Trust. /trəst/.

trust /trəst/ verb 1. belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of. “I should never have trusted him.”

Trust is fragile; I’ve known that for what feels like a lifetime.

As a baby and child, you trust that your parents will keep you safe and healthy. From an early age, you look to them for food, shelter, and warmth. They were my providers for so long, and I trust them to always have my best interest in mind when they make decisions for themselves and for me. I trust their strength and knowledge. I trust that the truth will always come with validation and honesty.

Growing up with a sibling, you learn how to gain their trust. As the younger sibling, you enter as a foreigner into someone’s home. Children begin to see the attention they once had from their parents divide and focus on the new child. There is animosity built alongside a love that needs to be tended to and grown. That is true, at least in my family. I never doubted my brother’s love or trust, but the ability to trust another comes more-so over time. You show that you won’t always be a tattletale and that you can keep pinkie-promises. You show that you can stand your ground and stand up for them. Siblings learn to trust through their mutual agreements and growth as individuals and becomes a trust you take with you through life.

When you enter school, you trust that your teachers know what they are saying and your schoolmates will keep your secrets. Eventually, you will learn that sometimes teachers don’t always have all the answers, but they always try their best, and not every girl and boy keeps your secrets. Drama is spread fast between loose lips and eager ears. The whispers hurt as your insecurities grow. You will learn to find who will keep your intimate details, intimate, but for many, this is the first time you will struggle with trust.

It stings when a friend, a close friend, betrays your trust. You wonder how you will ever confide in them again, and struggle with the reality of a now distanced connection as you forcibly replace the trust with space and nondescript conversations. In the back of your head, you will think about stories you want to share or advice you need to seek, but your lips don’t budge, and you hide what it is you are really thinking in fear that someone else will know your truth.

Then there are relationships, romantic relationships. Where you meet someone and immediately believe in their reliability, truth, and ability, in order to find in the strength of the match. The person could be familiar, a fellow classmate, a next-door neighbor, a friend of a friend, or friend the family––someone where trust lingers between your undoubted and harboring trust. But then there is a chance the person is a stranger, someone you’ve met at a bar, bus stop, or meet up. The person is a blind date, a match on an app, or a random follower. The trust is new, foreign, and needs to be tended to.

When you first fall for someone, you typically have no reason to believe they aren’t reliable, truthful, or able to be in a relationship. It takes time and investment for you to grow and learn about who this person is––could they be family, someone with your best interest in mind, or could they be reckless with your unhindered belief in them?

Trust is necessary for a relationship, but very quickly destroyed because of its delicate nature. With love, lust, emotions, and attraction on the line, many lines are crossed, and a lot can be released. You overlook the red flags, look past the warning signs, and drive more in-depth into the destruction of a one-off relationship.

“I should never have trusted him.”

“How could she do that.”

“Why did they hurt me like that?”

Losing trust in someone is scary and takes time to build back. There are lessons I have learned from loving those who have damaged the trust in our relationship. At times I felt on guard and nervous because loving them can cause some internal anxiety. Communication is something you need to grow, and that communication requires honesty. Honestly with everyone.

If you feel like you need to hide your relationship, you aren’t honest. If there are aspects to your relationship that hurt you, you need to be accurate. You, as a person, need that to survive. If you are hurting, be honest with yourself and seek what it is that you need.

When you can learn from the times that you have lost trust, you can grow more as a person. Sometimes it is hard to see through the mirage which is a vision of a failed relationship, but soon the veil will lift, and you’ll be capable of thriving in a new relationship.

Learning to Live Purposefully

After writing my post on Monday, I started to really reflect on the time I spent on my phone. I wanted to know how much time I was spending on social media and how that was impacting my daily life or productivity. To do this, I notice Instagram has a new function that monitors your time spent on the app and will set a reminder notification for when you reach a particular time. I set it to 30 minutes because at the time I had averaged around 40 minutes –– 30 minutes goes by very quickly. 

And that makes me sad. Because I know there is so much more I could be doing with my time, so I am just trying to figure out how I make time and kick the habit.  I still tend to pick up my phone in the morning and scroll through social media, but there is a new voice in the back of my head telling me to be more purposeful with my time.

