Mindful Mondays – 08/18/14

Mindful Mondays

My second week of my Chakra challenge has come to an end!

In learning to balance my Sacral Chakra, I honestly didn’t feel any differently. I loved the yoga, and sometimes went through them multiple times a day, but didn’t feel any differently. The meditation is still a challenge for me. I am a tad bit upset that this part of the challenge didn’t go as well as the first. On the bright side, my anxiety hasn’t been flaring up! However, I am still angry. It scares me how much anger I have. Just having people bring up memories that make me feel as if my experiences are being discounted, I get extremely angry. Since my anger has been bubbling at the surface in the past few weeks, I am hoping that balancing my Navel Chakra will help. Not only do I hope that my anger will subside, but that I will be able to face someone who I have not faced in over a year. I am supposed to go to court and testify against him, and I am absolutely terrified. I will need courage.

The Manipura Chakra, or Navel Chakra, is located in the stomach area. This Chakra affects the digestive system, and when it is unbalanced you can suffer physically in the form of digestive problems and eating disorders, as well as emotionally. The emotional issues that arise from a blocked Navel Chakra include anger, greed, and envy. This Chakra is believed to govern courage, self-esteem, and willpower. The symbol of this Chakra is a yellow lotus flower with ten petals and the element is fire.

In order to balance my Navel Chakra I will doing a few suggested poses from yoga.com. These include the Boat Pose, Warrior 2 Pose, and Sun Salutations. I will also add in Cat and Cow poses, and Plank Pose.

Rather than doing a simple mantra, I will be doing one a bit more personalized. Hopefully by having a more personalized mantra, I can enjoy meditation more. My mantra for this week is “I am strong. I am capable. I am driven. I am worthy. I will love and respect myself.”

Namaste Y’all,

Autumn

P.S. Just as a reminder, I am by no means an expert. I am not a yoga instructor (although I do hope to become one in the near future), I just read a lot about yoga, meditation, and Hinduism. I am just going through this and sharing my journey.

Edited using "A Beautiful Mess" App

Edited using “A Beautiful Mess” App

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Anger, Abuse, and Autumn

Discovering Autumn, Invincibility

Before I begin with this blog post, I would like to mention that if you are sensitive to material concerning abuse, proceed with caution.

I don’t really know where to start this story, so here goes nothing.

I don’t usually like to talk about my childhood, I have a habit of cherry picking the good things and trying my hardest to sugarcoat the memories that are far from cheery. From the outside, I doubt many people could see that my dad was abusive. The physical abuse was worse when I was younger. Once, when my sister and I got into a can of pie filling, my dad took the flame of a lighter and held it to our sticky hands (to this day, I am terrified of anything pertaining to fire, and have difficulty lighting my own candles). On another occasion, our dog crawled underneath our bed and pooped multiple times, and my sister and I didn’t immediately clean it out. My dad’s response? Slapping us across the face and hitting us with a belt on our legs and butts. But, those are just a few instances.

As I got older, the physical abuse was less often. However, in it’s place came verbal and emotional abuse. One of my dad’s favorite things to tell me was that I was fat. He would regularly tell me that my thighs were bigger than my but, how I had so much cellulite that I looked like an old woman, how no one would ever like me because of how fat I was. I could go on and on. In middle school, my dad would force my sister, my brother, and I to run around our backyard until he deemed appropriate. I would cry and beg, pleading that I couldn’t breathe and I felt an asthma attack coming on. He would always add time. We were made to do ridiculous exercises all while being called fat, stupid, a bitch, so many horrible names. The verbal abuse got worse and worse as I got older. Anytime that I was sick, my dad would claim that I was faking. I was rarely ever allowed to go to the doctor’s because he claimed that all my health problems were mental. After suffering severe chest pains for close to two years, my mom finally took me to the ER after I passed out. However, my brother, was immediately taken to the doctor when he had a stomach ache. 

