I always felt like, to some extent, I was suffocating. Slowly but surely…and that there was a countdown to how much time I had left before I finally collapsed. I felt like that for 18 years.
Stuck in a small town surrounded by big, beautiful hills that always seemed to be getting closer…the only way out being a winding highway packed with toll booths - a tunnel built into a mountain as the final stretch before you could cross the state line.
My worst fear was that the tunnel would one day collapse and there would be no way out. I had that nightmare for years. Sometimes, even now, it comes back to me.
I always knew I needed to break away from what my family had done for years and find a new place to call home. I always knew there was something much bigger out there waiting for me. I always knew I had to leave in order to become the woman I wanted to be.
Because, the truth is…I felt small, insignificant, and limited. I felt restricted. I felt like the only way to get the most out of life was to go far beyond those state lines and soak up as much information about the world as possible.
You see, your vision becomes clouded when the people you love have settled somewhere for so long. You think that what you see is all there is to life. You don’t seek a way out. And you don’t want to, because why would you leave the only thing that’s familiar to you? It feels safe. It feels comfortable. It feels natural.
To live the life we’ve always wanted to live, we must be willing to do things we never thought we could do.
The scariest thing I ever did was move to a new city where I didn’t know anyone to start a new life.
And it’s also the best decision I ever made.
photo by Jackie Hallinan
I'm a self-help junkie, I'll admit. My boyfriend constantly makes fun of me when I'm curled up in my reading chair with some new book titled How to Crush Your Year! or Holding Yourself Accountable 101. "Read a real book," he says. Ha! Not a chance. And, do you want to know why? Because I'd rather spend time on things that are going to benefit me long-term in a really wonderful way. And because I genuinely love learning and listening to other people's success stories. How can you ever grow as an individual if you choose not to learn from others?!
These 6 books have had SUCH a huge impact on my life, and I deem them to be critical to the creative success of any aspiring entrepreneur. They each offer something very specific in regard to what it takes to succeed, yet they all intertwine so beautifully and effortlessly. I highly recommend reading them in the order I've listed to set yourself up for optimum success, as each book demonstrates a specific "step" of my very own success ladder. You can click directly on the pictures of the books to purchase them through Amazon!
Step One: Get Your Mind Right
20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman's Guide to Balance and Direction
by Christine Hassler
Step Two: Boost Your Confidence
The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism
by Olivia Fox Cabane
Step Three: Create Your Professional Identity
How to Style Your Brand: Everything You Need to Know to Create a Distinctive Brand Identity
by Fiona Humberstone
Step Four: Manifest Abundant Wealth
Step Five: Increase Your Productivity Level
Step Six: Network Like a Boss
Last week I went to 5:30am yoga rather than my usual 6am because I HATE having to leave early before savasana (the deep rest pose at the end of yoga classes where you stay still for 5 minutes). When I go to 5:30am, I actually get those few minutes to breathe and just be, which is likely the only time I get all day to do so. And, as I laid there in savasana that morning, I realized it was the first time I had been still for THREE WEEKS! Three whole weeks, guys. I’m not kidding. I had not taken a break or a day off in three weeks and I was just realizing it. And the sad thing? It’ll probably only be another several weeks before I’m back in savasana and realizing it again. I truly pride myself on being hyper-aware of my self-care habits, so I can only imagine what happens to those who don’t.
So, I’m genuinely asking you to think about this for a moment…
My good friend sent me a really powerful article the other day titled, “Stop Pretending and Start Living.” It was about how many of us pretend to be okay with our life choices, our careers, and our relationships…yet deep down we know we are masking the fact that none of this is actually fulfilling or making us happy. And, it’s easier to pretend. Because then we don’t have to quit our jobs, figure our shit out, or tell our partners we no longer want to be with them. We just tell ourselves “it’s all fine”…“yes I am happy”…and keep pushing forward.
I’ve only ever had four massages in my life. The first one was complimentary while staying at a Mexican resort with Albert and his family a few years ago. It was a very magical moment. I could NOT believe I’d gone 20 years without having one after it was over! The massages that followed were all special treats for myself when I knew I’d been overworking my body. Having been a dancer and an athlete my whole life, I was used to overexerting myself without much self-care…and constantly pushing through discomfort. During my first massage, the masseuse actually asked me if I’d been injured in a car wreck because my shoulders and low back were so messed up. That was a wake up call. So, I started to attempt to splurge every several months on a massage and be nicer to my body. And, they were always really wonderful, don’t get me wrong…but it wasn’t until I went to a massage therapist at the MUSC Wellness Center this week through the LocateYourCare app that my mind was blown from the experience.