I feed into the idea and stigma that social media has its pitfalls and lacks its benefits, but at the same time, I worked at a start-up who employed over thirty people with generous salaries that were funded entirely by social media. I understand the power that comes with it because so many of us thrive off of it. I am following influencers who are trying to show positive, real stories. I see how they will post photos of them breaking down, unedited, and raw. They understand so many people look up to them and believe their lives are perfect based on what they put on social media, so they are more open.

I appreciate that. I try and do the same, and be honest while I write my blogs because I believe it’s okay to show weakness as you work to strengthen yourself. I am not someone who assumes everyone’s lives are exactly like their feed, especially since some of my proudest accomplishments are nowhere near my feeds; yet I still can’t get rid of social altogether. In the back of my mind, I eventually want to introduce this blog to the world through my friends and followers. There are a few of you that I have confided in, Hello, and there are some that want to read my account, but I have kept the URL private.

In the future, I know I will open up more. I know I will share this more freely and use social media to reach more and more people, but until then I made a list of things I would love to do daily that could only happen when I start living my life with a purpose.

Mock Day, I want to devote my time to:

Journaling my thoughts

Reading a new book weekly

Learning new skill

Walking and exercising daily

Cooking something yummy 

Blogging as much as I can

Practicing more creative work

 

It isn’t a long list, but ideally, between the time I wake up and the time I go to sleep, I would have done everything on this list. Sometimes it may not be realistic, but I am going to try my best to reintroduce each item to my daily activities because I know that they are habits I need to form. When I lived in London, I was able to journal every day for three months, get out of the flat and explore the city, cook food for myself and my roommate, learned how to use a film camera, and blogged daily –– and I was always with friends and excelling at my studies. I know it is possible.  

At times I have done a combination of all these tasks in a day, but never all together. I partially wonder if my time scrolling inhibits all of them being done. Could my thirty minutes in the morning when I wake up go to reading a chapter or journaling? Yes. Could I wake up at 6:00am instead of 7:00am and get out and walk a loop in Central Park? I should. Are there classes online that I have signed up for, paid for even, that are news skills I would love to have? You better believe it. It will take practice, and I know that, but I don’t need to watch Netflix all night, or I could write posts, exercise, and cook while I watch the latest episode of Big Little Lies. There are little changes to be made to make a tremendous impact on my mental health, liveliness, and happiness.

There is so much I want to do, but I want to know what some activities you would do daily if time weren’t an issue? Leave a comment and let’s try and hold each other accountable! 

 

 

I Wrote a Novel

For my Master’s thesis, I undertook 280+ pages of pure emotion that bleed throughout my first completed fiction piece. I only needed to write a 20-page academic paper to get my degree, but my advisor encouraged me to write a novel because it is what I want to do in life. It was hard, but I did it

Entering February, I only had a 1/4 of my book done and I needed it completed before the end of March. In April, I found myself trying to edit my book, but there was so much more I neede to accomplish, including actually writing that 20-page academic paper.

Although the novel isn’t where I wish I would be, I would love to share my site, some samples of my book, and where you can find it as I start the process of publishing my work. I look forward to blogging more about my process and the steps that are to come in the

Book Synopsis

Elizabeth Calhoun fantasizes about her child’s future, while her daughter, Annabelle, fights for her life after a devastating accident. The traumatizing sight of her daughter in pain spurs Elizabeth to gather her thoughts into letters for Annabelle to read. For two years, Elizabeth fills the letters with stories and advice while imagining a world where her daughter opens them after turning eighteen.

What remains on the page is a mother looking back on vulnerable teenage years, misguided decisions, and serendipitous first loves, all while reexamining who she is as a person. The letters tether the mother and daughter together through a collection of memories that Elizabeth uses to uncover who she is through the words of wisdom she aims to pass along to her daughter.

To face the harrowing details of love, anger, grief, and relationships, Elizabeth must come to terms with her daughter’s altered life journey and meet her darkest temptations. Through the process of Elizabeth’s passage through madness, depression, and pain, this evolving stack of letters collect on her desk and become a refuge that both heals and terrifies a mother.

