Thursday, October 1, 2015

FINALLY! The 2015 StrictlyBickley RELAUNCH :: Stages of Change

Helloooo, all of you beautiful people!

I've been working very slowly and steadily towards a few big changes that I've been wanting to make as far as my businesses and my blog and writing endeavors go; for almost two years now, I've had intentions to integrate all of the bickley-bits and bickley-pieces scattered around. I'm not sure who may knows that I even have a blog, but indeed--I started it on Christmas Day of 2009, but the blog had no direction or real purpose until 2011, when I finally decided on its 'niche' and began to post consistently. 2011 and 2012 were peak years for StrictlyBickley (, but somewhere in the middle of 2012 is when things really began to fall apart. Through the rest of that year, throughout all of 2013, and through most of 2014, I experienced several pretty severe crises. They were all tied together, but untangling that tangled twine was (and is) an ongoing process, so it is impossible to point to one specific event as the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

My health and well-being were jeopardized in many ways during those years, many times over, and due to all sorts of circumstances. I've been working diligently for over 2 years at this point to "put the pieces back together", and, to put it mildly, it hasn't been the easiest path to navigate. It's humbling to look back right now and reflect on the leaps and bounds of progress I've made over these past couple of years in regards to myself as a whole (see where I might be going with the name change re: wellness of the mind, body, AND heart?) :) , but while progress is being made, it happens tiny inch by tiny inch. I like to compare it to how we can't feel the Earth rotate as it's happening; we don't think of ourselves as being in constant motion...then the sun sets on the day and lo and behold, this planet has managed to rotate its massive ass a full 360 degrees...and we've been along for the ride.

I am ecstatic to share with you that the entire premise and genre of this blog has changed. First of all, I am in grad school now (I know, right?!) and am livin' that #studentloanlife, so buying beauty products in bulk isn't budget-friendly (but see--my affinity for alliteration has gone nowhere...there are SOME Bickley traits that will never ever change!). 

More importantly, though, the past 2-3 years have brought about such changes in me, that bitching about beauty blunders and critiquing products and bossing people around about how to apply bronzer the right just isn't me anymore. It seems so shallow--not to offend any other beauty bloggers out there, because "OH MY GOD I LOVE YOUR WORK!!!" ;) Let's be honest; I'll always be a sucker for the newest products and I'll always experiment with different looks when I actually do wear makeup that consists of more than just foundation, powder, mascara, and bronzer (if I arrive at my destination early enough; yes, I still do my makeup in the car and yes, I know it's dangerous, but YES, I swear I can do basic application without looking). Oh, and if I'm feeling really fierce, I'll step up my eyebrow game, and maybe even swipe on a layer of one of my NAKED 3 palette colors. 

But I am all about authenticity these days. I am unabashedly authentic and candid. 99% of the time, I do not live in fear of the judgment of others. I am no longer an approval addict. I know my truth; I own my truth; I speak my truth; I live my truth. I have worked hard to develop the courage to be who I am, say what I mean, and allow myself to be vulnerable...I feel that StrictlyBickley needs to reflect who I am these days. I don't keep secrets about who I am because I was sick of living with so many. One evening in February 2014, around 11pm, I was outside walking Yogi when the Universe sent me another calling, much like it did back in August 2012. This time, it was not career-related; it involved my way of life. In what felt like a blink of an eye--out of nowhere--I decided, right then and there (and I even said it out loud, to no one in particular except for the Universe--maybe just as a read-receipt so it would know I got the message): 

"I am going to live a life of authenticity. I refuse to feel ashamed about who I am or where I've been; in everything that I do, every choice that I make, every interaction I have...I will be me, and I will be whole. From this moment forward, I vow to live authentically and unabashedly."

