My Scary Bucketlist Goal…

My Scary Bucketlist Goal…

With #worldmentalhealthday last week and the latest trends of #mentalhealthawareness I have felt the pull to share my personal experiences and thoughts on it. That was part of my list of original intentions of why I started this blog. (See my About page…)

But in all reality, I have been TERRIFIED. I have had posts planned and half written for months. I have been scared of any sort of backlash – legitimate opinions that I am not qualified to share because I am privileged with wonderful friends and family. My struggles are no where near as terrible and painful as someone else next to me. I have been scared of sharing what I feel is one of my biggest weaknesses, and the thing that I have been most ashamed of the past couple of years.

The truth is: I know what it’s like, for me, to not understand why I am feeling so sad in such positive and exciting circumstances. I know what it’s like to jump from overjoy to depression in the matter of moments. I know what it’s like to not be able to breath from anxiety. I know what it’s like to not be able to eat because my insides are curled up from panic. I know what it’s like to have panic attacks where I am physically sore for days after. I know what it’s like to sob. I know what it’s like to be in the dark. I know what it’s like to question my worth and value due to my mental health, which can be hard to explain to others.

Fear is one of the biggest attributes of my life and when I see friends and myself shying away from potentially incredible moments because of fear I’m usually the first one to say, “Go for it! Since it’s scary it will only be more worth it!” but that is much easier said than done. But I’m going to do it and make it part of my Bucketlist…

Do one scary thing.

It is a Bucketlist item that will always be re-added to the list, because there will always be something scary to do, share, say, sing, live, attempt, etc. Once this, sharing my mental health journey, is not as scary, there will always be something else to add.

So take a listen to those closest to you. Understand that you won’t always understand, but are willing to share love. Be a listening ear and be willing to share. Whether that be with yourself in a journal, to a close friend or family member, or a therapist (highly recommended!)

Please comment, message, share! I know connecting with others always helps me (so I may be being a little selfish in wanting to make more internet friends ;)) so please message away!

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Instagram – @beccaanneclarke and @thanksfortheadventureblog

and Facebook

Thanks for the Adventure

Thanks for the Adventure, Scary Bucketlists….

Thoughts by a Human…

Thoughts by a Human…

It has been one of those weeks…changes have been happening, positive and negative. Contemplating life. And having no job, more time, results in lots of thoughts. This is my space of the internet and I would like to share those thoughts. Please share yours or share this!

So here are some thoughts by a human (me)…

 

Human existence is amazing. So much can happen to one human being on this planet. And there have been so many human lives, each of them unique. Every view of the world is unique and beautiful in its own right. Every comprehension of human life, what was before and what is after is unique. Maybe that’s why it is so hard to find the truth. Is there one certain truth to life? Or just our own unique truths? How you want to exist in the world and possibly the next (if you believe in that of course!)

Maybe that’s why I, personally, don’t believe in coincidences? Because every moment, person, experience, and emotion I have felt has shaped me, very uniquely, to the human being I am. And I wouldn’t change it. I can’t imagine a different self, because what has happened to me, happened. Again I wouldn’t change that.

It’s amazing how much our perspective of time changes through our lives. As a child there is so much time. A year is a large portion of our lifetime. Our natural existence fills the time. As we grow older priorities and responsibilities fill our time. We manipulate our time to alter the way we exist. We can change the direction of our lives with a single choice. We can change the direction of life to find a existence that we love and feel fulfilled in. What power, yet we are still at the whims of time, health, the Earth, those we love and hate, societal expectations, personal expectations, emotions… the list goes on and on.

I think our own emotions are the most difficult part of life. We are at their mercy. They are constantly changing. We can’t anticipate or control them. Sometimes they appear so strongly that we become consumed, forever changed by them. They are the one thing that we can’t put into words. The deepest parts of our souls, I believe, reveal themselves through our feelings. To others in our lives, they can never be fully justified or even proven.

So there is nothing wrong with dictating our lives based on our feelings, emotions, or a feeling we get from something or someone. They may lead to mistakes or even better, triumphs.

Every emotion is a success of the human experience. It means we are here and alive. Even with the darkest and most lonely ones.

We do, and should, try our best to respect ourselves – our “souls”, whatever that means to you, and our emotions. We should also respect others. We are all the same. Existing together, uniquely. No moment of time and space is the same from before or after that moment. It’s okay to clutch to some of those moments and to let go of others. But we should never try to only in one, single, moment. Always moving forward.

It’s okay to cry or jump for joy. It’s okay to share your failures and triumphs. It’s okay to view the world and all that is holds differently from those around you. As long as respect and love are given. That is what is at the core of kindness and morals. All are valued, important, worth, loved, respected – no matter where they are in their experience.

We are all human.

Thanks for the Adventure life. And thoughts.

