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Taking A Leap

Recently, in my psychology class, we were learning about self-esteem and self-image.

Me being me, I didn’t really stop to think about my own personal self-esteem/image. It wasn’t until I reached a portion of the assignment where we were required to write a whole alphabet of positive adjectives, that we would use to to describe ourselves.

Also, get this: For each letter of the alphabet, it had to have TWO positive describing words. TWO. I can barely think of five positive words to describe myself, under normal circumstances, but to come up with fifty-two positive words about me??

Sitting back in the uncomfortable, wooden chair, I let out an exasperated sigh as I read the instructions once more. Ya’know, normal people would start whippin’ out compliments for themselves, left and right; key word: normal. Not that I’m not normal, I’m just really awful about positively describing myself. Sitting back once more–mentally, this time around–I realized that the fact that I could not come up with more than just the five generic words I had was a teensy problem. Self-evaluation time.

After doing a little research (and when I say research, I mean a five-second Google search), I was able to find a starter list of different words (seriously, God bless Google). For whatever odd reason, I was slightly taken aback by some of the words. Just the mere sight of them made me really think about the type of person that I am, and the way people would describe me, if they were given this exact same list of words.

It was this thought that made me realize that there’s so much more to me than just, “the five generic words.” This thought has also motivated me to be a better person overall.

When people think of me or describe me to others, I don’t want them to describe me as rude, timid, or boastful. No! I want to be known as kind, bold, and sacrificial! How do I expect to reach the world if I’m someone who’s bitter and fearful? It was this heart-wrenching thought that inspired me to step out, a little.

I’ve always wanted to do some type of blog where I can just ramble about whatever is on my heart or mind, but I’ve always been so fearful of what others would say; if they even read it! Well, that, and I’m just so bad with procrastination (haha). However, wanting to scrape away that “fearful” label, I decided to start the said, “blog.”

I don’t claim to be a great writer or someone with perfect ideas to write about (God knows I’m not!), but writing is something I’ve always had a passion for. So if, by some miracle, this, “blog,” makes it onto the screens of other’s devices, I hope they acknowledge that I’m merely trying to reach my world in a way that I know best.

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

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I Am a Dreamer

I am a dreamer.

More often than not, I create ridiculous scenarios in my head that typically always fall through. I can’t lie and say that I’m never disappointed, but is (insert extremely good-looking male actor) riding in on a horse and rescuing me from a long shift at work, really realistic? Not exactly, but it passes the time while I’m stuck there. I’ll reap the consequences later.

My dreams often range from fairly normal to absolutely absurd, but more so the latter, between you and me. Sometimes I can’t even take my own self serious, they’re that weird. But, you know what? That’s a part of who I am. I was born a naturally creative and imaginative person. Throughout my childhood, I can remember reading, writing, drawing and creating different games, based off of my imagination. I could play by myself for hours, simply going by the scenarios I concocted. It all made me feel happy and free.

Fast forward to my teen years. My imagination began to shift its focus from alternate universes and make-believe, to guys and my future. I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment that it completely flipped, but I do know that it got to a point where I imagined pretty much every cute guy I came across, as my future husband. Go ahead, laugh it up or heavily scorn me; I’m used to both. It’s not how it sounds, though. Well, it is, but it isn’t. You see, it’s not like I was romantically interested in them or anything. I’m just such an imaginative person that my mind would register a cute guy, then it would do all sorts of craziness and bam. I met the guy, we went out on 6 dates, he asked me to be his girlfriend, then his fiance and then we eventually got married. All within five minutes. Talk about moving fast.

It’s kind of ironic that I’m admitting all of this aloud because I would usually refuse to admit anything remotely embarrassing to others, but in order to understand what I mean, I feel like I have to get down to the nitty gritty. I’m also trying to be more open and honest because I have a bad habit of hiding everything and bottling my emotions. Anyways, that’s another story for another day.

What I am most guilty of, however, is creating the most unrealistic, realistic life scenarios, ever. Ha, what a mouthful.

