Guess who’s back – and she’s not taking any more bull poo.

Hello, sparklemice. My goodness, how i have missed you all terribly. But i promise, my temporary leave of absence was entirely for your sake. As some of you can relate to, i am currently in atrocious steroid withdrawal. The whole nine yards, shaking, mood swings, breakouts, pain…you get it. Had i posted during my last downswing, my blog would have consisted of a string of incoherent swear words, and maybe an occasional cheesy sad Tumblr quote.
But fear not, my loves. So much has changed since our last encounter, and this badass’ journey seems to have a turn for the sparkly-er.  As i write this i am sitting on the quad under a deliciously shady tree at my choice college, watching my group of lovely new friends play ultimate frisbee while we wait for open mic night, where i will be performing (EEK!) My secret music career dreams (PLOT TWIST,) have actually seemed to slide into the realm of possible…for the first time in a loooooong time, i have my voice back. I’m ready to write again. So while my heart is full of regret that the lupus took over for a while there, i am so ridiculously happy to be myself enough again. Which brings me to this post.

Failure. We all, sick or not, have to deal with failure. Whether it’s not landing the promotion,or letting the disease win for a little bit, or not finishing the marathon…we all fail. FAILURE…the big scary pit we are taught to delicately teeter around, looking down at those unfortunate enough to lose their balance. Well i have a secret: the goddess Athena, my current income, and failure all have something in common. They are MYTHICAL. Failure is not a real thing. Totally made up and then accepted into society as some concrete concept and ultimate reality. Which is really quite the tragedy, if you think about it. Following in the human trend, we have created a problem for ourselves where there is none.
We think that when we attempt something, and the outcome isn’t our goal, we have failed. And that’s not our fault, we were taught to believe that just like we were taught to believe we will one day die.  It’s terrifying and inevitable and a part of life.

But this past sh** show has taught me something…or rather coming out the other side of it has.

Failure isn’t a reality, it’s a perception fallacy. An attempt doesn’t end until you’ve succeeded in what you were trying to do, or realized that it wasn’t what you’re meant to be doing. What we perceive as failure is just a part of trying. It’s research on how to do better next time, or research on whether or not what you’re pursuing is right for you. There is no failure, there is only a process. But because people believe in this “failure” bullsh (my personal favorite curse word abbreviation,) they stop mid process, and then hate themselves. And it’s a tragedy. So let’s debunk the myth, yes? When i went radio silent on you for the past few months, i thought i had failed. And i was stuck in my sad little failure bubble of netflix and solitude. But then guess what happened? The tunnel ended. And as the light fell across my sweatpants and sadness- clad body, i realized that every dead end i thought i had hit during that run through the tunnel was actually just a turn. Failure isn’t real, and we don’t have time for lies up in here. Only truth or fairytales 😉

stay badass, my loves. SO glad to be reunited.

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The Secret to Being Really Actually Happy, For Real This Time.

I am forever balancing on this tightrope between catering to my Autoimmune- readers and my, uh, non- Autoimmune readers. So here’s the deal. This post is the golden ticket out of WHATEVER is currently bothering you. I confess, my lovely little badasses, that i have been slacking on my blogging duties and for that i am eternally, deeply apologetic. However i must also confess that the rage-laced emails demanding my return and threatening to “come find me,” if i stop posting were more then just a little flattering, and so i’m not really THAT sorry. There’s nothing like being missed. 😉 However I do have a valid excuse for my leave of absence. In addition to my Lupus, Fibromyalgia, POTS, and Celiac, i have been stricken with an atrocious case of writer’s block. Between that and the Prednisone induced ANGER, my brain has been stuck in a tailspin. Had i attempted to blog in that state, the resulting product would have read like the fight scenes in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Think F-bombs and incoherent grunting. So really i was just sparing you guys. You’re welcome.

However, thanks to the very thing that this post is about, i am back in the game. Ready to deliver to my beautiful sparklemice. Now what, you may ask, could have gotten Leah out of her rut? What made her haul her sweatpants-clad butt out of bed, into the world, and on the search for the metaphorical chainsaw to rip through her mental dam? Four letters. One word. But before i tell you the word, you must promise me that you will not see it, panic, and click the little red ex on the upper right corner of your screen. Because (un)fortunately, the internet is overflowing with love/hate letters to this one word, and i assure you, mine is different. I’m taking your silence as a promise. Do not click ex. Do not.
YOGA.

Namaste with me here for a sec, i promise you this post applies to you (Could. Not. Resist. Yoga. Pun.) For AGES, Yoga has been attracting people from varying walks of life for millions of  reasons, the most popular of which include weight loss, flexibility, instagram likes, and the license to wear Lulu Lemon. In this post, i am going to tell you why this ancient art form is  not just some sepia-toned social media fad, but actually your pass to a happier, healthier, sexier, more fulfilling life. I’m not saying “you,” in general. I’m speaking to you specifically, reader. You. YOU. The one looking at the screen.