Instead of coming home to a drunk, abusive, pathetic excuse for a man, I would pour my time into school and extracurricular activities. I would do anything to stay out of my house and out of my job, which was working for him. From a young age my dad would take me to work. While I do understand that this could teach me good work ethic, I hated going to work for him. He would only pay me a fraction of what he was supposed to, and keep the rest of the money for himself. While, I would somewhat understand if he was paying for everything of mine, he wasn’t. I paid for my gas, most of my school clothes and shoes, my hair upkeep, my school supplies, my school lunch, and a bunch of other things. Not only did he not pay me, he got such a thrill at seeing my get upset in front of other people. He would embarrass me when I made mistakes in front of customers and his workers. Not one of them ever stood up for me. A few would comfort me once they were out of his sights, but they respected him and wanted to keep their jobs, which I understand.

As I neared my senior year of high school, I began to realize that I had a voice. Anytime I would try to stand up for myself, my siblings, or my mom, he would become even angrier. Didn’t I realize that women were supposed to be meek and just take whatever men deal at them? Silly, silly Autumn.

The arguing between my father and I escalated a few times to where I was told to leave my house. I would stay with two friends, both of which didn’t really know what was going on. My mother would always beg me to come back at about 11 at night, which I would usually end up doing as long as he wouldn’t be waiting up.

The night of my graduation, my father was a complete and total asshole. He tried to cause all sorts of trouble with my aunt and uncle, and with my brothers and sisters. On my special day, the day that marked a huge milestone in my life, the day that I was to make a speech to the entire graduating class and the attendees, and here my father was trying to ruin it. The next day, my mother, my siblings, and I packed a bag or two and left while my dad was at work. My mom began filling for divorce and reaching out for help as we stayed with my aunt. During this time, my father would routinely call and harass us. He would tell me that I wasn’t welcome in his house, and that he never wanted to see me again. During that emotional summer, my dad killed one of our beloved family dogs as revenge for us leaving.

Right before I was to go off to college, my mother decided she was going back to my dad. After finally tasting freedom, I didn’t want to return. I cried and cried, begging my mom not to go back. She told me that I needed to trust her, so I shut my mouth and I did.

The day that we went back, my dad told me that I was too fat to wear my hair short and wear dresses. Nice homecoming, right?

Two nights later, he wrapped a belt around my mom’s throat and strangled her until she passed out. When she didn’t die like he hoped, he told us to pack our bags and leave. When he took my mom and I to the airport so that we could head to Denver, he told me that I needed to find a new mom because my mom wasn’t going to be able to “baby” me anymore. He then go into an argument with my uncle, who had come to say goodbye to me. Another milestone for me, and it was ruined yet again.

After leaving for college, I didn’t speak to my dad except to tell him happy birthday. When it came time for me to come home for winter break, I asked to stay with my aunt. My mom agreed because my dad had already told my mom that he would have me arrested if I tried to come to the house. During my first few months away from home, I didn’t really get to talk to my mom. Every time I would call, something else more pressing would come up, or my father would start saying stuff about me and my mom didn’t want to put up with it. During this time, I became closer to my aunt. She became that mother figure for me, so in  a way, I did find a new mom. I was experiencing a lot of gastrointestinal issues, along with my depression and anxiety worsening. My aunt was there for me when I needed her, even after I went in for a blood test and had a psychiatrist talk to me because they were worried about my mental well-being.

Right before I was to return home, my brother’s counselor reported my dad to Child Protective Services, and he was made to leave the house. I couldn’t have been more relieved.

However, going back caused many horrible memories and anxieties to resurface. I would check the doors over and over again because my dad had found his way into the house multiple times, despite my family having a protection order against him. I would wake up throughout the night from nightmares where my dad was standing over me or yelling at me, or hurting my mother. It was unbearable.

Right before I went home, my doctors were trying to figure out the right combo of drugs to help combat my anxiety and depression, and I became very emotional. I found it harder than ever to deal with all these emotions, and didn’t really feel as if anyone could help.

Recently, I began to focus on meditation and yoga to work on my anxiety and panic attacks. Once I began to feel as if I had control over my anxiety, anger reared its ugly head. I began to realize that I wasn’t this disgusting, horrible, person that my dad had always made me to believe. I began to realize that I was a loving, caring individual, and I deserved better. In stead of feeling scared, I got angry.

