5 Quotes That Changed My Mindset


cw: mention of depression.

It sounds corny, but I love quotes. Hearing someone beautifully and concisely sum up what you are feeling can make you feel so seen. I have a few favorite quotes that I keep coming back to over the years. They work as mantras when I need to readjust my mindset. I’ll write them in notebooks, repeat them out loud to myself, and embed them in my art.

They also serve as mile markers for my emotional state. I can go back through old journals and see how I was feeling on a given day based on what quote I was repeating to myself. I want to share with you the 5 quotes you would see most frequently if you opened my notebook right now. They’re short and sweet, and easy to call on whenever you need to ground yourself.

1. “You cannot punish yourself into someone you can love”

I think I originally saw this one on Pinterest, so I’m not sure of the exact source, but this is the quote that I come back to most frequently. When I make a mistake or struggle with something, I have a habit of mentally talking down to myself. I think that if I punish myself enough, I won’t make the mistake again. Obviously, that’s flawed logic. I’m only human and I cannot stop myself from making mistakes. Instead of trying to punish myself into perfection, I am learning to love what I am, imperfections and all.

2. “It feels good to feel good”

This one is less of a quote and more of a mantra I wrote for myself. It sounds obvious, but it’s actually something I have to remind myself quite frequently. I have a melancholic streak in me. Sometimes I can feel the sadness overtake me and it’s comfortable—like when you’re really tired but trying to stay awake. You know you have to keep your eyes open, but closing them and succumbing to sleep feels so lovely and easy. I notice a similar feeling when depression starts creeping in. I have to remind myself that feeling happy and being positive feels good too. It’s more work, but it’s worth it.

3. “I can do hard things”

This one is for the procrastinator in me. A lot of us tend to put off the hard or overwhelming tasks because we don’t want to fail. I often come back to this quote to remind myself that even though something is difficult, it doesn’t meant that I can’t get through it.

This is a good one for right now. Quarantine can feel endless, we’re unsure of our futures and what’s to come when this is over. Let’s remind ourselves that we can do hard things and we will get through this even though it will be difficult.

4. “I contain multitudes”

I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but it’s a personal favorite. It’s part of a longer line from Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself,” in which he writes, “Do I contradict myself?/ Very well then I contradict myself,/ (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” These are words that I’ve written in just about every journal I’ve had since I read the poem in high school English class.

We sometimes get caught up in how we appear to others, and we don’t want to contradict ourselves for fear of seeming two-faced or inauthentic. We’re wrapped up in trying to create continuity in our personalities, but that’s not how the ‘self’ works. We all contain contradictions and are growing, changing beings. You are under no obligation to be the same person from one moment to the next.

5. “Your life’s purpose is not to be palatable to others”

This one came from the queen @whatswrongwithmollymargaret on Instagram. Following her has changed my life, so if you’re not following, you should be. This is something she originally posted as a little thought on an Instagram story and it has stuck with me. It’s such a good reminder whenever I get too worried about what people think of me.

Who you are is a gift to the world. Some people will love you and be so glad that that you are fully yourself. Others maybe won’t understand you or like you. That’s okay. Why deprive those you love you from seeing your 100% authentic self.

I’m sure that I could go back through my journals and find many more quotes that have spoken to me over the years, these are just the ones that I continue to call up when I need them most. I hope they help you a little bit too!

What quotes speak to you the most? Leave them in the comments!

Reflections on 26


Even though I’m getting older, I still love my birthday. The festivities are becoming more low-key every year, and I enjoy using it as a time of reflection. It’s a time to be grateful for where I am, and think about where I want to go next.

This year I’m thinking a lot about my relationship with myself. This past year has been an adventure both outward and inward. I moved to a new country where I knew no one and it allowed me to get to know myself in ways that I could not by staying within my comfort zone.

The old cliché of traveling to “find yourself” is enduring, but I believe it misses the mark. I didn’t travel to Spain, or Austria, or Greece to find a version of myself I thought was missing. However, through the process of escaping my comfort zone, I fell more in love with myself.

