Meyers Homestead Trail | Boulder, Colorado

Greetings!

Another beautiful day in paradise spent exploring the great outdoors, and getting cozy with nature and animals in their natural habitat.
Hiking is one of my all-time favorite ways to exercise, all while spending some time appreciating the Earth, getting some vitamin D, and finding territories that are unknown to me.

It is important to get to know your Earth and appreciate it while it is around.

My newest adventure took me to Meyers Homestead Trail.
I can say definitively that I LOVED this trail, and this will not be the last time my foot prints will cross paths with this beautiful trail.

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The landscape and the scenary was very visibly breathtaking, as I found myself panting for air and for more beauty.

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I came across from lovely friends in their natural habitat, and I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with these lovely fellows. 
We can call this an insect-ual relationship.

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All natural adventures are one of the most therapeutic ways for me to alleviate my anxiety and my stress, as well as my general well-being.

You can come across so much, if only you just stop on the side of the road, find a trail, and take it to the end.
Summer is coming to a close, but hiking season will never be over.
However, hiking will forever always be one of my favorite Summertime activities.
Any excuse to spend time outside, because the indoors are so bland and much less breathtaking.

What are some of your favorite hikes?

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

The Doggy Day Chronicles

Low and behold – another week of doggy day care madness is upon us.
Cue the excessive dog talk, obsessive dog pictures, and another rant once again restating my very strong stance about the significance of animals as sources for growing, companionship, self-love, therapy, love, self-discovery, and healing, as well as joy, happiness, frustration, and learning.

Dogs, man.
They rule my world.
Woof, woof!

Sometimes, I wonder if my obsessive and passion to take care of the dogs that come into Camp Bow Wow Boulder, my place of work, even matters or even makes a difference.
Every once in a while, I am reminded how fufilling what I do is and how much happiness it brings not only to myself, but the owners of these wonderful best friends of mine.
Experiencing a pet parent go out of their way to thank you for your services and what you do, as their dogs leave Camp Bow Wow Boulder happier, blissful, and healthy.
When you engage in a conversation with these pet parents, you realize how much these dogs mean to them, as they are perhaps more blissful than the dogs. When we are able to successfully earn the trust of the parents, who have to blindly place their trust in strangers hands to take care of something that means more to them than just a life, you know that is a successful day.

If these owners did not decide to bring these wonderful best friends of mine that have forever become my companions, I would never have the opportunity to connect with such wonderful spirits.
It is wonderful and just as exciting to be able to witness and to observe every unique single dog that comes to attend Camp Bow Wow Boulder.

And, as I have mentioned before, it is more than a blessing to be able to experience, let along capture, some of these momentous, kodak moments of my friends showing off their hilarious, beautiful, and cute personalities so candidly.

Scroll down for more doggy madness & cuteness-overload from Camp Bow Wow Boulder.

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I have met some of the goodest boys and goodest girls, whose personalities light up my world.
Their faces melt my heart and their paws are so squishy that I want to just squish them.

Give all animals the world and the love that they deserve.
Make their day, please.

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

P.S. What would your dog do for a Klondike Bar (or, a treat)?

The Doggy Day Care Chronicles

For those who may not know, I currently am employed for a doggy day care that was founded in Boulder, Colorado, named Camp Bow Wow. We are a nationwide corporation, with locations all around the United States, and one location in Canada.

Camp Bow Wow Boulder is the most successful of the branches, bringing in over 100 dogs a day for daycare service alone.

This venture of mine to work in the doggy day care industry has become on of my biggest blessings, and sometimes curses, as the job has allowed me to get in touch with my more vulnerable side and to get back in touch with my animal fanatic side.
Since I have begun this job, my love and my appreciation for animals, specifically dogs, has grown into a new-found obsession and addiction, as I cannot ever walk past a dog and not pet it.

Every dog has a story, and I have met over 500 dogs in and around the Boulder County area. I feel that it is my job to learn and discover their story. Beyond this, it is my job to learn to appreciate, love, and cherish their story, their existence, and everything they bring to this world.

I have found that with the love of the dogs that I have been able to let go of an immense amount of pain, anger, shame, and resentment, and have learned the importance and the impact that love, joy, and vulnerability can have on an individual.
I have found more reasons to open up to life and give it another chance, even though I feel like life may have done me dirty.