Out of this anger, came my voice. Anytime my mother, brother, or one of my father’s friends would say that things weren’t that bad, or try to discount my experiences, I began to speak up. While it wasn’t always easy, and I couldn’t always get the words out, I tried.

During the short time that I have been home for summer break, my dad has drunkenly called my mother multiple times, threatened her over the phone, and has tried to contact my siblings and I. As per the domestic violence injunction, he was prohibited from contacting us outside of visitation, including electronic contact. I told my mom that I wanted to see about having a restraining order placed against my father, and she agreed to take me to the police station. I ended up pressing charges since my dad had broken the domestic violence injunction multiple times. I was worried that once he found out, that I was done for, that all those threats would come to fruition. I shared my concerns with the police officers and they explained to me that he would instantly be taken into custody once all the paperwork was filed. It took a few days for them to arrest him, but that same day he was released on a $30,000 (what we were told) bond. I panicked. I refused to stay at my house, and all my siblings and I stayed in my mom’s room. During the day when my mom was gone, my sister and I would find ways to stay out of the house to avoid him coming there. We were terrified.

Fast-forward to this weekend, when my siblings went to visit with my dad for visitation. I stayed at home with my mom. About an hour into the visit, my sister called us crying, saying that my dad had already started in with the name calling and being horrible to her. I became infuriated. After she called, she stopped responding to texts, and my mother and I freaked out. We called her multiple times, and each time the calls went unanswered. I finally decided that I was going to call the cops. My mother was able to go pick them up with a police escort and she brought them back home.

During this time, I became really emotional. I have always been protective of my siblings, especially my sister that is two years my junior. She has gone through multiple brain surgeries and has a hard time dealing with stress and being berated. I was so angry. I wished over and over that I could be the one receiving the abuse in her place. I just wanted to protect her, and it ate me up inside because I couldn’t protect her from that.

During this stressful time, I expressed to my mom that my sister was braver than I was. I explained to her that I believed this because she was able to face him, even though she knew what he was capable of, even though she was scared of him. My sister had started finding her voice way before I did, and it always amazed me. My mom responded that she believed I had it in me to tell him how I really felt.

I decided that maybe I did have it in me.

I will have to put this to the test when I have to go to his bond hearing and tell the judge why I believe his bond shouldn’t be revoked.

Wish me strength and courage, as I am scared shitless by the idea of facing him again. But, I am also ready because I believe that this will be healing for me if I am able to explain to someone and know that he will finally get punished for all the horrible things he put my family through.

Always yours,

Autumn

Mindful Mondays- 08/11/14

Mindful Mondays

I completed my first 7 days of my chakra challenge!

In this time, I have done numerous sun salutations and I really did see an improvement in my anxiety. Every time that it would begin to flare up, I would just stand for a few moments in mountain pose or run through the yoga asana I posted. After a few moments, peace would return. However, I did begin to see a lot more anger in my daily life. It seemed as if, once I realized what I was trying to hide from, and once I was no longer scared, I seemed to become angry at the people and circumstances that had led me to become this fearful. I loved doing the yoga asana, and would sometimes go through it a few times a day. The meditation, on the other hand, I really struggled with. I also had a bit of difficulty doing the mantra. I am sure that with more practice, I won’t be so awkward and I will begin to reap the added benefits of the meditation, as well as the yoga.

Now I will focus my energies to balancing my Svadhisthana Chakra, or Sacral Chakra. This Chakra is located at the base of the pubic bone. It is associated with creativity, birth, emotional identity, sexual identity, desire, pleasure, and self-gratification. When this Chakra is blocked, we can feel congested or empty inside, and our creativity will suffer. The symbol of the Sacral Chakra is an orange lotus flower with six petals, while the element of the Sacral Chakra is water.