Reasons that Yoga is the Answer To Whatever is Making You Such A  Sad, Self- Pitying Grouchypants:

1) Looking Good = Feeling Good-  Unlike other workouts, it is IMPOSSIBLE to do Yoga without seeing physical results. While quick paced cardio has the reputation for creating that Victoria’s Secret Angel body, really it’s just weight loss as a result of high calorie burning. Sometimes that weight loss isn’t even fat loss, just water retention fluctuation. Yawn for flat booties and bony bellies. Yoga aids in making you feel gorgeous by burning calories through muscle development and stretching, resulting in toned limbs, a longer appearance, a muscular core, and a lighter footstep. Cardio die- hards don’t tune out just yet, a vigorous Vinyasa flow focused around inversions and seamless transition will have you out of breath wayyy faster then your treadmill ever could. Extra points for glowy skin (a result of heightened organ function,) and detoxed blood (same reason.) With a clean, balanced diet and a few studio hours each week, there’s literally no way to not up your Kate Upton factor. Much of the weight management is also due to a mental shift. You start to view food as something amazing, that gives you the strength to become lighter and more agile, not an evil adversary trying to take up residence on your thighs. Binge eating becomes less and less appealing as you learn to listen to your body,not your brain. and this just AUTOMATICALLY happens. No assembly required. Plus, you get to wear cute leggings and matchy patchy sports bras. It’s like an instagram filter FOR YOUR LIFE.

2) Yoga Makes You Think Like A Badass– Yoga is the physical manifestation of everything we strive to mentally be. We want to become stronger, braver, more stable, more kind, and less breakable. Every time you get on the mat, you get to work towards PHYSICALLY becoming those exact things, on a much more manageable, tangible, scale.  Yoga is more then just the practice of pushing yourself to your physical limit, it’s the practice of forgiving yourself once you’ve reached that limit. THERE IS NO BODYSHAME IN YOGA. It’s different from other forms of fitness in that it’s not about reaching specific external goals, wherever you are in your practice is where you’re supposed to be. Its about learning to accept your current physical state for exactly what it is, so that you can improve it. And forgive yourself when you fall short of your own expectations. Wanting to be better doesn’t have to mean disliking where you are. I would love to be a published writer with a big shiny book on the New York Times’ Best Selling list, AND i love being a blogger with approximately 80 readers. See? Yoga brain. That “i wish i looked like,” voice in your head gets quieter and quieter, and gets replaced by a lovely, peaceful silence.

3) You Time- Whether it’s the boyfriend/girlfriend who needs constant validation, the sticky handed toddler tugging at your shirt all day,or the workload that refuses to ease up, we all have something that’s a consistent drain on our energy source. This is a good thing, as life is ABOUT draining your energy into something you care about. However we have this tendency to totally forget that energy, just like money or time, runs out. The thing about getting on the mat, is that every time you do it, you do it alone. Nobody else is there with you. No significant other, no kids, no boss. It’s time that you give to YOU, to improve on your own physical well being and mental outlook, and it’s not about anyone else. It’s like a spa that you have access to all the time. Ironically, this selfishness is also ridiculously beneficial to the people around you, as it’s scientifically proven that mental-clarity makes you less bitchy and more helpful. When you turn into a grouchy toddler, give yourself a yoga- time out. I find that i’m usually only a few poses in when i realize that the world is not, in fact, a horrible dark hellhole of destruction that’s out to get me personally.

4) Battery Recharge-  A good Yoga class is like an espresso shot. Once the practice becomes a part of your routine, you’ll find that you’re at your clearest and most YOU as your rolling up your mat after a session. We play ten million different roles during the day, (parent, child, teacher, student, boyfriend, girlfriend, the funny one, the flirty one,) depending on who we’re with and what we’re doing. That makes it really hard to remember who we actually are to ourselves, when nobody else is around. While your focusing on your breathing, and the minute positioning of every little vertebra in your body, all of those layers get miraculously stripped away, and you are left with your realest, purest, most relaxed you. You are also left with a tight little yoga booty and a better body image.

5) Its the Foundation of Overall Health-  So if the tight butt, nice abs, happy brain, shiny hair, clear skin, and flexibility aren’t enough of a reason to try rolling out the mat,  try this. Yoga poses were created to enhance organ function and reduce inflammation. Not only that, but it gives attention to crucial things that we never would have thought about prior to Yoga, such as toe flexibility and cartilage health. These things don’t SOUND important, but, (listen up my little autoimmune bunnies,) take it from the girl with the wackadoodle Lupus joints. When your toes are too tense to bend, you can’t put on your shoes anymore. And when your cartilage is crumbly, everything hurts. Inflamed connective tissue feels like walking through an unpredictable thornbush. You may not think these things apply to you, and maybe they don’t. YET. But eventually, humans get old. And i was (un)lucky enough to have a peek at what creaky joints and weak bones feel like, and how much they disable you. Keeping the body flexible and strong is a more worthy investment of your time then anything else you can be doing during that hour, i assure you. Because no matter what you achieve, no matter how much money you make, or how many tests you ace, you only get one body. That’s it. Always. Just one. And you have to live in it. It goes where you go. You want to be comfy up in there, no?