And that was pretty much it. I've never looked back. It's been quite a ride, too. I've found that my newfound boldness can be quite polarizing; people tend to either love my candor and respect and admire me for being vulnerable, open and willing -- or they balk at my 'oversharing' and think I'm ______ (I put a blank space there because I have no idea, nor do I care what these people might be saying about me--I'm certain people talk about me. There are absolutely people who talk shit, but that's on them. Shame is an emotion I refuse to feel, and I no longer feel the need to apologize for myself. Sorry: not sorry. In the truest sense of the expression).

So what can you expect from the new, relaunched StrictlyBickley? Lend me your ears (eyes):
  • #RealTalk
  • Advocacy for mental health and mental illness awareness
  • Displays of fearlessness, boldness, and courage--from me, and from other internet sources I may come across
  • Lessons I've learned along the way that I feel called to share, in the name of helping others and opening others' eyes
And, although it's scary and I'm taking a leap into the unknown by doing so, I intend to make this next piece the crux of the blog itself:
  • Accounts of my experience as a person living with a mental illness...
...and the insight and wisdom I gain from each roadblock, each depressive and hypomanic episode, each time I regress into maladaptive coping mechanisms, each small victory I achieve--even the most minuscule 'wins' are important to people living with chronic illness of the brain, and each epiphany I have--because they just keep coming. I graduated from my outpatient treatment program on October 16, 2013 -- almost two years ago -- during the six months that I was there, I grew and changed as a person in more ways than I could have ever anticipated...but I was in for a surprise when, after graduating the program and moving forward with my life's intended trajectory, the lessons just kept coming. And they keep coming. Two years later, I am still figuring it all out. Still figuring myself out. Still working on Bickley; tweaking things; recognizing what needs to change, giving accolades where they are due when I recognize growth in myself. 

It has been, and continues to be, truly an amazing journey I'm on. 

I hope you'll join me. You're in for a fun ride.

Be well, Beauties,


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dr. Seuss Keeps It Real, Encourages Realistic Expectations

My generation grew up being told that we could "be anything we want to be". Our lives were entirely up to us. A lot of smoke was blown up our asses throughout our development, the long-term effects of which resulted in the national epidemic of quarter-life crises. 

In two weeks, I will be attending my 10-year high school reunion. Today, as I continue to unpack (I moved to a new house 3 weeks ago and am a verrrryyy slow unpacker because I'm anal as hell and before I unpack something, I have to have already figured out where I want it to go) from my move, I came across my copy of Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go!, given to me by a family friend as a graduation gift. I like to read it from time to time, and I was overdue for a flip-through, so I sat on my bed and opened it up.

Dr. Seuss, as kooky as his books are (and, from what I've heard, his personality is [was?] equally um..."unique"), he fucking GOT IT. Like...NAILED it. He knew  detrimental 

So, while he was encouraging The Future of America of that time, in Oh, the Places, to explore life, believe in themselves and their capabilities, and achieve great things... homeboy kept it real.

The passage below is evidence of his realness...and also happens to be my favorite passage of the entire book.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All alone! 
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike.
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems 
whatever they are.

Source: Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

You are the average of of the five people with whom you spend the most time.

"Choose someone whose way of life, as well as words, and whose very face as mirroring the character that lies behind it, have won your approval. Bey always pointing him out to yourself either as your guardian or as your model. There is a need, in my view, for someone as a standard against which our characters can measure themselves. Without a ruler to do it against, you won't make crooked straight."

-Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Pardon Our Dust

Greetings Beauties,

I've been super-busy (okay, maybe not that busy, but definitely working hard) redesigning the content of Strictly Bickley for the blog's 2014 relaunch. A dear old friend of mine, who surprisingly still views this blog despite my year-long absence (thanks Eli!), inquired the other day about my lack of update after last month's announcement about my relaunch.

So in the interest of keeping everyone in the loop, I'm officially announcing that Strictly Bickley is currently still under construction and will be fully relaunched, come winter 2014. I anticipate my 'grand reopening' happening in the month of January, so keep your [mascara-covered] eyes peeled!

Strictly Yours,


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