This week, at work, I found myself at peace, even though I found myself frustrated during different parts of the week.
The dogs that were present at Camp Bow Wow Boulder this last week consisted of a very ecclectic group of dogs, none of which were my three absolute loves, Auggie (August West), Nordy Knapp, or Piper Huber. However, the greatest thing about this job is the opportunity you have to meet and form relationships with the assortment of the 100+ dogs that attend Camp Bow Wow, either regularly or irregularly.
When my favorites are not in attendance, I do feel some sort of sadness and longing of their presence, however, it is a great opportunity to place my focus on the other amazing dogs, that while I do love so dearly, but may not be in my “Top 5 Favorite Dogs” list.
It is not that the other dogs are not just as wonderful, hilarious, and comforting to be around, it is just that every person naturally forms incredible, unique bonds with certain dogs that just simply cannot be explained.

These days that I find myself branching out of my normal routine and friend group are some of the most exciting and most rewarding days, as dogs that may usually fade into the background of your dog yard become your focus of the dog yard.
Not to mention, I use these days to strengthen bonds with dogs that I feel a good friendship with and to also use my unbiased attention to give dogs that may seem anxious, tense, nervous, or even isolated from the other dogs, extra love.
It is no fun to ever see a dog experiencing a panic attack, or even being overwhelmed by the loud, crazy, and unpredictable environment of doggy day care.
It is incredibly rewarding and fufilling to be able to calm a dog down, just by not-so-simply petting the dog and going out of your way to use various techniques to give this dog extra love, extra attention, and extra care.
And, even if it does not seem like your presence and your love is helping them – trust me, it is. Every single pet, every single attentive action, etc. counts! It may sometimes take weeks, months, or years to truly see a dog come into their own at our doggy day care, but it is incredible to witness and to experience a dog finally learning to feel completely comfortable and in their element at doggy daycare.
The last thing you want is to watch and to have to experience a dog literally being tortured by their attendance at doggy daycare, as our daycare promotes being a place “where a dog can be a dog.”
It feels good to know that your presence made a difference in that dog, and they will never forget it, even if you do.

This week, I made a handful of new friends, strengthened some bonds, and went out of my way to bring comfort to those dogs that truly needed it.
I truly refocused my perspective on attempting to give back to my job, as much as they have given back to me, including my coworkers and my team, my dogs, and the pet parents.
This week, I focused on truly working on being selfless, taking some risks at work that I thought could be beneficial, attempting to show my passion for the dogs outwardly, and showing a strong work ethic.
It is much easier to explain, or to claim, that I truly enjoy these dogs and kiss the ground that their paws walk on, however, it is much more different to actually go out and execute my actions showing how much I appreciate these animals, my team of coworkers, and the blessing to be able to work with these wonderful creatures.

Hardwork and a certain level of focus and positivity can truly become a gamechanger, as all these unnecessary complaints and negativity that used to flood your brain, no longer truly present themselves in your thoughts.
Hard work does not come easy, otherwise it would not be called hardwork. I am not going to say that every morning I woke up this week that I was ECSTATIC at the thought of going into a long 9-hour day at work, however, I do know that pushing yourself beyond mediocre pays off much quicker than you know.
Hardwork is fufilling for all parties involved, but mostly importantly, working hard is very fufilling for me and one of my many ways that I am able to feel good about myself.