I don’t know how to quite explain it, other than to say that I often come up with all of these grand ideas or plans, say that I’m going to go through with it or start it, but then later decide that it’s too much work or I can’t do it. You see, this isn’t always a bad thing. I say dream big and shoot for the stars. It’s when I start tagging everything in my mental filing cabinet as, “impractical,” that it begins to become a problem.

For years, I had serious, mapped out plans for my life. Then, little-by-little, I shaved off slivers of those plans until it eventually became, “yeah, I’m not going to college and have no clue as to what I want to do with my life.” I felt stuck, I felt worthless and I felt like I would never be able to accomplish anything. I stopped my daydreaming, I stopped working toward my goals and nearly everything in my life came to a halt. I wasn’t me.

Skip to a random Saturday night, a few months ago. One of my good friends came over just to hang out and we ended up going through some of my old journals. It felt so surreal to see journal entries from my twelve year old self and to actually be sharing them with another person. Being an extremely private person when it comes to my personal thoughts, I never thought I’d see the day. Talk about personal growth! We then moved on to a journal I had started in March of 2016, but never finished. After staying up until 5a.m., reading all of my pointless or heartfelt entries, a feeling I hadn’t felt in a long time began to surface.

Finishing that journal suddenly became a goal that I could realistically accomplish. I knew that if I actually put my mind to it and worked on it consistently, I could finally finish the journal and mark it off on my “to accomplish before dying” bucket list. I really struggled with keeping a consistent journal, y’all, don’t judge. On March 27th of this year, I finished the journal. Two years and one day after I started it, I was FINALLY able to safely tuck it away in one of my memory boxes (another bad habit of mine, but I promise it’s not hoarding) and tell people that I have successfully completed a journal in my lifetime.

It was that one, tiny, accomplished goal that reignited the fire to dream and to cultivate an entirely new perspective for myself.

As of now, I am diligently working toward going to college abroad. This was once a dream that I had imagined, starting at the age of 12, that later became something of the past when I felt I couldn’t accomplish it. I realized not too long ago, however, it’s so much closer than I had originally placed it. It doesn’t have to be a dream because it can be a reality, if I just work hard enough. After being in contact with a university in England and finding out that I qualify for my programs of interest, I have such an indescribable drive to do more.

I’ve had plenty of people tell me that I won’t make it or that I can’t do it, but their words are simply going in one ear and out of the other. Even if my perspective of this specific path changes down the road, I’ll still have the same desire to achieve what was once unachievable.

I am a dreamer and I can and I will reach for the stars and obtain the one that shines the brightest.

Who are you?


Guys! It’s been so long! I hadn’t meant to take so long to post, but I was seriously lacking inspiration. It wasn’t until I was supposed to be doing something else that an idea hit me. Whoops?

Anyways, the said university’s recruitment officer for the Americas recommended blogging, as a way to better my chances of being accepted. Coincidentally, I just so happen to have a personal blog. Win. So, I’m going to try my absolute best to be more active. The current school semester is coming to an end, so I will finally have a little bit of extra freedom to write. Double win.

I hope you’ve all been well and, no, I never forgot about you!

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

Purpose

I’ll be the first to admit that I feel out of place. I feel unsure, I feel incapable and I feel without purpose. It’s those feelings and more that have kept me from doing what I love and following through with plans that I’ve had for myself since I was about twelve years old.

Slowly, over the past of couple months, I’ve eliminated various pieces from future plans. One by one, I took what I once felt I was capable of doing and turned it into something that I was confident I would never be able to do.

It’s gotten so bad that I even questioned whether I’d make a good wife, a good mother or even a good person, overall.

I even gave up on my writing; something that I love dearly and always felt confident in.

I’ll be honest. I became angry with God. I witnessed people being called to greater things, prophesied over and receiving breakthroughs in their lives. I became bitter and withdrew from the church atmosphere, wanting to sulk by myself and question what my purpose even is.

It wasn’t until I began talking with a friend about their similar feelings. It was crazy; it was almost as if they were speaking about my current feelings and mindset.

As I began comforting them and giving them words of encouragement–being someone that enjoys uplifting others, this is something that I tend to do–I realized that I seriously needed to take my own advice.