About the Novel

I conceived the idea of Open When, my first self published novel, while reflecting ways I have tried to help my friends and family through trying times. During my time spent writing, I traveled to Leavenworth, Washinton to experience life in such a unique city. From there the idea of having letter writing tether two lives together inspired the epistolary form of the letters. The entirety of the novel is narrated by Elizabeth, the mother, as she encounters advice that her daughter may need in the future while still maintaining the form we have all come to know within letter writing. The novel had its first reading on May 10th, 2019 during “XE Thesis Symposium” where I presented on the Explorations of Form.

Enchantment Park, Leavenworth, Washington when I was on-site for research 

Sample of the Book

Purchasing a Copy

Within the immediate future, I will revisit the manuscript, initially prepared for my graduate thesis, and prep it for literary agents to manifest it across bookshelves in the future as a way to inspire more to understand life’s most difficult times. In the meantime, Open When is available for purchase on Lulu Publishing.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Life as a Master

If money wasn’t an issue, where would I be? 

For months now, I’ve been planning the reboot of my blog. I thought about what I’d write after spending the past months writing my own novel. And any day I became excited about starting over, letting go of my previous dreams and really pushing the other ones I was dreaming up, but I froze. I thought about blog ideas, hundreds of them, but never followed through with a single one.

I looked at my blog nearly every day as I applied to more and more jobs, saying I had blogging experience, which is true, but felt like I had abandoned the first platform I had to produce work I was proud of.

Until the other day while I sat in Central Park in complete isolation. For 30 minutes, only a mother and daughter passed my area, but they turned and walked deeper into the brush. Across the way, I would see tanned faces and colorful shirts flick through the leaves on the sidewalk parallel to the one I rested my feet on, but no one seemed to ever find their way towards me.

I had needed a break that day. I had spent the most part of that afternoon sulking in my jobless stupor, putting myself in a box of being too tired of not having a job, but not working hard enough on trying to fix it. For the first month outside of my grad school graduation, I applied to a few, putting myself out there and looking for something new. The next month I was shooting blanks out into the universe. Applying to jobs I’m overqualified for, attending cold-call interviews, and being unhappy with the results I was staring down.

Except for one; I had a phone interview with a company and job I was perfect for, however, they picked someone else before I even had a shot at interviewing. I was sad, hopeless, and trying to ground myself in some mentality that was telling me I was no good for any job apparently.

The position was an editorial assistant for the psychology and humanities department at a publishing house. If you don’t know, I have my bachelors in psychology, and I just received my Masters in Humanities. For the job, all you needed was a bachelors degree and Microsoft experience— how could I not be a shoo-in for the position? I’ve gone beyond and received my masters, I wrote a book for my thesis, have experience in the editorial world and book industry, yet there I was on Friday receiving an email saying they went with someone else.

So that day, in the thick brush of Central Park, turned to my bench and noticed the plaque behind me. It was a poetic verse: welcoming the world to sit for a moment, enjoy the serenity in the quietness of the breeze, and look for the light.

How sweet it was to sit somewhere and take a moment to forget my stress. Then I thought, what a great memory to purchase. I wondered what it would be like to have a bench here and commemorate my time here. I thought about the unveiling of it, bring my lover, and family to sit and enjoy a space I loved to enjoy. Would I put it near the Zoo? Somewhere I loved to people watch. Or would I put it by the Great Lawn, the area I first found the confidence to run again after my ankle surgery? I know, I would put it in the brush, tucked away for only a few to find, but me to know exactly where it was when I needed quiet time.

Would I follow in the footsteps of this mystery person and write something poetic about nature, or would I devote it to something I loved? I started fantasizing about what I would put it as The Adopt-A-Bench program loaded. Then I realized a bench plaque would set me back 10,000 dollars. As someone hiding out in Central Park trying to avoid my fears of not making enough money in this city, I was sitting on a bench that someone felt comfortable in their income to give more of it away; a lot more.

At first, I was sad. I was immediately reminded that I couldn’t donate a chair unless I score a book advance significant enough to pay off my student loans, supply me with rent, and living wage so I could then afford a silver plaque for people to either admire or never even read–– I’d say a million would be reasonable. I was sad but then thankful to be somewhere that made me happy if it wasn’t for the money.