This last week would not have been possible without my amazing team of coworkers, either, who continuously go out of their way to talk to me, offer me advice, give me rides to work so I don’t have to waste money Ubering, buy me food for lunch, leave me leftovers, and do me so many favors.
For me to take full credit for my hardwork would be completely selfish, as my coworkers are truly a different kind of breed of awesome.
I have found that each and every member of the team is truly amazing, truly patient, truly hardworking, truly unique, and truly selfless. I did not just find this out now – obviously, however, working with such a team, that despite their own problems, worries, etc., go out of their way to assist me in being successful and alleviate some of the burdens I face, is truly humbling and truly inspiring.
Our doggy daycare job may seem like such a FUN & EASY job, however, there is so much more to it. In fact, this is one of the most difficult jobs that I have ever had, as it constantly keep me on my feet and I always find ways that I can improve, or do better at my job.
This job is truly unpredictable – the only predictable factors of this job is that daily we intake over 100 dogs and our hours of operation. Every other factor is completely unpredictable, as we can never anticipate or predict how many dog fights will occur, if a dog fight will occur, if another dog will get hurt, if a parent will be upset with our services, if a parent will catch one of us taking care of their dog in a way they do not like when they are watching our lives cams, or if a dog will be in a good mood, or a bad mood.
Not to mention, this job is completely overstimulating, and over the sound of the 100+ dogs barking in unison, or sometimes in your ear, and over the sound of our music that is usually specifically chosen in order to calm the dogs down, one can barely hear their coworker standing less than five feet from them.
With dogs running, napping, tanning, walking, and playing all around your 30+ dog play yard, your eyes are constantly occupied and your attention is completely forced to be on the dogs, keeping them safe, and making sure that the dogs in your yard are not upsetting or hurting other dogs, as well as taking note of certain dogs that may be causing chaos within your dog yard.
Finally, this job is much more dangerous than one would imagine, and while trips to the emergency vet, or even the emergency room, is quite rare, one should always expect to get injured at this job. With dogs flying everywhere, or having to break up dogs fights between small, medium, large, or even extra-large dogs, it is impossible to avoid an injury at this job.
At this point, I am fairly used to get banged around by these dogs, but last Thursday, I faced a semi-serious injury to my left ankle. Even small tasks like sending 30+ dogs into another playyard can result in a serious injury, which was what happened with me, leaving my ankle very bruised, swollen, and cut up. It was very painful and I am still pondering going into urgent care, as my ankle is still in quite a bit of pain.
My injury was as a result of transferring my dogs into another playyard, something which I do very often during my shifts, and I could do in my sleep.
I always stress the importance of the dogs leaving and entering a play yard one-by-one, which may be asking for a lot, but should truly be executed. The dogs did not leave the dog yard one-by-one, instead the entire dog yard managed to practically leave the dog yard and enter my new dog yard all at once. Of course, they happened to be charging at me, and about 5 or 6 dogs just happened to place enough force on my leg, resulting in me slamming my ankle against a metal pole of the play yard.

All injuries, overstimulation, and unpredictability aside, this job is something that I truly hold close to my heart. I found new passions and new obsessions, all of which encompass animals and my appreciation for them.

Below, I have included a gallery of this week’s adventures with my Camp Bow Wow Boulder Campers!
[Experience Camp Bow Wow on a more personal and up-close level – like, no one else has seen it before]

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Look at how cute they are when they are begging for treats!

These dogs have become the foundation of my world. They are very important to me and my love for them is undying.

I’m blessed, stressed, bruised, and confused, but I still love them.
They are my greatest and my most loyal friends.

Hope you enjoyed!

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

Doggy Day Care Chronicles (Gallery Included)

The story is simple.


I work at a doggy day care and boarding facility in Boulder, Colorado, and we can be in charge of over 150 dogs a day.
I love my job, but I took vacation time off to “relax,” and re-learn to have some fun.

[This is because I DESERVE A BREAK, RIGHT? I work 40-hour work weeks, and have not asked for nearly enough vacation time off, even though I am feeling calm, comfortable, and happy. And, even though, I cannot afford to take a break]

Things got carried away, and the more days I began taking off, the more trouble I found myself in.
The further I kept myself from the dogs, the more confused I found myself getting.
I truly felt lost without these dogs.

I LOVE MY DOGS. I MISSED MY DOGS. THEY KEEP ME OUT OF TROUBLE. THEY KEEP ME GROUNDED. THEY KEEP ME FOCUSED. THEY BRING ME HAPPINESS. THEY BRING ME FUFILLMENT.
THEY ARE MY LIFE.

AICHAN TEWAHADE IS MY NAME, AND DOGGY DAY CARE IS MY GAME.


Yes, if you scroll past 1,101 words, you will find a photo gallery of some of my best furry friends from this last week.

[If you would like to read about my insights, lessons, and appreciation for dogs, specifically my Camp Bow Wow Boulder dogs, or campers, please continue to read the next 1,101 words]


After a brief period of time without my beautiful four-legged friends, I was quick to realize that separating myself from some of the only things that love, celebrate, accept, and embrace life with me was a big mistake.
I forgot how much their presence made a difference on multiple important facets of my life, as I found myself prioritizing focusing on things that truly did not matter and that I can confirm to be toxic.