Because I felt like I didn’t have a specific calling or purpose, I distanced myself from God and subconsciously blamed Him for my lack of place in this world, if you will. Honestly, though? He’s the reason that I’m where I’m at now. Without Him, I’d most likely still be in a depressive state–probably far worse than I once was–and failing at every aspect in my life. His grace is what drives me further and keeps me living, as dramatic as that may sound, to some of my readers.

I know now, religious or not, we all have a purpose for being here. I’m unsure of what I’m meant to do, right now, but I’m content with sharing my story and gifts to help others find their way and improve their lives. I’m humbled by the opportunities that I’m given to speak about the things that I once struggled with and am working on bettering.

We were all born and created for a reason. Perhaps many of us are still confused as to what exactly that purpose is, but I believe that, at some point in our lives, it’s revealed to us. Until that moment, we should make the very best of this life that is given to us. After all, we’re only given one life.

Why not make it a purpose driven life?


Hello! After trying to figure out what to write about, I have finally created something worth posting. Of course it isn’t as lengthy as my usual post, but I realized that length really doesn’t matter, as long as it’s semi-quality material.

I apologize for not responding to the comments left on my previous post; I got a little ahead of myself and continuously forgot to respond to you all! Forgive me!!!

I will, HOPEFULLY, update a little more frequently than every few weeks, but you know how life is.

I hope it’s been treating you well, though! I miss interacting with my blog fam! 😦

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

Life is Crazy: Where Have I Been?

Long time no talk, eh?

After a nearly 5 month hiatus, I am back. To those of you who kindly reached out to me, during my period of absence, it was greatly appreciated!

Where do I even begin?

After my last post, I had intended on posting again. However, it seemed like my schedule just kept filling up and, even when I did have the time, that time was spent reading, enjoying time with friends and, of course, sleeping. The longer I was away from writing, the stronger the writer’s block became. Of course I still journaled–and I even wrote a blog post on a scrap piece of paper!–but the desire just wasn’t there.

At first, it felt like no one had noticed I was gone. I wasn’t sure if anyone would even care if I came back. Selfish, I know. Then, one day, people began reaching out to me, asking when I would be back. I was shocked, to say the least.

Just know…the words that were spoken into my life and the mere act of even seeing if I was okay meant so much to me.

Now, for those who are curious, what have I been up to?

To start, I left the school that I was attending. During that period of time, I was essentially taking classes I didn’t need and spending hours in study halls, simply because the school, “didn’t know where to put me.” Along with this, I also have more credits than needed to graduate, so I was really just sitting in a cold, boring building all day. No fun at all. Long story short, I was physically and emotionally drained and becoming extremely dissatisfied with my life–the cold weather and dreary skies were no help, either.

So, my solution was homeschooling. Yes, my first round with homeschooling didn’t exactly end up “successful,” but I feel that I’m more mature, mentally and emotionally, I’m far more responsible and I definitely have a better understanding of how important school actually is–despite my never-ending desire to leave it. It definitely took some convincing, but I eventually received my parent’s approval and, as of last month, I am enrolled in a homeschooling program.

Using this as segue to explain the next part of why I’ve been absent, I have also changed my work hours. I now no longer work second shift, but rather first shift, instead. Let me tell ya: everything is great. I hated having to go to school, come home, immediately change, then leave and have to work until ten or eleven o’clock, at night, ESPECIALLY with other teens who looooved bringing their drama to work. I realize that that is every teenagers life, all summed up, but I couldn’t do it anymore. I love being able to wake up early, head to work, be off by three, coming home to do what little schoolwork I have and then having the rest of the night to myself. Not to mention, I do not work weekends, as well. It is pure bliss.

Not working during weeknights and on weekends has allowed me so much freedom. As of late, I’ve been spending most of my free-time with my friends and then the rest is spent on Bible quizzing, reading, personal writing, Netflix (just being honest) and various church events. I finally feel as though my life is being spent usefully and it’s what drives me to do more.

