The Happiness Project: Pride

Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to jump in with both feet. When I first learned how to sew, I started by making a ball gown. When I first learned how to crochet, I opened an Etsy store to sell my products. When I first learned how to knit, I decided to knit a sweater. So, it should be no surprise that I would jump into this happiness project with a challenging month first. 

My theme for August was pride, which has a lot of meanings to me. First of all, Vancouver Pride is the first weekend of August. Even though I’ve lived in Vancouver for five years and am openly bisexual, I’ve still never been to a pride parade. This was going to be the year that changed. My girlfriend has been begging me to go for months but I was hesitant. I don’t really like parades, I hate the heat, and I’m terrified of crowds. Therefore, it really doesn’t sound like my thing. The purpose of this happiness project is to challenge myself to be happier though, so, despite my fears, I was going to go to pride this year with my girlfriend and her roommate, but you know what they say about good intentions…

In my defence, it’s not that I decided I didn’t want to go anymore, we all just decided to celebrate pride in a different way. My girlfriend was going through a bit of a rough time and her roommate didn’t have a good time at Pride last year so they asked me how I would feel about a beach day instead and I jumped at that. All the people would be hanging out downtown at English Bay, so we decided to go to Ambleside in West Van instead and it was pretty quiet which was great. So no, I didn’t go to the parade, but I thought three bisexuals having a great day at the beach was a lovely way to celebrate pride. 

I’m usually pretty hard on myself so this month I decided to try to take as much pride in my accomplishments as I could. I challenged myself to post about something I’ve proud of every day on social media. I’ll admit that I didn’t actually complete this challenge. I got about three weeks into it and then I got so busy and overwhelmed that I stopped posting the last week. That doesn’t mean I’m not proud of myself though. It was hard to come up with something every day and yet I still did. Now they weren’t always the deepest thing, because the stuff I was really proud of could be hard to post. I’m proud of the days I got out of bed even when I didn’t want to. I’m proud of every time I chose to eat healthily or work out. I’m proud of so much more than I can even say here. So even though I didn’t manage to post a picture every day, I did reach my goal because it got me to think about all the things I’m proud of myself for. 

Another thing I wanted to make sure I did this month was frame a couple of my certificates and hang them on my wall. I have a certificate saying I completed Nanowrimo last year (a challenge where I had to write 50k words in a month) as well as a certificate for completing a cognitive behavioural therapy practitioner course. I didn’t think they meant much, but then I hung them on my wall and realized what big accomplishments they were. 

The biggest thing I did this month was to allow myself to take pride in myself and my cosplays. I’m not a big birthday party person, I tend to ignore my birthday, but this year I was turning 25 on the 25th and I figured if there was any birthday I should celebrate, it was that one. So not only did I plan a birthday party, I planned a masquerade cosplay ball. Cosplay is something I love but I tend to shrug it off as if my costumes I make are no big deal. I made Emma Swan’s red ball gown from the season three finale of Once Upon a Time in a week by myself and I wanted to finally show it off and be allowed to brag about it. So I did, and I am so proud of it. 

This challenge may have been hard but I think it was necessary to start with it. Being proud of myself gave me the confidence to throw myself into the next eleven months of this project. Join me next month when I explore my September theme: adventure. 

If you want to see any of the “pride” pictures I posted this month you can follow me on Instagram at @alicenricard

Mental Health Apps

There’s an app for that! Alicen and Andrea discuss mental health apps. Find out what ones Alicen loved and which ones she… didn’t. 

Theme song by Tyson Kerr.

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This week Andrea and Alicen talk about therapy. Spoiler alert: they’re both big fans.

Theme song by Tyson Kerr. 

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The Happiness Project

There’s a reason self-help books are one of the highest selling genres of books. I know a lot of people frown upon them and think that people who read them are “weak” or “desperate” but it’s just not true. There are self-help books for everything, and I think that’s fantastic. I personally love anything motivational and inspirational and that’s why I’ve started reading more of these books. 

Earlier this year I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and was so inspired by it that I decided to create my own Happiness Project. Now for those of you who haven’t read the book what Gretchen did was dedicate a year of her life to being happier. She had a different theme for every month and within those themes she had goals.

