Not Letting Your Anxiety F*ck You Over & Getting The Courage To SPEAK UP!

Anxiety is the unwelcomed and uninvited third wheel in every one of my relationships. It doesn’t matter if I’m with friends, family, my lover or my co-workers, there it is… always making me second guess myself. I have mastered the art of being socially awkward, and I always carry a book in my bag so I can pull it out and hide my face in it, avoiding any possible social interaction.

Anxiety has this weird way of making you think you have all these other problems. Before I was diagnosed with anxiety I didn’t even know it could present itself as physical symptoms. Stomach aches, headaches, shallow breathing, panic attacks that feel like heart attacks, irritability and nit picking, are just a few manifestations of anxiety. Normal chores like grocery shopping become overwhelming; when I get to the cash register my throat begins to feel like I’m choking and I pull my debit card out in advance so I don’t waste the cashier’s time.

Friendships are complicated and life becomes this daily fight for survival against an invisible enemy. Anxiety has a way of making you stay home whenever a friend has asked you out to lunch. Anxiety has single handedly convinced me that I am legitimately dying on numerous occasions, only to realize that it’s my own mind playing tricks on me.

If anxiety were a person it would be the snarky teenage girl who likes to screw with people’s emotions, just because she can. I started thinking about how many times my anxiety had actually screwed me over and how I had let it stop me from trying some really cool things, and potentially meeting some really interesting people. When is enough, enough?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I feel like the more each one of us that suffers from anxiety continues to suffer in silence, standing there feeling like you can’t breath while the cashier asks you if you want a bag, then we will never find the community we so desperately need. My anxiety seems to lessen when I “call the bitch out” for what it is. When I’m able recognize my symptoms as being anxiety and work through it, I feel like I can function. It’s only when I don’t recognize it or choose not too that my symptoms become unbearable, and I find myself in the emergency room telling a nice newly graduated doctor that I’m dying, “I know it”.

Speaking up about anxiety means having no shame in the fact that it’s real and believe it or not a HUGE percentage of everyone around us suffers from some level of it. Once we start actually talking about it without the fear of judgement, we can connect and start to heal, which totally sounds awesome.

Getting the courage to speak up for yourself under any circumstance is tough if you suffer from “the invisible enemy”. Saying the word “No” takes some serious effort. It’s not easy, but standing up for yourself while consumed with anxiety is possible. Chances are there are people out there that will take advantage of the fact that you have a hard time saying no, but think about how good it’s going to feel when they can’t do that anymore.

For all of the times we’ve had our hearts start beating out of our chests over making a phone call, or felt like hiding instead of answer the door…. we’re still strong and beautiful and powerful people. I’m here for you, let’s connect.

Carlee. xoxo 

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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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IF YOU AREN’T CONNECTING, YOU AREN’T BRANDING

Business as far as I can tell is exactly like life.

Once you have everything you’ve wished for whether its money, or cars or a successful small business, what matters comes into focus.

Connection.

Connection is what will build your business, brand, sell your products or build your community and lack of connection is most assuredly what will stop whatever you’re doing from growing.

The only true way to build connection is to actually give a shit.

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Whether you connect in person or on social, you’ve got to interact and start conversations with the people who take notice.

Giving a shit means that you’ll find creative ways to connect, you’ll ask better questions and when you provide value to others you’ll do so on a much deeper level.

You’ll basically set yourself up to be a leader in whatever you choose to do IF you’re passionate about it enough to put in the time and effort it takes to connect.

It isn’t easy, it takes a lot of work and a ton of time, but if you’re willing to go the extra mile day in and day out to build a strong foundation of people willing to support you than you’ve won.

You’ve won because that’s realy all that life comes down too, the relationships you build along the journey and how many people you’ve helped along the way.

We all know this, yet we still fail to act on our knowledge.

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In my opinion, people fail to act because they don’t see the quick results. Building relationships in business is exactly like growing in a long-term romantic relationship. Sure at first you really like each other and you laugh at each others crappy jokes but as the years go on you actually begin to love each other, know each other on a different level and if it’s really good, you wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Branding is the same thing. It takes patience, effort, time and even forgiveness at times. If you can understand the similarities and your in a position of geniunely caring about what you do, you will succeed against all odds.

A brand isn’t built from a logo or pictures with the same aesthetic.

A brand is engaging with your audience on a whole other level.

If your good your competition will take months or years to catch up.

If your extra good you won’t even give a shit about your competition because you’ll be so focused on building those connections.

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So how do you connect?

Like, share, comment, direct message. Start the conversation and keep it about the other person. Good things take time.

And you never want to be the friend who only takes to someone when they want something…

Are you building a brand? What tips on connecting with your audience do you have?! Would love to get sharing.

 

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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