True Confessions of A Recovering People Pleaser.

As I write the word recovery, I begin to fear I may be exaggerating, am I really recovering? I’ve come to terms with the fact that saying no is always followed by a wave of guilt, and then a quick change of heart as I push the word “yes” out from my lips, just in time to bring a smile to the hopeful face starring back at me. I suppose the first step to recovering is admitting you have a problem.

Hello, my name is Carlee and I’m a recovering people pleaser. There, I said it. I wonder if you’re supposed to feel a sigh of relief afterwards, instead of what I can only describe as cautious hope mixed with a strange sense of shame.

How did I become this? Who am I afraid of disappointing? Why do I care so much about what other people think of me, that I will abandon all recognition of an independent, confident, self-loving woman?

I’m not going to bore you with tales of an alcoholic father, my own indulgent trips to the mental hospital, the autism diagnosis, the sleepless manic nights followed by weeks of depression, because although I’m sure they contributed, I’m not really sure what caused it. Is it possible you can be a born people pleaser, graced with a docile personality and a sensitive nature? Whatever the reason there’s a few things I need to get off my chest about the relationship between the person deemed “the people pleaser” and the individuals I call “normies”.

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  1. Even though I say I’m fine with the things you’re asking me to do, I’m not, and we both know it. I know, that you know, that I feel pressured… but because you know I’ll say yes, you continue to do it. I am the “go-to” for any shifts that need covering, help with moving, giving rides that are clearly out of my way, and other requests that any normal person would immediately dismiss. Let’s stop pretending and just start calling it for what it is, a cyclical relationship between the classic “user” and “pleaser”.
  2. Please know that if I ever do muster up the courage to say no, that I feel extremely guilty, and the whole experience will start an internal struggle between me feeling positive about standing up for myself, and feeling like complete garbage at the thought of letting someone down.
  3. I’m sorry for all of the times I ignored your text messages or phone calls trying to avoid all possible scenarios where I’d have to utter that two letter word.
  4. Even though I might seem happy to please you now, just know that I will soon become angry and bitter towards myself, and ultimately towards you. This be shown through irritability and sarcastic comments, but it’s more likely that I will continue to internalize everything and just keep a raging resentment burning inside myself. Because, I do try to be at least a little mature, I can recognize the fact that I only have myself to blame, which although it should, doesn’t make me feel any better in the moment.
  5. I will need time to recharge after a day of betraying myself, so again if I cannot be reached once I enter my house, just know that I have become a hermit for the next 24-72 hours. Thanks for understanding.

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Now, for a few deeply shameful confessions before explaining the ways in which I am actively trying to recover.

I once stayed in a relationship for 8 whole months, saw the person every-single-day…all-day-long. Supported their drug addiction while diving into the beginning of my own, spent my entire paycheck on their habit in fact, and then when they broke up with me I apologized! I was younger, more naïve, and hadn’t even come close to knowing what true love was, let alone self-love.

I once drove 2 hours out of my way so that someone could see their boyfriend for half an hour. I still get pissed of at myself for that one. I was new at a job and clearly trying too hard to be accepted.

Every time I order pizza and get it delivered I end up tipping way too much because I did it once and now I don’t want to disappoint them.

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Okay, so how am I actually trying to recover?

By slowing things down. When someone asks me to do something I wait and ask them if I can think about it. I then try to “feel” my way through the situation. Why would I say yes, because I actually wanted too or because I would feel guilty if I didn’t?

I’m also doing a shit-ton of work to build up my self-esteem and begin to actually love myself. It’s a difficult, mentally tough process that involves doing the right things for myself and my body, even if I don’t want too, which is the hardest part. I have to repeat the phrase “self-care isn’t selfish it’s necessary” and remember how good I feel when I actually do take care of myself.

I’ve also tried to surround myself with real supports and people who I know won’t use my people pleasing side, while limiting time with anyone I don’t fully trust at the moment.

Always, a journal is my best-friend in identifying how I’m truly feeling and being able to talk myself through anything and everything.

Like me you’ll find your way through the recovery process, if that’s something you’re willing to do. Life get’s better and there’s a lot less shameful moments committed in the sake of people pleasing. I can actually feel myself getting stronger and caring less about upsetting everyone, which is a pretty sweet side-effect.

I’m here with you.

Stay strong,

Carlee. xo 

 

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Too Fat To Blog?

