Living an inspiring life

Yes, that is a bowl full of pomegranate seeds. I scooped them out myself. And of course, when I finished de-seeding this lovely fruit, I took a picture. Because it took a good 20 minutes and I was proud of myself for getting every last seed out of the darn shell.

Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it's inspiring.

I believe this to be true and I so want to heed this advice.

I registered for my second writer's conference this morning - a memoir writer's retreat - in March of 2013. I want to make my dreams of sharing my story a reality and I'm taking concrete steps towards my goal of publishing my memoir. I want to be an inspiration to other young women living with bipolar disorder who are wondering if they'll ever be able to have kids. I'm living proof that it is possible.

Now, let's be real here. I'm not perfect. I most certainly have my moments. Those times when I'm overtired, stressed out from a work deadline, and the kids are arguing over a toy - those are the times when I need help. And I've learned when to ask for it and how to not feel guilty about needing a little time to myself in order to re-charge my batteries. It helps me tremendously and then when I jump back into the action I am that much more prepared to handle anything.

Just like a pomegranate is a tough fruit to de-seed, I think I'm a pretty complicated individual. And yet, I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I'm the type of person who would share my life story with someone I just met, if they wanted to listen. I love meeting new people and making connections; I feel like that is such a huge part of what life is all about. I believe everyone on this Earth has something to share. Me? I want to share my story of how mental illness crept up on me and emerged out of nowhere, shocking the living daylights out of me, my husband, my parents, our siblings and our friends. How I rode a roller coaster of emotions for a year and a half before finally becoming stable and healthy again, only to be thrown on the same haunting ride of my past, landing in the hospital twice more, yet emerging a stronger, more determined and driven version of myself than I was before.

I've decided that I'm going to start carving time out of my schedule to write. An hour a day is what I'm going to start with. Whether it be a blog post, a journal entry, a chapter of my book, or time spent reading other memoirs, I'm writing down goals so that I can measure my progress. I learned a ton in Sanibel (and met a bunch of really extraordinary people) which I want to apply to my writing in order to improve and grow as a writer. Beginning in January I am going to set new goals, specific to my book project, so that I can truly hold myself accountable and make progress every day.

I can feel my dreams moving closer within my reach. Because if I write words, they turn into sentences; if I write sentences, they turn into paragraphs; if I write paragraphs, they turn into pages; if I write pages they will eventually turn into my book. Just like it took patience and determination to empty the pomegranate of its seeds (have you ever tried to open one of those darn things?? Talk about the fruits of your labor. Sheesh.), I will eventually get all of my thoughts out on paper in a concise, engaging story which will hopefully help to end stigma and educate not only young women living with bipolar disorder, but also their families, friends, doctors, and therapists. Just because someone is living with a mental illness, it doesn't mean they cannot enjoy the good life.

I love my life. I feel incredibly blessed. So glad that Thanksgiving is right around the corner because I have so much to be thankful for.