So that, my loves, is where it’s at. In a rut? Yoga. Not in a rut? Yoga. Hate your teenage daughter? Yoga. Hate your body? Yoga. One size fits all, and all sizes fit.

Namaste, sparklemice.

Stay badass.

How to be a Badass

 

Welcome, dolls. My name is Leah, and last June I was diagnosed with a slew of super sexy, life-altering diseases. Now, lest you become all starry-eyed and excited for the personal blog of Hazel Grace, be forewarned. Unlike in the books and movies about the sick kids, there’s nothing particularly Nicholas Sparks- esque about my life. I am not an angst-riddled, metal loving, misunderstood outcast with a touching story and a broken heart. I don’t pout, or ponder the abyss of death, or write “why me,” poetry.  On the contrary. I am a normal, yoga obsessed, Instagram frequenting, standup-comedy watching, pumpkin spice drinking 18-year-old. I like anthropology and pizza. There is no tragically ill boyfriend/love of my life. (Actually, i might be the single-est person alive. My Augustus Waters/ Edward Cullen/ Christian Grey is Netflix.) There is no tale of stoic bravery, where I battle my Lupus/Fibromyalgia/Pots/Celiac and arise victoriously.  I am not a brooding, introspective genius who nobody understands. I am a happy, open, zen teenager with the minor detail of my dearly misinformed, charmingly useless immune system. No filter, no soundtrack, no montage scene where I fall deeply in love with a fellow sicky. 

Now, what there WILL be is as follows. This is the story of the part the camera pans away for. This is the part that nobody talks about, and it extends far past the good, the bad, and the ugly. L-U-P-U-S, five little letters that essentially mean my immune system can’t differentiate between healthy tissue and foreign invaders. In other words, if my immune system gets triggered by anything, my uber sexy bod goes all sons of anarchy on me, and just full on attacks itself (more on that later.) Now there are many different reasons, if i may say so myself, to read this blog. It just depends on who you are. For those of you who don’t suffer from any autoimmune diseases, maybe you’ll get a laugh, (not maybe, you will, I’m hilarious,) or a firsthand view into a lifestyle that’s not your own. Maybe you’ll just get to read relate-able stories from a brutally honest, compellingly witty 18- year-old songwriter stuck in her bedroom with a laptop.  Maybe, just maybe, it’ll raise a little awareness for these faceless, cure-less, diseases that could use a little attention. Now, for those of you stuck chugging along with me on the autoimmune crazy train from hell, this blog serves a difference purpose. I want you to see that you’re not alone. Those nights in your tank top on the bathroom floor, those flirting sessions ruined by steroid-induced brain fog, the (countless,) pics you can’t Instagram because of puffy eyes, I get that it feels like you’re the only one who could possibly have such random garbage to deal with. I know you think you’re the only one (under the age of 80,) who has to worry about if your joints are gonna be working tomorrow morning. I thought the same thing. Surprise! You’re not. There’s a whole bunch of us, and we all hate swollen prednisone face too!! The effects of these disorders, (or diseases, whichever,) are physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and psychological, and we ALL feel them. This isn’t “wah us, we’re so sick,” pity party. This is a gathering of badasses who are going to laugh about the things we can’t control.  This is my chronicle (CHRONICle. hehehe. Medical pun,) of living with this unpredictable insanity.

I want this blog to show the entire spectrum. Should you decide to come on this Journey with me, (okay gag, can’t believe I couldn’t think of a less cliche way to say that, cringe,) I should warn you the path changes. A lot. The stories will be sad sometimes, and funny sometimes, and it all gets very deep and introspective. Even medical and boring, on occasion. But the one thing I promise not to change is that they will remain consistently honest. More then just the physical nonsense, this blog will cover friendships, and gap years (I studied abroad,) and guys, and being forced into responsibility wayyy to young. It will cover the how to’s, and how to not’s, and the golden rules of being an autoimmune badass (or just a regular badass. Whichever.) It’s about the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Hashtag no filter, dolls. Pretty is for the weak 😉

Always,

Leah

SIDENOTE:

Lupus, also known as “the cruel mystery,” is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system cant differentiate between healthy tissue and foreign invaders. There is no known cure. Symptoms, prognosis, and all that fun stuff will be included in a later post (like, um, all of them.)

Fibromyalgia involves hypersensitive pain receptors, cognitive fog, fatigue, and muscular problems. There is no known cure.

Pots is an acronym for a longer name I refuse to commit to memory, but it basically means low blood pressure and quick heartbeat.

Celiac is a fancy term for “i’m terrible at eating, especially gluten.” No cure, but treatment currently consists of dietary restriction.

While that’s just a teeny, one-dimensional outline of those suckers, it gives you a reference point for the rest of my posts. Cheers, dolls 😉 stay badass.