During my time apart from my groundings, or my dogs, I found myself in trouble, a place that I am familiar with. While these mistakes I made, may not have been intentional, trouble comes easy for me, especially when I am not around humans and dogs, who genuinely have my best interest at heart.
I was similar to a puppy being off-leash for the first time on a walk, as I unintentionally, found myself in a ditch, scuffle, etc., due to my inability to just keep my curiosity to myself and my inability to just follow the rules, and JUST DO THE RIGHT THING.
Humans know right from wrong…I mean, even dogs know right from wrong.
With that said, while we may not be able to predict the exact consequential outcomes of making “risky” decisions, humans know better than anyone when they are making a decision that may bring unwanted consequences, and generally know what kind of mess they are getting themselves into.
While they are ways to alleviating an extreme mess from landing in your lap, I find that avoiding messes of any kind, any shape, and any size seems to make individuals and animals very happy.
A small mess is a mess, indeed.
And, while a small mess is not a big mess, you still have to exert energy cleaning it up, while simultaneously living your life and executing your responsibilities.

Personally, these dogs remind me of the love that I should exude, receive, and share with the world.
These are the kinds of people, or in this case, dogs, that I need to be surrounding myself with.
They assist in motivating me to stay out of trouble and make better choices. Beyond that, they remind me that I am a priority for myself, because in order to take care of other lives, I must be taking care of myself.

Learning to take of yourself does not come easy. It is as always much easier said than done. I am a work-in-progress, and I, just like many other individuals, struggle with the concept of learning to be okay with who I am and celebrate it.
This process of self-acceptance and self-growth is all made much easier and much more comfortable around the presence of the dogs, who do not go out of their way to judge or criticize you. Instead, the dogs engage in the process with you, and continue to grow, learn, and flourish with you, making this uncomfortable and lonely journey just a little more comfortable and a little less lonely.

These dogs have found huge spaces in my heart and my soul to occupy and reside in for the rest of their lives.
They provide me with entertainment, love, joy, drama, stability, consistency, distractions, an alleviation from my anxiety, pain, suffering, and boredom, etc.
They always have my best interest in my mind, and are truly willing to go the extra mile just to remind you how special you are, and simply entertain you.
What more could I ask for me?

Surround yourself with people that smile as big as dogs do when they are excited to see you. Surround yourself with people, or even dogs, that continue to remind you that you still have room to grow, and continue to inspire you to make these changes.
I have grown and made progress in many different facets of my life, and as I continue to grow, mature, and learn, I hope that I can only have individuals around me that are half as supportive as my dogs.

I definitely have a funny way of showing how much I care, how much I am affected, and how much I appreciate the things that I truly care for. This is something that I am still continuing to work on as a person, and has served as an issue in the past. It has led to many issues, problems, and unhealhy relationships, in my past, present, and future.
While my perception of love may not be concrete, I do know that I do have good left in my life that I can always count on until death do us part.

During a week that I truly made a handful of questionable decisions, I found solitude, fulfillment, and answers within the simplicity of their love and their companionship. Thinking that I did not need the dogs as much as they need me is the most incorrect assumption and lie that I have ever let cross my mind, and the sequence of events that occurred this last week only confirmed this misconception.
I took their existence in my life for granted and underestimated how much of a role they play in assisting me with making good choices, creating a safe, healthy, and happy environment, reminding me to love, inspiring me to be better, inspiring me to simplify my life, etc.

There is something about their energy, nature, and personalities that I cannot get enough of. And, after meeting and forming relationships with over 400 dogs in and around the Boulder County area, it is safe to say that I have more dog-friends than I do human-friends.
These silly creatures are the best form of entertainment for me. I would even saying watching them in action, candidly, is better than an episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County.
I am blessed that I am able to spend around 40 hours a week, observing, playing, petting, loving, scolding, laughing, feeding, bathing, and caring for up to 200 dogs a day.
Watching them simply play and live their lives brings me so much joy, happiness, and humor every day.
It is not rare to find me sitting my in bed, with all the lights off, randomly giggling about something that happened at doggy day care.
These dogs are the coolest, funniest, silliest, most genuine, and most honest things I have come across in my entire life.
They have truly been one of the most influential factors in learning to embrace myself, get in-touch with my silly side, and learn to take life a little less seriously.