In order to balance my Sacral Chakra, I will be doing a few suggested poses to create my own unique asana. From yoga.com, I will be incorporating the triangle pose, child’s pose, and cobra pose. I will also incorporate the butterfly pose, the pigeon pose, and the garland pose. I am going to aim for posting a photo series of this sequence, or maybe even a video, in order to actually provide you guys with a visual.

The mantra for the Sacral Chakra will simply be, “VAM”.

Namaste Y’all,

Autumn

Blog Hop!

Discovering Autumn, Inspiration

blog-hopSo I was passed the Blog Hop baton by Lisa! Show Lisa some love by checking out her awesome blog!

From what I understand about this Blog Hop is that I will answer these questions from Lisa, and then pass the Baton on to two other lovely bloggers, and they will answer some questions.

Thank you, again, to Lisa for this awesome acknowledgement!

 **What am I working on/writing?

         Just this blog, really. I have worked on a few things with one of my mentors, who was my writing professor my freshman year of college. She is awesome, and has really encouraged me to put myself out there with my writing. She was the first person I opened up to, in writing, about my abuse and past. It was totally freeing to begin to express all those pent up frustrations, and she never once judged me.

 **Why do I write what I do?

          I just write what I know, or about what I want to know. I’m no expert…yet. I honestly believe I have an interesting and unique take on the world. I promise you I won’t fit any of your stereotypes. I may not be very public about everything, but that’s because I have learned the hard way that those who say they are your friends, are usually enemies waiting for the perfect time to strike.

 **How does my writing process work?

         I have a list where I put ideas for blog posts and writing assignments, and I keep a TON of journals to keep ideas in. I also just free-write sometimes. Sometimes, I just open up my blog and type up a couple drafts so that I have a reference point for when I run out of inspiration. I regularly go back to my idea list and attempt to expand on my ideas.

         I do have a few things that I doubt I will share, but still want to keep because they remind me of how far I have come, and how much farther I am going to go. Instead of doing self-destructive acts, I began to write letters. Letters that were never sent, just kept in a drawer out of sight of others. Sometimes the letters would be addressed to my mother, other times to my father, and other times to myself. It helped me get all my frustrations out, but in a positive way.

TAG! You’re it!

1. Zoe

2. Not Your Victim

I hope I didn’t confuse you guys too much with what this is, but I wasn’t really sure at first. Just go for it! I find both of your blogs extremely inspiring, and I doubt you will have any trouble answering these questions.

Much Love,

Autumn Ann

 

Mindful Mondays – 08/04/14

Discovering Autumn, Inspiration, Mindful Mondays

First off, I would like to say HAPPY AUGUST! School is around the corner, as is my namesake season!

I have decided to start a 49 day meditation challenge!

I decided one the 49 day length because it would allow me to dedicate a week to each of the 7 Chakras. Every Mindful Monday will be my plan for the upcoming week, and my results and methods from the previous week. I will meditate and do yoga targeted at each specific Chakra.

Chakras are seven points that are believed to be the link between mind and the physical body. Kundalini yoga is the school of yoga that focuses on opening all the Chakras. Enlightenment is attained once energy is flowing all the way from the Root Chakra up to the Crown Chakra.

To start off, I will be balancing the Base, or Root, Chakra. The Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine, and governs acceptance, confidence, and security. Resentment and rigidity are two shadow emotions of the Root Chakra. A lotus with four petals is the symbol of the Root Chakra, while the element of the Root Chakra is Earth.

The Root Chakra deals with survival, but can become blocked by fears. When the Root Chakra is clear we feel confident and protected. However, when it is blocked we feel anxious.

I will be following this yoga asana from the Free People Blog

The mantra for the Root Chakra that I will use is simply, “LAM”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

image
Excuse the awkward no makeup, hair up, meditation pose. My face looks so uncomfortable, but I promise that I don’t always look like that.

Liebster Award!

Inspiration

I am so ridiculously excited to be doing this! LiebsterAward_3lilapples

Also, I am so very honored to be nominated for the Liebster Award by Zoe. She is fantastic, wonderful, and you should definitely check out her blog (just click her name)!