My goals for this year are simple; explore, discover and inspire. I’ve spent too many years of my life making goals that I can never accomplish, so, this year, I’m making it my mission to learn and experience as much as possible. I don’t want to grow older and look back on my teenage years with regret. I want to make memories that I can treasure forever, as cliche as that may sound, and I want to make adventures out of what life gives me. After all, life itself is an adventure.

As for writing, that’s something I hope to develop, this year. Starting with this little life-update.

How about you? What have you been up to, in the past few months? I’d love to hear about it!

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

What Does Your Blog Title Say About You?

To take a little step back from all of the seriousness circling my blog, I thought that this would be a fun topic to discuss.

Blog titles are sort of a big deal, aren’t they? They’re essentially the first thing that a reader sees and it gives them an idea of what they’re getting themselves into. Your title also either has the ability to catch one’s attention or it doesn’t. It was those few, out of many, thoughts that pressured me to choose the “perfect” title for my blog.

When I first registered for an account on WordPress, my mind was completely void of meaningful names to call my blog. I wanted something that would stand out and would resemble my current standpoint, in life, but I didn’t want anything “cheesy.” I mean, yeah, you can change your name, but I wanted a good foundation for the start.

As I mentioned before, I wanted perfect. Not perfect as in lacking flaws or impeccable–whatever you want to describe it as–but perfect for my blog and my needs. It had to fit me, perfectly.

For the most part, I knew I’d be talking about my personal life experiences, my thoughts on various things and possibly a few posts on my hobbies. I’ll admit it: I even looked around at other blogs, for inspiration. Honestly, I think I sat there, staring at a wall for 15 minutes, just trying to figure something out.

And then it hit me.

My take on life, my stories, my feelings…it’s all the outcome of my walk, in this life.

I’m still learning how to “do life,” and that’s what I wanted to depict to anyone that gave my blog a chance. I’m just a young woman, stumbling about our world, and attempting to figure out who I am.

I also chose the word ‘stumbling’ simply because I am not graceful, in the slightest. I’m clumsy, I make mistakes and sometimes I’d rather wear a shirt that’s two sizes too big, than my own. That’s life, though, isn’t it? No one’s journey through life is as easy as pie and requires no effort; we’re all stumbling around or tripping over the sidewalk, at some point.

I wanted to remind people that we’re all going through life, at the same time. No, we don’t all walk the same walk, but we’re all moving about. Either way, we’re not alone.

Showing others that I’m struggling, too, is my way of humbling myself. Being prideful won’t get you anywhere, but if it does, did you really establish meaningful connection with your readers? Did you truly make an impact on their lives?

That leads me to why I close my posts with, “Always desire to inspire.”

We live in a dynamic world, yes. It’s always changing–WE’RE always changing–and society is constantly developing. But, as I’ve spoken on before, those changes start with those who are brave enough to take those steps. Before they make the choice to be brave, however, they have to be inspired. Nine times out of ten, I make a change because something motivated or inspired me to make that change.

My goal is to motivate my readers to inspire others; it’s like a chain reaction. I was inspired, which is why I publish my work for others to see. Within that work, I try my absolute best to inspire those who read my posts, in hopes that they’ll take what I have to say and run with it. You have no idea what you could change, simply by providing inspiration.

Thus my motto: Always desire to inspire.

To those of you that own a blog, why did you choose your current title? What does it mean to you? I’d love to hear from you, as always!

On a side note: I’m catching up on my comments, little by little. I take a little longer to respond due to life and not wanting to dispose of you with an insensitive, “thanks.” I hope you understand!

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

Choices

Do you ever have those moments where a song will just randomly pop into your head and then it’s stuck there for days? I am currently suffering from that very thing–not that the song sucks, or anything. 

In the midst of all of my thinking last night, coincidentally as I was trying to sleep, an old song was brought to mind.

George Jones is an artist that was introduced to me by a past friend. He immediately became a personal favorite, solely because he’s authentic. If you’ve been around my blog long enough, you’ll understand how much I value realness. With Jones, he doesn’t leave any emotions out; he expresses his sadness, his mistakes, his happiness…real-world events and emotions and not “meeting people in a club and then hooking up that night.” He also has a pretty great voice, so that’s a bonus.