Thanks for the Bucketlist #2

Thanks for the Bucketlist #2

Next Item on the list…

Item #2

To read 52 books in one year

It seems like a lot. Which it is. But I want something difficult, and almost unachievable. If I don’t make it, there is always next year. Now for an explanation. There is meaning behind every dream…

I LOVE reading. Always have. I don’t remember when reading clicked for me. I’ve always been able to recognize words. I remember sitting in my booster seat in the back of my parent’s red Saturn, driving down the street and seeing signs. I would challenge myself to see if I could recognize every word. I remember reading my book out loud to an older kid on my school bus and not recognizing the word “island.” But then feeling so proud of myself, knowing the word every time after. It fascinated me, words. Then stories. I would start a book and get engrossed in the stories and characters. The books I was choosing got longer and longer and the challenge to see how fast I could get through a book began. It was exciting.

I remember when “Chapter Books” became my biggest accomplishment. My favorites were the Junie B. Jones series and Magic Treehouse or the American Girl Doll book series. Then I started figuring out genres I enjoyed. Mostly Fiction, especially Historical Fiction, and of course Fantasy. (What kid in the early 2000s didn’t like Fantasy? Harry Potter ruled the world.) As I got older more genres were added to that list. Romance and Literary Classics were at the top. Now it is memoirs and Non-fiction with dashes of the original favorites.

My required reading assignments never were homework to me (even the papers in college).  I would always read ahead and have to remind myself constantly to stop to answer the worksheets that went alongside. I would win awards for reading the most pages, or gaining the most “points” from the computerized book tests we took.

My favorite time in elementary school was when the teacher would read aloud to the class after lunch. I will always remember The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo and sitting in my 4th Grade class with Mrs. Helvy.

In high school I spent two whole summers searching every discount book shelf for books on the AP Literature list. My Mom would carry the many pages of listed books in her purse. Then I read as many as I could to “get ahead.”

Books and stories saved me. Many times. They saved me from boredom. They saved me from feeling inadequate or not cool (surprisingly…) They gave me a way to connect to people, even adults, by being able to share common interests or a love for a classic children’s novel. They also saved me from loneliness.

When I was 13 my family made a sudden move from California to Utah. It was the middle of the school year with no warning. I remember the day we left our home in CA we stopped at a Barnes & Noble on the way to the expansive freeway. My Mom had promised to buy me a book, which was rare as libraries are a thing and books are expensive, as a reward for helping pack and not fighting too much against the move. I chose Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Admittally I loved it. I read probably the first 100 pages on the drive, completely taken away from my current situation that I despised. The main character also was moving, in the middle of a school year, to a new place with no friends. There was not much more comparisons after that, but I loved the book. I loved the world. It also gave me something to talk about with other girls that I was meeting at my new school.

Summer came and I had found very little friends in my month and a half at my new Utah school. I had church acquaintances but no one I felt close enough to consistently make plans with outside of weekly youth activities. I was also the only girl my age…Boys were gross at 13. But I did find the library. Weekly, my Mom would drag us kids out of the house, or I would ride my bike in the 100 degree heat to the library. I would scour the YA section, usually picking random books from the “Newly Released” section based off of their covers. I loved long series because they would take longer to get through, and you got more time with the characters. I would usually check out 3-7 books at a time and drag them home in the plastic trash bag the librarian would stack them in.

That entire summer in my small, air-conditioned room with the radio on to the local pop station I sat on the navy blue, corduroy, pull-out couch that was placed under the front window. I read so many books that summer. I also listened to quite bit of Linkin Park and Katy Perry. But those books saved me for ultimately a very lonely 3 months.

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Books and stories have saved me from anxiety. I feel those panicked feelings bubbling and I listen to the speeding thoughts going through my head. When I pick up a book and allow myself to dive in completely I feel calmer. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time, as I do when I watch Netflix or browse Facebook. I am discovering a story, a world, and people.

In my opinion some of the most admirable people, specifically women, are authors. Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Louisa May Alcott, J.K. Rowling to name a few. They all challenged the world by creating stories. Not only are their books a joy to read and the characters important to me and so many others around the world, but their own personal lives are inspiring and relatable. Do you know anything about Louisa May Alcott’s life and her personal views? Rowling’s struggle to find herself? You should. It doesn’t matter when they lived, what genre of literature they wrote, or even why they decided to write. We are all human, and words are one of the best ways to share our personal humanity to others. Thankfully authors are brave enough to share those words.

Stories are the reason I was driven to performing. I like to think that books started that. The amount of individual stories are innumerable when looking at plays, musical theater pieces, operas, art songs, and song cycles. Themes cross over multiple genres and over  centuries. As a performer, I can find myself in almost every character I have encountered. There is a thrill when discovering a story that is paired with incredible music, or some beautifully written dialogue. Then to share it using every skill set imaginable is a whirlwind.

Stories can show us that there is a way to survive and live. Through the good and bad. Our entire lives are compiled of our own individual stories. Which is why I think they are worth sharing. You never know who you can have a connection with. And somehow seeing moments in our lives especially difficult ones as stories they seem smaller, simpler, but significant.