As driven young women trying to create our ideal lives, we tend to overstretch ourselves on a daily basis. We put way too much on our plates because we think we can handle it, and then nothing ever ends up producing the results we desire. And it’s frustrating…because our intentions are good, yet we can only physically do so much. There are just 24 hours in a day, and so it’s extremely important to make them count. Although it may seem damn near impossible to get something done when you’re being pulled in a million different directions, if you set yourself up for success, a positive outcome is actually very achievable. Want to know how to truly tackle your goals head on and continue to do so for years to come? Start using these techniques, commit to practicing them every day, and see instant results.
February 26 - March 4 is Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which forces me to reflect on a very difficult time in my life. From the time I was thirteen-years-old, and all throughout my teenage years, I struggled with an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa, an emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat.
Eating disorders are not something that people are born with, and they are not something that people bring upon themselves intentionally. Rather, eating disorders form because of the ideas planted in young women and men’s minds about weight and appearance from media, family, and friends (usually at a young age). Every time someone makes a comment about weight that makes us feel insecure, and every time we see hyper-thin women on TV or in a magazine, we judge ourselves harshly. A seed is planted. A very specific thought process is formed that in order to be successful in life, you must be beautiful. And in order to be beautiful, you must be thin.
I’m about to do something I never thought I’d publicly do…and that is share relationship advice. You see, I used to be really terrible at relationships. Like, reeeeeally terrible. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say that after many years I’ve finally (thank god) come to realize what a healthy relationship looks and feels like.
Achieving a healthy relationship shouldn’t be a constant battle, and it should never feel like you’re trying to win a game or solve a mystery when it comes to your partner. It should be simple, easy, and fun. I’ve seen one too many friends get dragged down by shitty relationships, and it always shocks me how far they will go down the rabbit hole before figuring out they deserve better. (I’ll also admit I’ve had a bit of personal experience with this as well)
Shitty relationships are shitty for a lot of reasons, but mostly because they cause someone’s happiness to become dependent on their partner.
One year ago, Albert and I moved into our very first home outside of downtown Charleston, SC where we both attended college. It was a major life event for me, as this home signified something much bigger than simply moving in with my boyfriend...it was the final piece in establishing a new life in a new city. It meant that everything I had sought out to accomplish by leaving West Virginia had all fallen into place. It meant I had found somewhere that made me happy enough to plant roots and settle down. I won't lie, sometimes I shed a little happy tear when I pull into my driveway because I can't believe I get to live in this beautiful home with this wonderful man in this amazing city. Okay, I promise the sappy part is over :) Let's get on to the tour!
Most of you know me as the 'voice' of Tori Talks...a writer and coffee addict navigating through adulthood who loves to dish out advice to you lovely readers along the way! What you may not know is that my day job is in luxury real estate, and that my interior design obsession is fierce. I spend my days marketing gorgeous, high-end homes...so naturally that makes me even more obsessed with how I choose to decorate my own.
And, while I can pretend to live a lavish life at work, my bank account begs to differ the minute I walk out the door. That's why I've had to get super savvy about what to buy and where to spend when finding the perfect pieces for my home!
It's not extravagant by any means, nor is it something that you'd see featured on mydomaine, but it's mine...and to me, that makes it more perfect than any million dollar home along The Battery or celebrity penthouse.
I hope you enjoy the tour :)
As young adults, we constantly run ourselves ragged trying to take over the world, achieve our dreams, and crush all of the goals we set. It’s truly amazing that we are so driven and determined, yet it can also be pretty exhausting. I’m going to be 100% honest and say that this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down and write in two weeks due to this type of dilemma. Yikes! If you guys didn’t know, that’s a blogger/writer’s worst nightmare. Two weeks without content? What if my readers don’t like me and aren’t interested in what I have to say anymore? That’s what we all think. I’m not too worried though, because if I wasn’t out there living life, making mistakes, and figuring my own shit out…then I wouldn’t have anything worthy to write about for you all, now would I? :)
Hi beauties! I'm Tori: a 23-year-old writer, reader, and coffee drinker here to inspire you to become the most authentic and empowered version of yourself. Together we'll transform.
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