“Am I too fat to blog?” the thought had crept into my mind the moment I got serious about blogging and building a brand. Creating online content means putting yourself out there in the form of video, picture, audio and written word. I wanted the blog to be fun, honest and bring value to my audience, but the very thought of starting, brought huge amounts of self-doubt and insecurity. As I gazed down at my body I questioned myself, am I too fat to blog, am I too fat to build a brand?

I had watched women of all sizes create amazing platforms on social media and to be honest, I hadn’t thought about their weight either positively or negatively. The reason I watched their content was because they provided value, humour, good-vibes and personally made me feel good while I consumed it.

The fear might sound irrational, because so many different types of people all over the world create successful brands and businesses everyday, regardless of their appearance…but it didn’t seem irrational to me at the time. I had looked up to major bloggers and brands with beautiful, strong  women running them. I was honestly worried that my appearance wouldn’t measure up and that my appearance is what mattered most.

I mean hell, I can fully admit to enjoying good food, often, and not exercising as regularly as I should, but should that stop me? Should it stop anyone ? 

The obvious answer is NO FREAKING WAY!

Anytime you put yourself out there on social media you have to be ready to put up with some level of criticism. What you shouldn’t have to put up with is believing those things long after the laptop has been closed, and you’re sitting at home wondering if you’re good enough.

It took a lot of journaling and taking time to figure out what exactly it was that I wanted to share with people. I am “The Self-Care Enthusiast”, after all…I can’t come to you honestly and say I don’t have doubts or insecurities. I can’t offer you only images of me in a designer bathing suit sprawled out suggestively on the beach (although, if you’re into that thing live it up, do you girl!). What I can offer you are seriously open and vulnerable blog posts about the good and the bad aspects of self-care, mental illness and entrepreneurship. I can be real with you, because sometimes that’s all we need.

So yeah, before I started the blog, my Instagram, the Facebook community and the brand as a whole, I was scared shitless because I thought I was too fat to be taken seriously. I write this while I eat a piece of pizza, after practicing a 30 minute yoga session in my spare bedroom. I’m finding balance babe, any way that I can.

I write this because there are a lot of us out there creating content and sometimes it’s nice to hear that other people are just as human as you. If you’re afraid to start, I’ve been there. My advice? Create the content, figure out why and who you’re creating it for and have fun with it all. If you aren’t having fun with it no-one else will.

Oh, and the best way to deal with an internet troll is the block button. Don’t give them the satisfaction darling, you’re worth so much more than that.

 

Love to you all,

Carlee.

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Let’s Talk Mental Health, Success and Not Going Crazy.

As many of you already know I suffer from mental illness, one that allows me to be a semi-functioning human being…most of the time.  There are weeks where I feel completely fine, I’m productive, not as moody, able to handle things that come my way. Then, there are other weeks…weeks where I am angry, irritable, tired, and feel like staying in bed all day.

Success does not happen in spite of mental illness, for many of us it happens with it, sometimes because of it. Last month I felt happy and focused, working around 25 hours a week with good pay. This allowed me to write, blog and network for about 20 hours a week at home. I felt totally balanced. A week ago my brain betrayed me and I became convinced that I needed more; more money, more things, more education, that I could now pay for with all of my extra money. That week I worked 65 hours, felt exhausted, stressed, miserable and didn’t write anything.

With Alexis Ohanian talking about hustle porn (entrepreneurs telling everyone the key is to work more and sleep less) I felt a great sense of admiration for his views. First, because for some of us with mental illness this philosophy works, we are full of energy, vision and ideas; and for the rest of us sacrificing sleep and self-care makes our illness unmanageable.

Jenny Lawson, author of Furiously Happy, is a prime example of the fact that having a mental illness does not mean sacrificing success. If you’ve read her book you also know she practices self-care, admits fully to the often dysfunctional aspects of illness and uses a lot of humour to work through it. She openly admits to taking five years to write the book, something that a lot of us can relate too. Creativity can come with stereotypes, like having a mental illness, being an alcoholic and being a hopeless romantic. Call me a blazing torch of stereotypical representation by checking off every damn box.

In the age of “The Hustle” it’s easy to get lost in it all, as you hear messages of 100-hour work weeks and tales of sleep deprived break throughs. It’s easy to feel self-conscious about the work that you’re doing. It’s easy to feel as though the hours you put in, the work that you’re doing will never be enough, how could it be? When you come at it from the perspective of “out working everyone around you”, you will always be running.