The Liebster Award is a great way to find new blogs, and maybe even make more blogging friends (YAY FRIENDS).

DA RULES:

1. Post 11 facts about yourself

2. Answer the eleven questions provided by the person who nominated you, and then create an eleven-question set for the next group of nominees.

3. Choose eleven people to nominate and link them in the post.

4. Let your nominees know they’ve been tagged – and no tag-backs!

5. Try to nominate blogs under 200 followers.

My 11 Facts

1. I am obsessed with Pugs and French Bulldogs. Actually, obsessed is an understatement.

2. I am unfortunately have a gluten intolerance (but I will cheat sometimes if a cookie is awesome).

3. I am going into my second year at the University of Denver, but I will (fingers-crossed) be graduating a year early with my B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience.

4. I am an extremely proud sister of the Rho chapter of Delta Zeta. Also, my big, Zoe, is perfection and I am absolutely obsessed with her. Sorry, not sorry.

5. I cannot stay off Pinterest. I’m 99% positive I can be diagnosed as having an addiction. (Like Big, like Little)

6. I love to read, and usually end up buying a bunch of books at one time that take me a while to read.

7. I am also obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio and Drake. Have you seen Leo with a Frenchie?

LOOK AT LEO WITH A FRENCHIE

8. If it’s not monogrammed, is it truly mine?

9. I am obsessed with everything Gatsby.

10. I have 2 younger brothers and 2 younger sisters. Also, my mom is considering have more kids, bless her heart.

11. I was born in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Then we moved to Bainbridge, Georgia, then onto Fitzgerald, Georgia, then Panama City, Florida. Most of my life has been in the south.

(Ok, so finding 11 facts about myself was actually harder than I thought it would be.)

Questions from Zoe

  1. What is your biggest fear? Failure, I’ve kinda gotten over heights.
  2. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Let your college years be your selfish years.
  3. What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you? Brought me my fave Starbucks drink when I got rejected from my top college.
  4. What is your order at Starbucks? I have 3. For when I am super tired: Venti Iced Caramel Macchiato with extra caramel. For when I just want something sweet: Venti Frozen Strawberry Limeade. For my everyday drink: London Fog Latte, or what my Big & I call them, Foggy Bottom Lattes.
  5. If you could be a character from any book, who would it be? Most likely Sara Crewe from A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett because even though she goes through so much hardship, someone makes her life amazing after she has been thrown in the dust.
  6. What is your favorite movie? Tie between The Master of Disguise, Pitch Perfect, and Mean Girls.
  7. If you could have a meal with any famous person – living or dead – who would it be and what would you eat? QUEEN BEY. Need I say more? Also, we would dine on sushi.
  8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go? Tie between The Big Apple and Greece.
  9. What is your guilty pleasure TV show? So many! House of Cards, The Office, Orange is the New Black, and Supernatural.
  10. If you could have any celebrity’s wardrobe, who would it be? This is a tough one. Probably Olivia Palermo.
  11. What words do you live by (favorite quote, etc.)? “Do it with passion or not at all.” I used it for my senior year yearbook quote, and it has been my mantra since then.

Questions for my nominees

  1. Stripes or Polka Dots?
  2. Signature Starbucks drink?
  3. What’s your best feature, in your opinion? (Self love, y’all)
  4. If you could live in another era, which era would you choose? I will also require an explanation…
  5. Who inspires you?
  6. Describe your perfect day.
  7. Favorite way to relax and de-stress?
  8. Describe one quirk about yourself.
  9. What was your childhood dream?
  10. What is your mantra/favorite quote?
  11. What’s one item off your bucket list?

Tag, you’re it!

1. Jocelyn at The Fox and Fern

2. Sara at Mommy Summers

3. Jasmine at Nezra’s Opiate

4. Steven at Hyper Reality

5. Callie at Bottled Creativity

6. The Sugar Baby Diary

7. Ally at Preppy Little Lesbian

8. Sierra at http://scarterk.blogspot.com/

9. Tanya at Tanya Necole Events

10. Samantha at California to London

11. Lisa at Lisa Listed

 

Have fun,

Autumn

p.s. If you want to be up here, just let me know! 🙂

This is important, trust me.