[Scroll down to see these goofballs get in-touch with their silly side]

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These are some of my greatest friends and some of my best teachers that I have ever come across.
The greatest part about them is that they have NO IDEA how funny, how beautiful, how great, how influential, and how much light they bring into my life.

I spend most days thinking about how I do not deserve their love, and spend most of my shifts attempting to give back at least half the love, happiness, solitude, and humor that they bring into my life.

This past week at doggy day care was especially rewarding and fufilling, and part of this had to do with truly missing the dogs and truly craving their consoling souls and loving personalities. This last week at Camp Bow Wow was one of the best work weeks that I have ever had, not to mention, it was truly fun and full of so many great moments.
This work week truly reminded me why I love my job so much, that I do truly love my job so much, why I love the dogs so much, and why I do try so hard at work. These dogs give me purpose, as well as many reasons to wake up and make every day a meaninful, full, and wonderful day. They remind me that it is up to oneself to make the best out of a unfavorable situation, or a situation that you may not have consented to.
So many wonderful, sad, and hilarious things happened at work this week, including finally getting to pet Sophie T., a dog that only lets two of my coworkers pet her, as she literally runs away from every human that attempts to approach her, getting to spend extra quality time with two of my favorite dogs, Auggie and Piper, who were both boarding this last week, saying good-bye to Rufus, one of our regular daycare dogs, who is no longer going to be attending daycare at our Camp Bow Wow, and the list truly goes on and on.
I love what I do and I love my dogs, or my best(est) friends.

“Make new friends, but keep the others. Some are silver and some others are gold.”
I can say for certain that these four-legged freaks are the gold friends of my life, and I will fight the good fight to keep them in my life. I will also fight the good fight to make new ones to be apart of my life, as well.

No one is perfect, but these guys sure do give “perfect” a run for their money.

Do you have any dogs? What are your favorite things about your dogs?
I love that I can completely and utterly act like myself around them, and they still (for the most part) love me.

Know where your dogs are, and keep your dogs on a short leash.

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

Life Hack #35 – Lost?

“Follow the yellow brick road,” they say.

“Take the road less traveled on,” they also say.

But, whichever you decide to follow or travel on, does not guarantee finding your way. This is because no matter who you are, how successful you are, your gender, your race, or your age, we all, as humans feel lost.

There is a certain aspect of the unknown that comes with being alive, which leaves us feeling full of busy minds and uncertainty.

The truth is that no one really ever feels like “they have been found,” and that we are all lost.

As humans, we love to make appear as though we have it all figured out, but even the most organized and successful individual is struggling to find their unique destination.

We are all in this together, as we all continue to battle figuring out the mysteries of life, our life purposes, how to find our place in this world, etc.

No one really knows what they are doing. Some days, we are taking chances. Some days, we stick to what is comfortable. Some days, we wonder what we are doing. Some days, we are wondering if what we are doing is what we really want to be doing. Some days, we feel stuck

This happens to everyone at every age. We are more alike as humans than we even think!

We all want to live our best lives and get to a place in our lives where we feel complete and utter stability. For some reason, the idea of stability is closely correlated with a life, where one is not, or will not feel, lost.

The destination of “found” is once again an imaginary, utopia that our society has created.

There will always be days, months, or even years where you will feel lost.

In order to supress feelings of uncertainty and feelings of being lost, human beings react by distracting themselves, either by getting involved in the community or activities, picking up hobbies, getting a job, going out to bars and making friends, using applications, such as Tinder, Bumble, etc., attending school, and even by engaging in self-destructive habits and negative coping skills.

The feeling of feeling lost, not belonging, and feeling completely and utterly confused, is not a very comfortable feeling. We all react towards these feelings differently, both negatively and positively, depending on the individual and the nature of the situation.

The future and the constant pressure that society, as well as yourself, put on yourself to find a place in society, in order to feel secure, is sometimes so intense that it becomes immersing your world.

You truly begin questioning yourself and struggling to find the confidence to make your way through your life, without constantly being clouded by pressures, doubts, anxieties, stressors, and situations.

The most comforting feeling to me, who constantly finds myself feeling lost and trying to find my purpose in life, is knowing that this feeling is something that is familiar to everyone.