My perspective today, is quite simple but does take some effort to master. Find a good balance between the work that you do and the rest of your life. Put in the hours that feel comfortable, manageable, productive. Keep up with the trends if you feel so inclined, read the stories, look at the LinkedIn profiles for the sake of networking. As for all the rest, forget about it. Forget what Margaret is doing with her novel, or what Peter is doing with his blog. Focus on you, on what you’re doing and on doing it well. Hell, if any part of what I’ve just said doesn’t feel right to you…change it. Its your life; you’ve got to live with it.

Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s a necessary management system. Losing to our mental illness in order to “win” isn’t the answer, it will never be the answer.

Love to you all,

Carlee.

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CELBEBRITIES POOP…AND OTHER WEIRD THINGS THAT MAKE US ALL EQUAL

YEARS ago (or so it seems) me and my bestie (miss you!) came to the sudden realization that celebrities like Brittany Spears and Meg Ryan poop, just like us.

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It was the most hillarious thing to imagine Brittany Spears pooping in a luxurious bathroom, but it was also the first time we started thinking that celebrities were just normal people.

If you’re still with me after that image, this blog post is actually about something a little more meaningful.

For those of you who didn’t make it this far (and aren’t even reading this) you’re welcome, Brittany on the poreclain will stay with you forever.

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This post is about the fact that we all have strengths and weaknesses. So many of us are held down by what other people think. Whether it’s our parents, friends, neighbours, co-workers, for some reason what these people think affects most of our lives in a pretty serious way.

I know that for literally the first…26.5 years of my life (working on it!) I cared about what people thought of me and it held me back from so many things. Dancing to music in a beautiful open field concert was one of them, losing a huge sale because I was scared to ask was another.

Remembering the fact that celebrities poop reminded me that we are all human beings. We all have stuff we are good at and stuff that we completely suck at.

The best part is…everyone sucks at something, so don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad for what you aren’t good at.

Smile at the haters and do YOU boo.

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Everyone has suffered middle-school embarrasement, had an awkward first kiss, botched an interview or tried something and failed. There isn’t one person I know that doesn’t have a shameful story from their past that they’d rather not talk about.

Trust me… the first two decades of my life should just be written off.

YES I stuffed my bra in elementary school only to be discovered in the change room… I wanted boobs okay, is that too much to ask?!

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YES I got too drunk to make it to prom and ended up sleeping in the limo.

YES I have burnt water while trying to cook………….

YES I have a huge darth vader tattoo on my back… … ……

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Were all equal…equally bad at something and equally awesome at something else.

We’ve only got one life to live, unless you believe in reincarnation… do you? I’d love to dive into your world.

Let’s make the most of it. Whenever your down and out or worried about keeping up with whoever the neighbourhood Kardashians are, remember they all poop… we all poop..

No one’s any better or any worse than the next.

I’ll see on instagram or  snapchat,

Carlee. xoxo

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LET’S RECOGNIZE ARIANA GRANDE’S STRONG SELF-CARE DURING MAC MILLERS PASSING (Hate me if you want it needs to be said)

With the passing of Mac Miller two days ago, September 7th, Ariana Grande shared a simple but heart felt image of Mac, who had a song titled “Self Care”.

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In this post I’m not going to get into drug use or addiction, as many of you know I have had my own struggles overcoming alcoholism.

What I am going to talk about is the amount of self care Ariana Grande practiced in the last two years and why it’s so damn important.

First I’d like to go on record and say yes I think Mac Miller’s death is tragic, he will be missed and so will his talent. It’s never okay when someone dies, it always hurts and in cases like Mac’s you wonder what might have been.

But, there has been so much backlash towards Ariana about his passing that I’d like to touch on a few key points. Hate me if you want but someone needs to say it.

ONE: 

If anyone chooses to leave a toxic relationship that is their RIGHT to do so. We cannot be held accountable for someone elses actions, no matter how tragic, when our own actions are to keep us safe, healthy and happy.

Since when is it okay to force a woman to stay in a toxic relationship?

Is this what we are accepting now? …

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TWO: 

Making the decision to leave a toxic relationship IS a form of self care and it MATTERS. Staying in a toxic relationship will only ruin two people at the same time. There are no advantages to staying.

It is not Ariana’s fault that Mac Miller got charged with a DUI, had a substance abuse problem for years and has now passed away.

What was going on before they got together, during and after they seperated in terms of Mac’s substance abuse was not Ariana’s fault.

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Addiction is a bitch.

It will take your family, friends, house, relationship and eventually your life.

To blame anyone is to completely miss the point.

 

THREE: 

Let’s think about the fact that all breakups are hard. Walking away from someone who isn’t good for you, even if you love the crap out of them, is completely heartbreaking.

It takes a strong person to say … “I love you, but I love me more.”