It had been a while when I last thought about being happy where I was. I remember feeling so uncomfortable in New York when I first moved here. By recognizing that it showed me that my experience in this city is continually evolving. I was happy enough, even in the stress of a job hunt, to commemorate my time here. That was something I never sat and thought about during all of my anxiety.

I spent so much time for so long thinking I didn’t belong; that it was time to move on to another place for another part of my journey. I can write this post and not be sad because I have found a way to make money and have interviews for more job, and even though my hunt is not over, I still am trying; I am always hopeful the situation will turn around. It has taken a moment to remember where I started in New York. I was reminded that at times, I may feel stressed as I try to keep up with the fun and work of the city. But had you asked the Hannah that moved here roughly two years ago if she even considered buying a plaque in Central Park to commemorate her time, she would have said “no way” this place doesn’t deserve it.

Let’s see what “author Hannah” has to say when shes sitting on a couple book deals and a film request (:

Also if you are looking to hire for a position, I am totally available to start ASAP!

The Mountains are Calling

In 2012, my father suggested I looked into universities in Colorado when we were there for a family ski trip. I had spent my entire life on the sandy shores of the Gulf Coast, all my friends I had made were staying in-state (for the most part), however, I kinda always had an inkling I would move away from the beaches I had grown accustomed to visiting. 

Every year I looked forward to heading to the mountains. I loved the snow, outdoor activities, and chill in the air. When my father suggested looking into the University of Colorado and the University of Denver, I signed up for informational sessions and tours. When we landed in Denver we headed straight to University of Colorado-Denver campus. It was a gray cold day and the clouds hung low over the gray buildings. I had loved the time I spent previously in Denver, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t moved by the campus. 

The next morning we spent the afternoon at the University of Denver. It was all that I was looking for in a school, except for a football team. The campus was gorgeous, the faculty and students were kind, I found myself gearing up for the application process. We left early from the orientation to make it to the CU-Boulder session. I was ready to sign up to be a member of the 2013 freshman class, but then I saw the foothills off the highway on our drive on 36. 

We parked and sat through a lengthy informational setting, and then took a tour around campus. I think it was the first steps onto the quad where in my heart I knew, this is where I need to go to be my happiest. 

I spent three years at the University of Colorado-Boulder as a double major in psychology and sociology, where almost every day walking to class I snapped a photo of the foothills that were the backdrop of my campus. Seeing them peak out above the football stadium made losing not so bad, but winning even better. Every season painted the mountains with breathtaking colors, and I never got over how lucky I felt to be a part of the school.

Although I traded the mountains for over industrialized skylines, I still find myself craving the mountains. Even a trip upstate means me gawking out the train window to grab a glace at the Catskills. Any chance I can get to heighten my vantage point, I do it. This past summer I traveled to Eibsee, Germany. After sitting it the shadows of the Zugspitze for a minute, I knew I had to see the view from the top. 

We all loaded in the gondola and I glued my face to the window to see the sights. Stepping off I breathed in the cool air and a calm feeling came over me. I looked over Germany, Austria, and Italy, and knew I was where I was happiest. 

Happy International Mountian Day! Check out what the UN has to say on why #MountainsMatter. 

Loved You First

In the midst of a proper heartache, I steadied my voice and told the man I once loved that I was glad I loved him first. He was my first love before any heartache. However, there was trepidation in the way he loved me back; I wasn’t his first. He allowed for the past heartaches of ex-girlfriends to dictate how our relationship would play out. Slowly, and in every action, I became them. He was able to predict the future, and therefore “we” would never survive because “they” didn’t.

While I treaded through the heartache, I was always told: “you will fall in love again; the second time will just be different.” That meant nothing to me a few months out from free-falling into a world of depressive attitudes and anxiety-riddled days. I found myself wondering if I imagined it all; if he even loved me like he said. I made myself believe we were great together until I saw him with someone else so quickly.

The thing was, he never truly heard the depth to my words. There was a surface he remained on. He had spurts of being cautionary, however, his impulsivity got the best of him. He moved on immediately, and I took the time to heal. When I said I loved him, I meant it. When he said it, he felt it at the moment and moved on from it. His words held no value.

