Wake up. Go to work. Go to school. Smile and laugh through the day. Keep the house clean. Check-in on friends and family. Eat then go to bed. Life: a never-ending circuit.
What do we do when a circuit shorts? Reset it, refresh the hard drive, turn it on and off again or if all fails, you start anew.
The whole world reached a halt over two years ago. Enthusiasm for things that used to be so exciting started to dissipate as the hope of returning to “normal” began to greatly fade. Sadness filled the streets, air, and atmosphere. The never-ending circuit became interrupted with refreshing opportunities most took for granted.
Many took this moment in life to dread things that are inevitable, others seemed to melt into the darkness that their minds have created.
I chose to take this moment to relax, refresh and reconnect.
I laid to rest all of the negative thoughts and actions that corrupted the happiness that used to thrive inside of me. Three months of isolation was only the beginning of a lifelong change. I took this alone time to appreciate everything about myself I did not appreciate before, the curly hair, the height, the way my laugh is unique to the world.
I disappeared from everyone that helped me and everyone that cared for me; not to sit in darkness, but to refresh my mentality. It all began with self-care. I bought new clothes to wear, started wearing my hair in different styles, and completed a face routine every day. I realized a lot of unhappiness came from not taking care of myself and not supporting myself when needed. I became nicer to myself. I searched for hours on end for different ways to appreciate myself. I stumbled upon an amazing website that explained how to evenly distribute love to yourself every day for a year: 365 Affirmations For Attracting Health, Wealth, And Happiness Into Your Life - Viral Rang. I then took one affirmation for each day of the week, creating my own Seven Morning Affirmations. These sayings are what kept my mind in go-mode and not in end-mode:
~ I am enough.
~ I believe in my dreams, myself, and all that I am.
~ I love myself for who I am.
~ I create my own happiness.
~ My life is filled with an abundance of goodness.
~ My challenges are actually opportunities.
~ I am beautiful just the way I am.
I began by writing these affirmations on my bathroom mirror to make me purposely read them when I woke up. After a couple of days, I memorized all seven and happily took them off my mirror and placed it in my permanent memory. Soon enough, I realized hurting the person I am today is only taking jabs at younger Kaitlyn that helped path the way to a strong individual.
Sure there were moments I would sometimes snap back into negative thoughts but the will to be better to myself and others helped bring me back to reality. Something my brother used to tell me is “Bad days and thoughts are like bruises, if you keep poking at it, it will never get better.” I was always good at smiling through the bad thoughts when I was around others but whenever I was alone, I would let every bad thought take over. These thoughts started to go away the more I practiced self-care. I occasionally would draw, write a story or sometimes play my guitar. Switching up the activity every other day helped with the inevitable quarantine boredom but in the end, I always resorted to tv shows. It is amazing how a 15-minute homemade face mask, a cold water bottle, and a tv show could make you love yourself a little more each minute. I was more comfortable with being by myself, I appreciated the Kaitlyn I looked in the eye every morning.
Would I ever befriend myself? I used to answer that question with no. As I grew to truly understand my own wants and needs, all that negativity laid to a permanent rest.
Would I befriend myself now? I am my own best friend, self love should always remain first.
How about you? Would you ever befriend yourself? I hope the answer is yes, but if not, that is totally okay. It takes a lot of time and dedication to appreciate everything you are. A journey no one wants to take, but everyone needs.
When quarantine restrictions were lifted, I participated in more outdoor activities. I went on hikes, in-state, and out-of-state road trips, pool parties, barbeques, and every other summer activity you could think of. I found myself no longer speaking to some of the friends I spoke to before quarantine; it seemed as if I outgrew them. Or in more relatable words, some people truly suck and it is what it is. The more people I met throughout the months, the more I realized I was okay with who I had become. I no longer depended on people’s commentary about me and I no longer told myself I was not enough.
I saw my happy new circuit begin to thrive again.
As the weather started to become a rather bitter cold, I met a person who was also on the same path to refresh his mentality. He moved from Colorado to Las Vegas to take care of his grandparents. It was almost as if we were never strangers, we instantly connected and began to become inseparable. It has only been a year and a half and I could not imagine facing any hard battles without him.
He made me realize; that though life is hard and there are moments that really suck, you never have to struggle alone. Love yourself so you are able to love others harder.
He even got me into some wacky things. Who in the world eats kiwis like this? Me, ever since meeting him, weird things are more refreshing.
Throughout the two years since quarantine; I am not going to lie, I dwelled on some bad thoughts. I am human, how can you blame me? I learned it is good to express your feelings but not to the point where it hurts others.
I began to reconnect with some people I vanished from, not just any people specific, my family. We did not have a good relationship before quarantine. My brother, many states away in New Mexico, called me one afternoon and we started speaking as if we never stopped in the first place. He told me how he has been doing since the outbreak and how his circuit is starting to run a lot better than before. We spoke about my change in character and how I am seizing the days and trying to become better for myself and my loved ones. As we were talking, we made a plan for me to come visit him while in New Mexico. At that time, he gave me the red Ford Fusion I drive today. It felt great to speak to him again.
He told me I should reconnect with my mom, she missed me but she was too stubborn to be the one to admit it. I waited about a month and called my mom. She was so happy to hear from me, I could hear her cry through the phone, but of course, she was not going to admit it to me. It felt really nice to hear my mom’s voice again. It sucked it took a journey for me to appreciate everything, but it was worth the outcome.
I started picking back up old hobbies, wondering why I even stopped in the first place. It is really funny how our brain operates, I guess you never really never miss something until you let it.
Sometimes things breaking down is good, you just have to learn how to fix it for the better. With some broken things we come across in life, we may have to take them apart to fix or sometimes just simply, refresh.
About the Author
Kaitlyn is a medicine research technician at Charles River Labs - Reno. She is currently going to ASU for a master's in Medicinal Chemistry. Her dream is to create medicine that benefits the people taking them rather than induce gruesome and annoying side effects. When not working or educating herself, Kaitlyn finds herself taking in the fresh air and nature of the new city, Sparks/Reno, which she moved to in the early spring of 2022. She heavily practices self-care and always encourages everyone around her to practice it as well. One of her favorite sayings is, “There may be 7 billion people in the world, but self-love should always remain first.”