Discovering Autumn, Inspiration, Invincibility, Soundtrack to my life

To everyone who has suffered from depression, eating disorder, any other mental disorders. To everyone that has ever self-harmed, purged, or hated their bodies. This is for us.

Mary Lambert is an amazing songstress. I wanted to share one of her songs with you today because it was something I needed to hear today. It makes me cry and it hurts, but it makes me realize a lot of things.

Please listen to this.

It will be hard, trust me.

I don’t want to go into too many details about myself, but this song hits home within the first few lines. I ugly cry every time I play this song.

If you ever need anyone to talk to, I promise you that I am here. I understand. It may not always seem like it, but I have been through a lot, and I am still here to tell the sad, sad, tale.

Please, shoot me an email if you need someone to be there for you. I want you to know, that even though I don’t know you, you deserve to be happy. You deserve to feel loved and to feel amazing in your skin.

All my love,

Autumn

Mindful Mondays- 07/28/14

Discovering Autumn, Inspiration, Mindful Mondays

I had a difficult time today. I definitely struggled with being optimistic, mindful, and I don’t even think I had a moment of happiness. I missed my morning yoga routine along with my meditation due to some other circumstances, I didn’t eat a proper meal; basically the beginning of my day didn’t start the way it usually does. I kept thinking to myself, how can I write about mindfulness if I can’t even find the time to meditate? How can I spread the gospel of mindfulness if I ended up having a bit of a cry fest today?

That’s when I realized, sometimes you just have to cry. Sometimes a good crying sesh will help clear you mind, and help you get out all that tension. If done correctly, it can be almost as restorative as a short meditative session.

But, you can’t just cry. You have to realize WHY you are crying. Note what caused it. For me, it was the feeling that I was losing control. I didn’t finish an important assignment (in a class I’m not doing so well in), didn’t get any of my other work done, my morning routine became screwed up royally; things seemed to just keep going wrong.

That’s when my stress and anxiety levels rose so high, that demon of depression to rear its hideous heads. I shut down and went numb, not even being able to make myself do my work. I couldn’t even hold in my crying.

After that crying, I regained myself. I decided I couldn’t keep letting these things get to me, I couldn’t keep letting these bad days completely throw me off track. That’s where my mindfulness came in on this horrible, terrible, no-good Monday.

So, I ask, how do you lovely people deal with “off” days?

Hope you had a Mindful Monday, and Namaste Y’all,

Autumn

Beauty Challenge

Discovering Autumn, Inspiration

As I am sure most of you have seen on your Facebook wall, is the challenge to share 5 photos where you feel truly beautiful. I was challenged today by an old friend, and while doing this, I realized how hard it truly was. Every picture I came across had something wrong with it. “I can’t bring that back to the attention of my friends! Look at my pudge!”, “My outfit looks horrendous!”, and similar thoughts ran through my head as I searched through my Facebook albums. Even the pictures I ended up choosing I believed had a few issues.

Due to the fact that I am suffering from severe clinical depression and anxiety; happiness doesn’t come very often. So, I came to the conclusion that when I am truly happy, I am truly beautiful. Therefore, these pictures of me are when I am truly happy. I am not dwelling on the abuse I suffered throughout my life, or the “impending doom” of my future. I am focusing on myself, and trying my hardest to live in the moment.

Now I have to ask, what makes you lovely people feel beautiful?

Sending happiness your way,

Autumn

p.s. you should definitely check out the post I reblogged about Meghan Trainor from HyperReality about body positivity!

My best friends, Darbi and Andrea, at Halloween this year.

My best friends, Darbi and Andrea, at Halloween this year.

My Big and I at a sorority convention

My Big and I at a sorority convention

My sister and I at the Senior Formal photo booth

My sister and I at the Senior Formal photo booth

My sisters and I before our blind date formal

My sisters and I before our blind date formal

My date and I for my sorority's senior formal

My date and I for my sorority’s senior formal