Now that he is single for more than a month, I am currently loving my new relationship. Recently I was suddenly reminded of my past words. What he never understood was, our relationship would not have lasted had I not loved him first. There was a naiveté in my love. I took him and all his faults and loved him as deeply as I could. I was just being me, and he wondered how it was possible for someone to love in the way I did.

I used to be able to hear echoes of him in the man I currently in a relationship with. I was timid to be with someone again. Part of me worried I was still longing for my ex. I used to think they were so similar, and one day before we were together, I communicated that to my boyfriend. His response was the only thing I needed in order to see how vastly different they were.

Since the breakup, I had several men disrespect me. I was a bit of a mess for the most part until I just took time for myself to fully heal. I had matured, but with that maturity came some faults. Our breakup force fed me anxiety and I am still trying to defend my way through it. My boyfriend is careful. He headed my fears and talked me through them during that moment. My ex would have never been able to do that. He wouldn’t have responded.

I used to sit in silence, craving communication, and all he gave me was self-doubt and insecurities when something felt wrong in the relationship. If my ex ever spoke it was argumentative and accusatory. Had I loved him second, he would have pushed me further down and I would have known to leave. His life and interests came first. If he wanted a new toy, tattoo, or had any time in his day, it went to something other than me. He struggled to strengthen our relationship because there was always an excuse that came first.

It’s the little things that trip me up in my new relationship. He cares, he communicates, and he makes me happy in ways I can’t quite describe. The happiness I remember once feeling towards my ex still lingers in my memory, but the kindness and compassion this new relationship exudes are the reminders that there is someone there that will remind you that you deserve to be heard, cared for, and loved. He shows me he’s thinking of me when we are apart — he picks me up when I am upset — when we are together, he shows me we matter.

Love, and love deeply, but remind yourself you deserve the love you are giving everyone else. 

 

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

With my educational background rooted in psychology, I feel personally connected to this cause. I began this journey with this blog to improve my own mental health as well as impact others. As my personal health declines, my post became less frequent until I reached the point of having too much on my plate that there was no time for me to write.

Now I get paid to write. I head into the office and from 8am to 6pm I am sitting behind this very keyboard somehow finding more time to write than I ever had before. I will admit, occasionally the last thing I want to do after writing for 9 hours, is come home and write, but this is my platform.

This is where I can speak about myself and what is on my mind. This is a safe space for me to talk through my struggles and triumphs and reach out to those that follow my blog. My mental escape was and is this space. It is the therapy I could attend when I was in a new city trying to find my way.

My mental health record has been far from perfect. Occasionally I slip into depressive attitudes: I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I don’t deserve the best. For the past year, I have found myself struggling with anxiety and becoming overwhelmed and instantly shutting down.

However, it is October. For me, thinking positively always brings me back to the surface. October is my favorite month. I am finally in a city with the chilly days greet me in the morning when I step outside. I look in the mirror and feel good enough, smart enough, and that I am deserving of the best.

Talking out my insecurities or destructive thinking has always brought myself to the surface and helped me see a more positive picture. I urge you all to reach out if you ever need a person to speak to. I would not be the person I am today if I did not care in the ways that I do.

Mental health awareness is so important. You are not less than someone else for. The stigma does not exist. Together we need to shed light on days like this to break the idea of a stereotype even surrounding the idea of benefiting your health.

Weekend in Bavaria

I boarded a plane from Newark to Munich to attend a Summer wedding in Bavaria. It was my first time in Germany, and a few days wasn’t nearly enough time to see it all. Most of my time was spent at the Eibsee Hotel where we slept at the foot of the tallest mountain in Germany. We spent hours on the lake on row boats, paddle boats, and motor boat. The cool lake water brought relief to my sunburned legs after forgetting sunscreen at home. The views from the top of Zugspitze reopened my excitement for exploration—this city girl missed the mountains. Bis zum nächsten Mal Deutschland!

Growth.

It has been over a year since I started this blog. Since then I have moved and then moved again. I have started graduate school and an internship; I am nearing the completion of both. I turned twenty-three and wonder if I ever updated my about me (I didn’tnow I did). I went through heartbreak and I am giving relationships a second chance.  I made new friends and left toxic new “friends” behind.