As I get older, I’m realizing more and more that the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself. During adolescence and young adulthood, this relationship can be at it’s most fragile. Outside forces are always telling you how to be, that you’re not good enough, and that loving yourself is vanity. I always thought that I could improve myself into a version of me I would love. A little tweak here, a little work there, and voilà! I would be the woman I always wanted to be.

It’s not finding yourself and it’s not sculpting yourself into an ideal, it’s just loving what’s there. The more time I spend on this earth, the more I love being with myself. Self-love is a process, but I’m trying to work on it little by little. My mantra for 26 is, “I am the woman I’ve always wanted to be.” After all, no matter what happens, you will always have you.

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Everything Can Go Wrong, But It Probably Won’t: The Highs and Lows of Moving Abroad

View of Palacio Real de Madrid

I knew that moving abroad would be stressful and that I would have to deal with a lot of logistics. I knew that I would have to get a visa extension, a bank account, an apartment and a phone plan all in the first month. For someone who gets overwhelmed by going to the post office, this laundry list was daunting but it was something I was willing to deal with in order to realize my dream of moving to Spain.

Looking down to corridor from Plaza Mayor

What I didn’t account for was all the unexpected stressors and inconveniences that come with moving to a new country. For me these included: losing my American SIM card, my laptop completely breaking down two weeks into my move, having to get a new laptop shipped from the U.S. in order to have an English keyboard, and losing access to a lot of my apps and accounts due to my phone number change and new laptop. As you can probably tell, technology is not my friend.

This series of unfortunate events had me running around an unknown city, making multiple phone calls in an unfamiliar language, and spending money I had not originally budgeted for. However, while I endured some sleepless nights and a few emotional calls to my parents, I was able to get it all worked out. And that’s what I have to remind myself.

I’ve learned that my outlook and attitude have more power than any of these inconveniences. Sometimes, something as simple as losing your SIM card can seem like a huge disaster when piled on top of other stressors. Things can start to look pretty bleak and I am definitely guilty of overreacting at times when one small thing goes wrong, but I’m getting better.

Palacio de Cristal in Retiro Park

The thing about travel or living abroad is that everything is augmented. The highs are higher, the lows are lower, and sometimes having to make a customer service phone call in Spanish seems like the most impossible task. But, we persevere, and we make it to the other side. Oftentimes, we emerge stronger and more empowered because we accomplished something that we never would have had we just stayed in our comfortable little bubble.

It’s such a cliche, but travel isn’t just about exploring new places, it’s about exploring the depths within ourselves and pushing past what is familiar. Though it can be uncomfortable at times we should all go somewhere, do something, meet someone new. It’s not always the beautiful scenic view of an ancient city. Sometimes it’s getting lost while trying to reach your visa appointment; but the lows make the highs that much more beautiful and that’s why I found myself on an plane one month ago moving to a new country in search of new adventures.



Big News, Big Changes


If you’re in any of my close circles, this probably isn’t news to you. However, if we haven’t caught up in a while, or are strangers—first of all, thank you for reading! Say hi and let’s connect! Second of all, you probably don’t know that I’m finally taking the leap and moving to Spain in September.


This is something that I have wanted to do since I stepped off the plane after my semester abroad in college. I spend every day missing the sights, smells, flavors, and vibes of Spain. True story: I recently cried while watching the Lizzie McGuire Movie because I missed living among the European scenery so much. I applied to teach abroad programs for the past two years since graduation. However, neither year seemed like the best time. I was just getting my feet under me after college, I didn’t have the money saved up to travel, or I didn’t get placed in the region I wanted.

This year, I applied to a new program and was placed in Madrid. Everything seemed to align. I have some money saved, my boyfriend is moving to Maine around the same time, and I feel like I’m in a stable enough place to introduce some change and uncertainty into my life.