We should recognize the human side of ourselves that can relate to this because I’m sure every one of us has either had our hearts broken, had to set boundaries or had to walk away from someone who wasn’t right for us no matter how hard we tried.

Staying in a relationship where you aren’t happy, safe or respected in the hopes of saving the other person means completely ignoring what you need.

Standing up and doing what is right for you is always YOUR first priority. There are women in shitty relationships right now who need to hear that it is okay to leave. They need to hear that whatever their partner chooses to do after they leave is not their fault.

They need to hear that they are WORTH it.

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Like I’ve said in previous posts the truth about self -care is that it’s messy, challenging, and you’re sometimes not sure if your doing it right.

When you walk away from anyone toxic you have doubts, insecurities and fears. Imagine what it would feel like to practice self-care and then have something like this happen. It would be devastating. Right now Ariana needs to practice self-care even more so.

I’m not blaming her and honestly I don’t think anyone else should be either.

I’m not bashing Mac, like I said I loved his music.

What I’m saying is self-care looks different for everybody but when I recognize someone making tough decisions for themselves and then the world responding in such a shitty way….I’m going to say something.

If you’ve ever left a relationship for whatever reason then you must have a little empathy.

To all of us strong, capable women out there,

I see you and I’m with you.

Carlee xoxo 

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WHAT STARTED IT ALL. AN OPEN TALK ABOUT ALCOHOLISM, RELATIONSHIPS & SELF-CARE.

Hey there beautiful! I am so so SO excited to have you here.

This is a space and community across all platforms – blog, podcast, youtube channel – where we can have open, honest and vulnerable talks about all things self-care.

Here I am to bring you the latest news, interviews, products and perspectives about living a fully self-nurtured life.

This has been what feels like a super long journey for me, even though though I’m only 26. In the spirit of being open, honest and vulnerable this first blog post will share with you the truth behind why I truly love self-care and how it all began.

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I was to put it bluntly… a people pleaser. My entire life from the age of 10 was about how to protect and help the people around me. During highschool the relationships I had were all about how to make my boyfriend happy, there was literally NO thought in my mind about what I wanted or how I was supposed to feel. People pleasing and my desire to “fit in” lead me to start drinking every weekend.

After graduation everyone else went off to college and university but I continued to drink until I had completely ruined my life. I had moved out of my home, treated the people who loved me like sh*t and consumed alcohol from morning until night…or whenever I passed out.

At the age of 18 I entered my first long-term treatment program with the help of my mother (a loving, caretaker type social worker) who convinced me I needed to go. There I had my first glimpse of self-care techniques. Girls all supporting each other in group and applauding when one of us acted with self-love by breaking up with a toxic boyfriend, chose to eat fruit instead of sugar or came clean about our negative thinking. I didn’t know life could be like that.

I left treatment just after my 19th birthday but once again fell into the idea of being “popular, fun and liked”. This lead me to start partying again with my old friends. The feeling of treatment stuck with me though and I started attending AA meetings.

Finally after years of relapse I had enough and decided to enter a short-term treatment program, only this time it was my own choice. At 6 months sober I went to a 28 day program where I learned about vulnerability and unconditional love. Two concepts I had always thought were… well, weaknesses. Turns out they are actually two of the biggest strengths and superpowers we have in our lives.

Today I am 3 years sober BUT the last three years have brought a shit ton of lessons. I’ve had to come to terms with anxiety, depression, mental illness, co-dependency, people pleasing and sugar cravings to name a few.

Thanks to a great councelor, supportive friends and partner I have made it through and can happily say I’m in school for social work. I’ve got a loving partner and two animal companions, Quincy Jones & Alice, and a great job as creator of The Self-Care Enthusiast!  (Which started with Gary Vaynerchuk & the VaynerMedia team gifting me with a copy of Crushing It!…read that story here)

 

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Throughout my journey self-care is my foundation and one of the single most essential things to my own personal happiness.

YES it is challenging and hard and I have a love-hate relationship with self-care. I had to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t feel worthy of self-care to begin with. It starts off slow and you want to give up…but trust me, the benefits are coming.

SO, that right there is why I created The Self-Care Enthusiast, to document my past and present self-care practice, interview professionals and create a safe community where we could come together on this journey.

 

Welcome! It’s an honor to be here with you. I’ll leave you with one of my most favorite  quotes.

See you in the community or on snapchat,

Carlee. xoxo

 

I know where I’m going and I know the truth. I don’t have to be what you want me to be, I’m free to be what I want.  

Muhammad Ali