There have been radical changes in my year, and yet I still have more growing to do. I have seen so much growth, but part of me craves more while still wondering what it is I want to grow into.

Grow–grō/
verb
1.  (of a living thing) undergo natural development by increasing in size and changing physically; progress to maturity.
I want to change physically and mentally. There are toxic aspects to my life that hinder me occasionally and I wonder how to shift these habits into better habits.

I took my first step in a new direction by moving. The East Village was my home for a year. I went in wide-eyed and took in the world around me, by the end of the year I hung my head low and averted my eyes from the strangers that surrounded me.

My neighborhood was desirable, my apartment was impeccable, and my life was coveted. I was a grad student, living in the heart of Manhattan, working a corporate job, sharing a life with an incredibly handsome and supportive boyfriend, but I was uneasy.

I was uneasy heading to school and work. I was uneasy in my talents. I was uneasy in my relationship all because I was anxious about the past.

I had a past life in the Village. I had “friends” I spent my evenings with. I just wanted to fade out of their lives, because they did not make my life any easier. I would walk home from the store and worry about running into one of them. I would dread walking by their usual hangouts because I wondered if they would see me, and I would be forced to ask them how they were doing—because I did not care to know.

I should not have feared it all, but I did. I started developing anxiety around the time I made this blog. It was therapeutic to write down my worries until the day to day anxiety got too much to handle, so I silenced myself. I still could stand up for myself and feel good with my days, but it was a rollercoaster of emotions from my morning alarm and my nightly sleeping pills.

When a letter arrived and it was a notice of my rising rent, I took a moment and thought a new beginning would be best for me. I would miss the East Village, but I was working a block from Union Square. I would never be far from my roots in The City, but I would finally breathe in fresh air in a new neighborhood.

Now that I have moved, I have physically changed. I am on the top floor of a walk-up and feel my calf muscles forming again. I oversee the Upper West Side, which is quiet and quaint. My surroundings have matured, and I can already feel the shift in my attitude while I approach each day.

I am excited for more, and I fear less—that was the growth I was hoping for. 

Thankful.

’tis the season to take a step back and view what it is you should show gratitude for. 

I will always gravitate towards a selfless ideal in order to recognize that so many individuals deserved to be thanked in my life. I am thankful that my parents who continue to show myself and my brother unconditional love in our daily lives. I am thankful for my friends, new and old, who continue to share laughs and smiles no matter the distance between us.

I am thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to me. I am thankful for my health, although I have been quite under the weather for some time, as per usual. I am thankful that the world is still turning through all the sadness and disasters that have shaken it a bit. I am thankful that I have been able to travel and view even more of this beautiful Earth this year.

What I need most this year though is to be thankful for myself and be selfish for a change. Self-love does not get enough attention, and I am thankful that this month I have made even more strides in the direction of loving who it is that I am. I have struggled recently with what it is that I love about myself. I lost parts of myself and I tried relentlessly to gain a sense of wholeness for far too long.

Except there are parts of me that will remain changed and different and I have become mindful of that. I see what it is that I “need”, and how what I “want” should follow second so I can achieve what is the most important to have in life.

I have set my little goals and my mental and physical health have improved tenfold. I have limited the toxic activities and focused on the positivity. There are boundaries I have mapped out and I am protecting myself in ways I truly deserve.

Finally, I am thankful that I can forgive myself.

For a moment I felt like I deserved less, that I would give myself for less, and that the credit I deserved should be lessened. I weakened myself to fit the mold that is too small for me. My heart continued to overflow as I tried to shrink.

I have one life with these two feet below me, and I should be living as intentionally as I can. So when I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t hate that I looked and saw someone less than what it is I am, I forgive myself and know there is so much more to who I am.

I may have made mistakes, I may not have received the best criticism, I may have not taken myself out of negative situations fast enough, but I forgive myself. I know there is a strength that comes with recognizing that. I have spent my time feeling the lows, and now I will give myself the time to build towards the highs.

I am thankful that there is an internal strength inside of me and thankful for all of those who have been there for me throughout it all.