I’m not a huge fan of starting things on January 1 because it feels too much like a New Years Resolution to me, and I tend to always break those. So instead, because my year of rejections has ended, I decided to make this a birthday year, starting in August,  instead of a calendar year. 

I’m not going to get too much into what I’m doing every month since I’m going to write a blog post at the end of each month, however, I’m going to give you a sneak peek of the theme for every month. 

  • August: Pride
  • September: Adventure
  • October: Passion
  • November: Solo
  • December: Joy
  • January: Power
  • February: Remembrance
  • March: Play 
  • April: Humour
  • May: Advocacy 
  • June: Fear
  • July: Explore

I hope you’ll all enjoy my journey for the next year I’m finding my own happiness and trying new things. Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out on any of my adventures for the next year. 

Find a Better Word

Do you know what’s crazy? That people are still using the word crazy! In this episode, Andrea and Alicen discuss why we need to find a better word and why Crazy Ex-Girlfriend owns the word and manages to be one of the greatest shows ever.

Theme song by Tyson Kerr.


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Favourite People and Splitting

This week we get very real and Alicen tries to fight her self stigma as we discuss two parts of Borderline Personality Disorder: Favourite People and splitting.

Theme song by Tyson Kerr.

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The Year of Rejections

Last year I read a tweet about a woman who decided to get rejected 20 times the year she turned 30 and it taught her a lot. After all, you can’t expect to have success if you don’t put yourself out there. Since it was almost my birthday when I read the tweet, I decided to get rejected 12 times the year I turned 24. It hasn’t been quite a year, but I’ve made 13 attempts and have been rejected 12 times. 

My first attempt was an article I wrote and submitted to HelloGiggles. I don’t want to get too in detail about what it was about since it’s now irrelevant, but I spent so much time working on this personal essay and didn’t hear back from HelloGiggles for months. By the time I finally heard back, it was too late and I knew there was no way I would ever let the article see the light of day. REJECTION 1. 

My second, third, and fourth attempts were all screenwriting competitions I submitted a pilot to. I went to school for screenwriting and hadn’t done anything with the tv pilot I wrote while I was in school for ages despite it being my passion project. So after a couple more edits, I put it back out there and didn’t even place in the competition. REJECTION 2, 3 AND 4. 

Last fall I ended up sitting alone at a soccer game. Do I know anything about sports? No. Do I care about sports? Also no. However, I ended up texting a friend all my reactions, which were golden enough that I decided to write them into an article: attempt 5. I put it on Buzzfeed, (which I can’t find now, but you can read it here) but it was rejected as a featured post. REJECTION 5. 

Attempt 6 wasn’t putting myself out there as much as it was me doing a challenge that would either become a personal success or failure. This challenge was NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. You can read my full blog post about my NaNo experience here. I didn’t think I’d be able to write 50k words in a month, but not only did I accomplish that, but I also did it in 22 days. SUCCESS 1. 

Then this year I wrote a blog post about BPD (which you can read here) and along with posting it on my own blog, I submitted it to The Mighty. However, it was rejected. REJECTION 6. 

Along the same lines, I also recently applied to write for the upcoming mental health publication ”The Breakdown”, and didn’t get it. REJECTION 7. 

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling financially lately, and so attempts 9-13 were part-time job applications. I applied to Spool of Thread (cause you all know how much I love sewing), two front desk reception jobs, and two sales associate jobs. Well, I’m still broke and I didn’t get an interview at any of them. REJECTIONS 8-12. 

You might be wondering what the point of me writing about all this is since out of 13 attempts I only had one success. I’ve previously written about how you can learn more from failure than from success, and I really believe that. I learned so much putting myself out there. If I hadn’t have submitted my abandoned script to screenwriting competitions, I wouldn’t have fallen back in love with it and rewrote it as a novel for NaNo. Every rejected article has made me a better writer. I’ve learned I need to be more aggressive when I apply for jobs. These are all really valuable lessons. I’m no longer as afraid of failure as I used to be, and I can’t wait to have more rejections (and successes, of course) in the future. 

Borderline Personality Disorder

In this episode of NES, Alicen gets personal as she talks to Andrea about Borderline Personality Disorder, a highly stigmatized and misunderstood mental illness. 

Theme song by Tyson Kerr.

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