As I laid in bed, thinking about my past, the song ‘Choices’ came to mind and the lyrics immediately resonated with me, emotionally, at that moment.

“I’ve had choices

Since the day that I was born

There were voices

That told me right from wrong

If I had listened

No I wouldn’t be here today

Living and dying

With the choices I made”

Excerpt of ‘Choices’ by George Jones

We’ve all had choices, have we not? In fact, we still have choices that we are able to make, each and every day. To be specific, the average adult makes, roughly, 35,000 choices a day. Although, for women, it’s probably a little more because, ya’know, we can be a tad bit indecisive (Kidding ;))

35,000 decisions a day; that’s good and bad decisions, too. The question is, though: what do you do with those decisions?

I do not claim to be perfect, whatsoever, because God knows I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. Like George sang, in regards to his life, I had people around to tell me what was right and what was wrong, but I made the choice to not listen. Because I decided to use a few of the 35,000 choices, I make in a day, on bad decisions, I had to reap the consequences for quite a while.

I tarnished the trust between myself and a few individuals that I love, I ruined potential opportunities for myself and I even partially damaged my reputation–something that is a challenge to fix. All of which, previously mentioned, were the outcome of several different occasions where I chose to make the wrong decision. It wasn’t until I was nearly 16 that I realized just how much of an impact each and every decision you make leaves on your life, whether it be big or small. Small decisions add up, too, so be wary of how you act on them.

It took a lot of work to bounce back and re-earn trust, but I made it. Despite bouncing back, however, I will still have to live with the choices I made, until the day I die–and even then, they’ll still be with me because choices follow wherever you go.

The point that I’m trying to make to you is that every choice you make matters. Whether you choose you to eat one thing over another, take up a job offer, drive across town or even walk your dog; they all impact you, someway, somehow. Because of this, you need to be careful with how you decide on some things, no matter how small. Being conscious of your decisions allows you to really think about each possible outcome and will, hopefully, help you avoid some nasty, potential outcomes.

Another thing you need to be aware of is how your decisions affect others. Every single one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that one, in one of my parents’ lectures, but I’m so glad that I finally understand just how true it is.

I used to sit and think about different scenarios, in which I make a random choice, and how it would end up affecting others. Every time, I’d come up with at least one person being affected. You can try to work around it, but it’ll end up coming back to show you. Trust me.

35,000 choices a day. How will you choose to make your choices?

From personal experience, it’s so much better choosing to make the right decisions. You save yourself from the hassle of trying to fix bad-decisions-gone-wrong and it really improves your way of living.

Try it out; make a good decision today and watch what follows after.

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

Learning to Love Yourself

If you thought that I couldn’t be anymore cliche, I’m here to prove you wrong.

No, but, seriously. This is something that I, personally, have been working on and have a few things on my mind, in regards to.

Self-love is something that is often overlooked, when speaking on self-confidence and self-image. It’s almost like most people don’t even realize it’s possible to love yourself and completely disregard anything that would help their self-esteem, thus creating a miserable and insecure mindset.

I should know; I was one of those people. 

I’ve had this post in my drafts for a while and, coincidentally, my friends were talking about it, this morning. It was then that I began reflecting on my own confidence and self-image, as they spoke on how they wanted to be able to say that they were actually ok with themselves, for once. Hearing that my broke my heart because I know what it’s like to wonder when that day is going to come; when will I finally love myself?

You see, loving yourself is so much more than simply looking in the mirror and saying, “I love you,” to your reflection. Loving yourself is looking in the mirror, even on your bad days, and knowing that you’re worth something. I mean, you might even add in a wink or a flirty comment because you’re just feeling that good! When you love yourself, you don’t care how “weird” you can be.

Think of it in terms of loving someone else; when they’re happy, sad, angry or even excited, you love them; when they’re smiling, frowning or making funny faces, you love them; when they’ve upset you or made you angry, you love them; when they think they look absolutely awful, you think that they’re the most precious thing that you’ve ever laid eyes on because you love them.

What a day it’d be if everyone suddenly realized how special they are and how much they have to offer. They’d treat themselves the same way they treat that loved one and they’d value themselves like never before, because they’d understand the concept of loving themselves.