However, since I’ve been wanting to do it for so long, I forgot how much of a leap this move would be for me. As my departure date moves closer, I find myself becoming more and more anxious and uncertain. Every day a new worry pops into my mind. Will I be able to make friends? How do I find an apartment? Will I be homesick? Is this the right choice?SONY DSC

If you’ve looked at my Instagram lately, you’ll notice that all of my content and captions are overwhelmingly positive, even sappy. While this positivity isn’t disingenuous, it is still only part of the story. I have been using relentless optimism as a coping mechanism to avoid drowning in the terrifying ambiguity of these next few weeks.

This unwillingness to grasp the depth of my feelings about the move has bled into in my real life as well. Almost every conversation I have with someone about moving goes like this: “You’re moving to Spain? Wow, that’s so exciting!” “Yeah, I’m excited.” End of conversation. I’ve been keeping my anxiety about the move close to my chest because I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the amazing opportunity to travel, or like I’m not looking forward to all of the adventure it will bring. That said, change always comes with uncomfortable feelings, they do not mean that the change is not positive.


Sometimes my emotions get the best of me, but I’m trying enjoy my last few weeks in the U.S. to the fullest extent. Spending time with my boyfriend and family, taking a trip, and enjoying some time off of work are all I need to focus on right now. I know that moving to Spain will come with its challenges, but worrying about them will only make the transition harder. I am lucky enough to have people and things in my life that make it hard to leave, and I’m even luckier to have their support during this new chapter.


This whole experience has reminded me the it’s never too late to make a change in your life. Often, you and your worries about the future are the only thing holding you back from doing things that will make you happy. Even if it’s just in a small way like trying a new food, or going to an event where you don’t know a single person, jumping into the unknown is what makes life exciting. So at the end of the day, yeah, I’m excited.


DSC_2981Welcome to Shea-ish! If you’ve been following me for a while now, you probably know that I used to have a fashion blog called “Sassafras and Honey,” that I started in high school. My blog was a place to engage my love of fashion, even in the isolation of suburban Ohio. I took most of my photos using Photo Booth on my MackBook and wrote posts about whatever was #trending for 16-year-olds at the time. As I grew through high school and college, my blog posts became more infrequent, as is expected when life becomes busier and fuller. However, when I did post, it was usually about thoughts pertaining to my life or current events, rather than outfits. My love of fashion persisted, but it was within the context of my life, rather than as the centerpiece of it. The decision to retire “Sassafras and Honey” was a result of lack of time to write due to a full time job, and a desire to grow past the box that “Sassafras and Honey” created for me. For the past two years I have taken a break from blogging and focused on Instagram as means to express myself creatively through images and a mini-blog in the captions.

So, why did I start Shea-ish, and why am I blogging again?

Though Instagram served as a low-maintenance home for my creative content for a while, I have found myself wishing for something a little more permanent that I have complete control over. Writing has always been a part of my life and the easiest way for me to work through the ambiguity of my thoughts and feelings. Lately, I’ve had a lot of things I want to write about, that just don’t fit well on a platform like Instagram.

When I changed my Instagram handle to Shea-ish, it was mostly a playful contraction of my first and last name, which is pronounced Ren-ish. The name started to grow on me more when I thought of the other meanings of “ish”: a suffix indicating vagueness, and a term used to replace “shit.” In essence, that’s what this blog will be; a collection of my shit, and an exploration of the vagueness and fluidity of being me.

Shea-ish will serve as a place for me to share my personal diary. I’ll still write about topics like fashion and beauty, but I am expanding this blog to include mental health, current events, travel, and just life in general. Shea-ish will be the permanent home for all of my creative content and hopefully a way for me to form deeper connections with the world via the internet.

Though I know I’m not perfect, I hope to stay consistent with posting on here. I ask you to hold me accountable as well. If there’s anything you would like to hear my thoughts on or would like me to write about, just shoot me an email or slide into my DMs. I want this to be as much a place for you as it is for me. I hope you find something here that resonates with you.