I have learned to take advantage of finding various outlets that allow me to be able to connect with others, feel involved, and make me feel good. Doing these things and doing them as much as often allows me to somewhat alleviate these feelings of uncertainty.

Utilize the buddy system in life, and bond, connect and find outlets with other humans, coping mechanisms, and hobbies, that can allow you to feel apart of something that you enjoy.

We are all just trying to find our place in the world, and we are struggling to combat these feelings of feeling lost.

Whether you chose the yellow brick road, or whether you take the road less traveled on, you will stick find yourself lost.

The real question is where is our destination?

And, is there really a final destination that we are all going to reach sometime, even if we have decided on a destination?

Let me know what you think in the comments below ✨🌟🌙

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

I am _____________.

What am I?
That’s the real question.

I know that I am a human being, and that is one of the only labels that I ever wish was used to describe me.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Many labels are associated with my existence, including negative and positive labels, depending largely on the individual labeling me.

Labels are unfortunately inevitable, and human beings, as well as our society, enjoy utilizing labels to describe, define, and pass judgement on others.
Even more unfortunately, negative labels are inevitable as a human being, as our society seemingly enjoys using labels in a negative connotation, in order to categorize, group, and associate, or even differentiate, individuals.


I am imperfect.

While this is an unsettling label to have to live with, I am human, which ultimately means that imperfection is part of my genetic makeup and DNA.
These imperfections, or flaws, are things that you should not punish yourself for, as they are the parts of yourself that set you apart from others.
However, a handful of new labels can come from your imperfections, as individuals will continue to judge and label you for your unique, or “flawed,” qualities.
Labels can be applied to both physical and intangible qualities.

I am clumsy.
I am ditzy.
I am forgetful.
I am a complainer.
I am distracted.
I am temperamental.
I am sensitive.
I am emotional.
I am loud.
I am fast-paced.
I am over thinking.
I am eccentric.
I am unique.
I am irritating.
I am energetic.
I am lazy.
I am anxious.
I am intense.
I am passionate.
I am annoying.
I am happy.
I am impulsive.
I am confused.
I am EXTRA.
I am crazy.
I am weird.
I am a try-hard.
I am competitve.
I am hypocritical.
I am curious.
I am naÌve.
I am opionated.
I am critical.
I am gullible.
I am stubborn.
I am sassy.

The list could truly go on for days, but I figured I would stop here.
These qualities are some of the many facets that makeup my personality, and myself.
Descriptors of all sorts can be used to describe others, but many of these descriptors, or labels, have a negative connotation. The way to overcome these imperfections, or unique facets of your personality and inner workings, is to learn to look at them with a new positive perspective.
I dare you to put a positive twist on your imperfections.
Your imperfections are given to you, in order for you to learn to utilize them in the real world. Find outlets or opportunities that allow you to showcase your “imperfections,” or qualities that make you who you are. It is especially pertinent to be able to use these qualities for your benefit, so instead of sulking over that stupid label, utilize it and manipulate it for your advantage.

Of course, this is all much easier said than done.
I can say for certain that these imperfections of mine have gotten me into a lot of trouble, but at the same time, they have been the reasons for some of my biggest blessings.
It truly just depends on whether you would like to look at things as a glass half full, or a glass half empty.

Labels can really take the form of an ugly creature, especially when negative, malicious labels are used against you.
Words, such as “ugly,” “fat,” “skinny,” “emaciated,” “loser,” “bitch,” “faggot,” “gay,” etc. can really hit home for most individuals, as these labels can really be internalized and cause serious damage to someone.
Personally, as a girl with a very fast metabolism and a very petite frame, I have been around the block when it comes to vicious labels about my weight and small frame.
“You are anorexic,” “you are emaciated,” “you are disgusting,” “you are so bony,” “you have an eating disorder,” “you are SO skinny,” and finally, “you are TOO skinny.”
Our society worships the idea of being skinny, as our society, by popular belief, has decided that being skinny makes one attractive.
While many individuals would idealize having such a small frame, or being unable to gain weight, my small frame actually is one of the many things that I am not proud of, as it draws unnecessary attention towards me.
I let these labels and opinions affect me so much so that I would never wear form-fitting clothing and felt uncomfortable wearing clothes that may have shown, not even show off, my body shape.
The baggier the clothes, the less people were able to identify my size, or so I thought myself. So, I chose to hide my body by wearing clothes that were comfortable nonetheless, but did not always make me feel good.
I felt as though my body and my small frame almost offended individuals, or bothered them, as it seemed to be one of everyone’s favorite topics to address with me.
My secret to keeping a small frame is something that I have yet to find out, because I can tell you for sure that my diet is far from healthy. I can also eat more than a boy going through puberty, however, for some reason, I am still unable to gain any form of substantial weight.
I do not know what to say other than, “I have tried time-and-time again.”
This is something about myself that I cannot change, so I naturally had to accept my body and learn to love this small, bony body that allows me to do all the things that I love to do.

