve better care and support. The secretaries shouldn’t have told you it’s a three month wait to be seen but you can try the ER. The professionals shouldn’t have spoken to you so condescendingly. The insurance companies shouldn’t have put you on hold for 45 minutes and then denied your claims. The pharmacist shouldn’t have said, “I ran out of that medication this morning, you can try Walmart!” “That will be 241.95- There’s no generic!” You should never have had to cry at the pharmacy. You should have received excellent care and been treated like the smart, capable person you are.

Please remember that your hard work has paid off. You’ve read so many self-help books you’ve basically turned into a walking self help-book. You’re “The Power Of Now” in human form. You can awkwardly recite inspiring quotes if that skill is ever needed somewhere.

Sometimes you are even more together than people without mental illnesses!

Your constant need to find ways to settle your mind has taught you so much about life and what truly matters. Your illness has actually given you gifts.

Please remember to laugh and be ridiculous. Remember what you are grateful for. Remember the small joys and the big joys. Think back on a time when a friend or family member made you laugh till you were teary or peed a little. Watch a funny, stupid movie. Take a bubble bath that smells like marshmellows. Take a mental health day and don’t feel once once of guilt.

Please know you are not alone. I have mental illnesses, too. I am you.