Loving yourself unlocks so much more than you’d think. It gives you power in situations that you’ve felt weak in, allowing you to take control of your life, and it gives you more confidence than you could ever imagine, allowing you to make choices out of love. Those choices could impact others more than you think, if we’re being real. When you’re full of self-love, you choose to love others, too. When you’re broken and insecure, all you think about is the broken pieces and how you’re going to survive until the next day. When you love yourself, you’re more confident in yourself, giving you the ability to focus on others and their needs.

When I was at that point of self-hatred, I was vulnerable, weak and wondering when it’d be my chance to have happiness. Now that I’ve grown to love myself and my imperfections, I choose to love and help others because, in doing so, it only makes me happier.

How do I even start?”

I can’t tell you that learning to love yourself will be easy, but I can tell you that it’s worth it.

When you wake up in the morning, feeling your absolute worst, you’re going to have to ignore all of the flaws and focus on the parts that you love about yourself. Each morning, little-by-little, you’ll find yourself loving various flaws that you once poked and prodded at.

When you laugh so hard you snort or make a funny noise, you’re going to have to ignore the temptation to say, “ew,” and apologize for laughing. Don’t apologize for your happiness and your way of expressing it; the world needs more people who aren’t afraid to be themselves.

When you’re out shopping and you try something on and it doesn’t fit, you need to avoid calling yourself names and purposely seeking out imperfections to scrutinize. That’s a big one, I know, but part of loving yourself is realizing that you might have those moments and it’s ok.

When you’re hanging out with friends, say, at a restaurant, you have to avoid publicly shaming your eating habits. It’s okay to order dessert, I promise! No one is going to sit there and stare at you, judging you for every bite you take of your dessert, because everyone is doing the same thing!

These are just a few things, but each of them could create yet another opportunity to love yourself.

When you get to that place where you’re beginning to feel the love, you’ll walk a new walk, stand a little taller and realize that you can conquer so, so much.

Do yourself a favor and choose to love. Happiness will soon follow and you’ll be filled with a new purpose.

I believe in you!

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean

Unkept Weeds

Weeds.

Such dastardly little things they are, am I right?

You could spend hours, or even DAYS, planting and tending to various plants and flowers and the unexpected presence of one little weed could destroy your whole garden. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating for the purpose of writing, but weeds really do have the ability to destroy your hard work, if you don’t take care of them.

I can remember, whenever my mom was in the mood to garden, my brothers and I would spend hours pulling weeds and cleaning out the garden. Let me tell ya. There’s nothing more annoying than spending hours pulling weeds, only to step outside the next day and find the weeds beginning to sprout up again. AGH.

Before you know it, those pesky weeds can begin to take over your humble, little garden and, unless you’re an avid gardener, your garden will soon be filled with those unwanted nuisances. Then what? Most of the time, you’re too busy to get back out there and pull them again, so they grow and grow, and soon enough, you’ve got a garden full of weeds. How appealing…

Much like these weeds, infected relationships can do the same.

Picture this:

You’ve recently done some self-evaluating. Your life is at it’s peak and you’re feeling great. Your confidence is even higher than it’s been, in a while! And then you get a text from a friend, telling you that another friend had said some pretty degrading things about you, behind your back… Uh oh. 

That, my friend, is an unkept weed. You see, if you had evaluated your current relationships a few weeks prior, you would have seen all of the signs. You would have noticed that something was off and you would have corrected it. However, you chose to leave it be and now you have a messy situation that needs handled, with a snarling weed towering over you.

You may not have even seen it coming and, honestly, most people don’t. It’s how you choose to react that defines the situation.

Do you, A, choose to be oblivious to the obvious infestation in your life, or do you, B, cut that weed out? You can’t expect your garden to bloom if you have weeds taking over. 

Learn from your mistakes, evaluate yourself and your relationships often and make no room for weeds in your life. This goes for bad habits, as well; thus the reason it’s important to self-evaluate, regularly.

Let your flowers bloom and you’ll be amazed by how beautiful your garden can become.

Always desire to inspire.

Haylee Dean