Unfortunately, labels are mandatory in some aspects of our society, especially when it comes to mental health, as one must receive a diagnosis, in order to receive help.
In this sense, professionals utilize labels in order to categorize and to diagnose your symptoms.
Having a professional psychiatric diagnosis can come with its’ own negative labels and connotations, as many will attempt to utilize your diagnosis to label you in a negative light.

According to a handful of professional doctors, my existence comes with a handful of labels, as a result of my unique biochemical makeup.
So, here it goes…

I am complex PTSD.
I am OCD.
I am social anxiety.
I am panic disorder.
I am agoraphobia.
I am phobias.
I am ADHD.
I am six types of ADD (classic ADD, inattentive ADD, overfocused ADD, temporal lobe ADD, limbic ADD, ring of fire ADD, and anxious ADD).

With these labels automatically associated with my existence, it is quick for strangers to continue what professionals have addressed and continue associating me with unprofessional labels.
unfortunately, these strangers, or peers, do not have professional qualifications to diagnose me with labels that fall outside of these psychiatric disorders in which I have been diagnosed with.
And, I am not going to lie, mostly because I am horrible at it anyways, these unnecessary labels formulated by various individuals experiences with me, or through word-of-mouth, were and still are hurtful and greatly offensive.
It is incredibly difficult not to internalize these outside opinions, as I have spent years obsessing, internalizing, and believing these horrible labels that others have attempted to shove my way.
For someone who is so critical of myself in order to avoid getting labeled, I really ended up with a handful of labels, especially when it comes to my mental health. It is truly ironic, as I actively have always worked to be as close to perfect as possible, in the hopes of facing any negative criticism from myself, as well as others. Unfortunately, getting labeled with these diagnoses was not something that I asked for and these labels are the last possible thing that I could have ever just had handed to me.
But, I cannot run away from these labels, as they are a significant part of my life, and allow me to understand myself and somewhat understand my actions, behaviors, and reactions.
Why I have so many labels is a mystery to me…The world works in such interesting ways, am I right?
I can tell you for certain that the more that you listen to these comments, which are simply just opinions and not based on facts, you may start to believe them, and in turn, react in a way that coincides with that label.
For example, for many years, and still to this day, people have told me that I am crazy. In fact, I have been called various synonyms of crazy, as well.
And, for a while, I took this offensively, ran with it, and internalized it.
I would literally try (VERY HARD) to be “crazy,” because that is what I thought people wanted, and that is what I thought people thought of me. So, naturally, I began believing that I was much more crazy than I already am and began acting out. With anxiety like mine, I began obsessing over how crazy people thought I was, even though I was not even THAT crazy, but if a large majority of people are saying I am, then that must be so.
Instead of being “crazy busy,” “crazy lazy,” or “crazy fun,” I internalized this label in a negative light, which only fueled my fire to attempt to showcase a very extreme version of “crazy.”
To be honest, trying THAT hard to be something that I simply am not was extremely tiresome, extremely difficult, and required an extreme amount of motivation, which was fueled by the labels.
I would think to myself, “They think I am crazy? Well, I can give you crazy. Let me show you what crazy actually is!”
The point of this story is that I let these labels get to me, and instead of turning a cheek, or simply embracing my eccentric existence, I decided to go out of my way to put on a show for myself (because who really actually cares and who really actually wants to watch), in an attempt to try to embrace this label.
This was simply not constructive behavior, and in fact, I did not do a very good job at acting the role of “crazy.” If I had to grade myself on the effort, I would give myself an A+, but my execution was C-, at that.
I was trying to prove a point to the world, but instead, I forgot that everyone else is so entirely wrapped up in their own worlds that no one truly was watching my “crazy show.”
The funnier part about this time of my life was that all my close friends, who know me very well, treated me no differently and did not buy into my act. In fact, they kept telling me and reassuring me that I was completely sane, which completely defeated the purpose of trying to act “crazy.”
This was the complete opposite reaction that I wanted!
I clearly did not do a very convincing job, and have to do better next time.
My efforts were truly for nothing, as I realized that the only opinions that truly matter are your own, which also include your tight-knit support group, who always love, support, and cheer you on.