After I finished college, dealing with mental health and a slew of changes in my life I could feel myself wanting to go back. To bring back a simplicity into my life. Books came back. They have allowed me to slow down. I have found the feelings of being engrossed in a world that is not the one that I am sitting in, which I have missed. There are moments where I feel as if I am the same girl who sat on that pull-our couch 10 years ago. I have the same insecurities and fear of being lonely.

I want to discover more books, stories, and authors. I want to finally read those novels that have been sitting on my bookshelf for years. I want to share these stories with you.

So here’s to the next item of my Bucketlist. I don’t think it will ever stop. I will always have some sort of reading goal. I technically started in May, but have procrastinated sharing because it is scary to share…

Join my challenge, see what books I am reading, and what I think of them at my Goodreads!

Thanks for the Adventure books!

An Introduction…

An Introduction…

I want a add an introduction for Mister Jasper the Dog.

Jasper has saved me in too many ways. Too many to count and too many to list. But here is a part of his story and some of those ways that he has saved me.

Jasper is small, energetic and loving Chihuahua/Jack-Russel Terrier mix. (JACKCHI!) He was born somewhere in California in December of 2016. He was probably adorable and small with all the love that he currently has now to share. At some point he was abandoned at a park where he was probably afraid and untrusting. Luckily some rescuers came along and chased him around for a couple of hours. (Mister is FAST and he knows it…)

Then comes the next human in this story, Grandma. My Grandmother had recently lost another rescue Chihuahua named Pepe. She saved him and he saved her. She wanted another little guy to give her love and that she could drown in love as well. She found Jasper, who at the time was named Owen. She picked him for his coloring and overall demeanor of a shy, loving, and attention seeking lap dog. She knew that she needed to save him. She told me that the name Jasper just came to her, that it wasn’t after anyone or anything in particular. Just that his name was supposed to be Jasper. Which was strange, seeing that she likes to recycle the name Pepe.

That summer I was in Germany. My Dad and siblings were in California. Jasper was 7 months old. He was terrified of my Dad. Would bark, growl, and hide but he loved my sister.

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That first picture…

My Grandma admitted that he was too much for her. The example she used to me was, “He would pull all the bathmats out of every bathroom!” Yep. That’s accurate. My Dad offered to take him back to Utah as my parents had just gotten another dog, Chewy, who was the same age. He sent me a text with Jasper’s picture and I fell in love. I jokingly texted back, “I want him!” And then it began…

For awhile my doctor and I had discussed the possibility of getting a pet for my anxiety. I grew up with a dog, Brenna, who entered our life right when I was struggling with extreme anxiety as an 8 year old. She saved me too. My roommate/best friend had just gotten married just before I left for Europe and the possibility of living alone terrified me. It was perfect timing.

I got home and visited my parents. Our first meeting wasn’t full of sparks or fireworks. He was nervous but definitely gave me kisses. Over the course of the next few days he opened up more and would cry and anxiously paw in excitement when I would walk by the dog pen.

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Chewy and Jasper during my first visit

I left for Salt Lake City with a doctor’s note in hand to give my apartment management and admittedly a fear that it wasn’t going to work. I didn’t feel the overwhelming love like I had for Brenna. I was even worried that I wasn’t going to miss him.

The next couple weeks were agony as I waited for my application to get approved. I did miss him and the excitement of being a Dog Mom exploded. I told everyone and anyone and showed off the few pictures I had of him.

My Dad arrived to my apartment less than a week before the semester began. Jasper showed up nervous and with drool dangling from his mouth. We brought him inside to my large and lonely apartment, closed the door and put him on the floor…and he exploded. His personality shot out of his body. He began running around the entire living room, bounding on top of couches, the futon, and multiple bodies. He began kissing everyone. He started playing with his toys. His tail even twitched a few times.

My Dad exclaimed, “I have never seen this. He is a completely different dog.”

I don’t know how many times I have heard that since. Or how many times I’ve heard, “You two were meant to be.”

As cheesy and romantic as that sounds, to talk about a small dog that way, it is true.

It was meant to be. The next week after starting our adventure together some events happened in my personal life. My mental health spiraled out of control. I lost friends. I lost myself. But Mister Jasper rose to the occasion. I would not have survived those moments without him. He got me out of bed. He got me to smile. He simply showed me that love and joy were possible in his own unique and innocent way.

The rest is history. It took a couple of months for that special and unbreakable bond to form. I am still learning all of his unique traits, needs, likes, dislikes etc. But he is now my constant companion. He comes to work with me, to the store, to school, on road trips, hikes or any other sort of adventure I try to find. Everyone falls in love with him instantly. He gives an unlimited amount of kisses and has too many quirks to list here. His tail wags, or more accurately twitches in strange directions, constantly. People call him a “light” or “lightbulb.” He makes people smile. But more importantly I have him. I have a purpose with him. He makes me laugh and smile and gives me cuddles when I cry or just because. Yes I am talking about just a dog but he’s my dog.

I will share about him more. So just you wait…

So Thanks for the Adventure Mister Jasper….

***Check him out on Instagram @misterjasperthedog!

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