In my day, I have been labeled a lot of negative things. A lot of these labels emerged as a result of my diagnoses, as many people find it difficult to understand me, accept me, and be patient with me.
I am a very confusing and controversial person to understand, as many people have come to understand that I have more layers than an onion.
Many of my behaviors, actions, and words are confusing and make people wonder where my head is at, but I sware it is right where it needs to be, which is right above my shoulders.

I am misunderstood.
I am an acquired taste.

It is no one’s fault truly.
I am like a grapefruit, because when you first try grapefruit, not that many people like them right off the bat, as they are very tangy and very startling to one’s tastebuds. But, grapefruit tends to grow on people, and with time, you begin slowly acclimating to it.

Maybe, I am tequila. 
Tequila is a contradiction, as it is truly an acquired taste and not many people truly enjoy it. In fact, people love to hate tequila! However, people are still willing to drink it, because tequila gaurantees a good time (most times), poor decisions, and a break from reality. Though most people hate drinking tequila, everyone still tolerates it and can always count on tequila for a not-so-memorable time.

With that said, I also know what and who I am, or at least I think I do.
I can for certain say that I know what and who I am more now than I did a year ago.

I am strong.
I am charismatic.
I am fun.
I am intelligent.
I am friendly.
I am motivated.
I am energetic.
I am beautiful.
I am trying.
I am hardworking.
I am patient.
I am kind.
I am forgiving.
I am exciting.
I am open-minded.
I am witty.

I am perseverance.
I am creative.
I am hilarious.
I am awkward.
I am outgoing.
I am adventurous.
I am a lover.

♥ I am me ♥

You see even with all these labels attached to me, I still would like to think that I have some redeemable qualities, whether people recognize it and appreciate it should not matter.
All that matters is that you appreciate yourself and learn to practice that notion we call self-love.
This is very difficult for me, as I have always been an individual who was quick to criticize themselves, and take every loss and mistake too personally and too seriously.
I am always thinking about ways I could have been “better,” and often fall into the pattern of simply just punishing myself for small mistakes, or faults, that I may have made throughout the day. Even if I have not made a mistake, there is always something MORE I could have done.
Instead of simply letting things go, I begin picking myself apart and letting this mistake define myself, my self-worth, etc.
It is a toxic cycle!
With mistakes and losses, there comes labels, which I am always trying to avoid. However, labels always seemingly make their way into my life.

Labels are being dropped more frequently than human beings drop their phones on their faces while they are texting laying down.
That is saying a lot!

Labels are all fun and games, until you let these labels get the best of you. While most labels are thrown around with a negative connotation behind it, do your best to utilize this information, or this label, to your advantage.
While you cannot control other people, you can control what you do with these labels, or descriptors, of yourself. Labels, as bad as this sounds, can actually be beneficial to a certain extent, as labels are often based upon observations and experiences that others have had with you. You can find out a lot about the way that you may come off from an outsider’s perspective from people labeling you. Maybe, there are things that you can work on and improve on, which means that the control the label was supposed to have over you is no longer existent.

Labels will be around until the Earth decides to rest in peace, or human beings become extinct. And, while labels are great to use to identify people, things, places, etc., realize the power that a label can have on a person and their ability to live.
Stop telling people what they are and let people figure it out for themselves – that is, unless they wish to seek your help.

Next time someone tries to label you, just simply respond, “I know you are, but what am I?”

All I know is that…

[I am human]
[I am hungry]

[I am parched]
[I am tired]

What are you?
I challenge you to fill in the blanks and share your labels, and your experience, with them with me.
I am ________.

Do not let others tell you what and who you are, you be the judge of that.

xo,

Aichan Tewahade