Saving babies.

“I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Well it seems I have some forced time on my hands this past week and so I find myself back at the keyboard to write. It’s a good thing… which brings me to my point.

Slowing down.

Like everything that appears in my life’s path, I grab it, study it, analyze it, dissect it and of course… overthink it. This surgery is no different. What lesson can I learn from this? What purpose is it serving in my life and what is it here to teach me. Hey, I did include overthink so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

It dawned on me this morning as I set in to clean up my coffee remnants and put together my breakfast. Bracing myself for yet another simple task that the past week has been a little more difficult than normal. Taking more time than normal. I expected all of this and I was ready for it. But it exhausts me a bit more each day.

I am already eager to get back to my normal pace. The pace that sees me mule packing groceries into the house so I only have to make one trip. The pace that causes me to spill water all over my floor because when I fill up my water bottle from the painstakingly slow fridge dispenser, I can’t use two hands. Why would I? The other hand could be so much more useful washing an apple or putting away dishes. Just silliness, I say.

So when one of my limbs – my tools – breaks down, I have to slow down to compensate. I am no longer able to juggle a plate on a toe, a glass on a finger, a spatula on a hand and a bowl on a knee. It’s true. I am human and I have limits.

It’s horrible. Or is it?

Stopping at each move to plan carefully and ensure I don’t hurt myself is new to me. Being delicate. Being methodical. Purposeful. And realizing that at the end of the day, I will still get fed. Dogs will still get attention. Clients will still get their results. Contractors will still keep working. My social life will still exist.

At the end of the day, I am not saving babies. Everything will happen in it’s own time and at it’s own pace and no one will be ignored or deprived. And maybe, just maybe, it will get done better and stronger than it was before. Before I thought I was super woman.

Maybe slowing down is a really good lesson to be forced to learn. To prioritize. To place importance on things that deserve it and not so much on the things that don’t.

Slow down. Breathe. Think. Do.

The helpless independent.

“Sometimes life is too hard to be alone, and sometimes life is too good to be alone.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

I just had surgery yesterday. I needed to get my bunions fixed. I hate even saying that! It makes me sound old and frail. I know that is silly but still… It’s my foot and I can be silly.

I have been putting it off for years. Originally had it scheduled for the fall of 2016 but chickened out at the last minute. I had just separated from my husband earlier that year and was finally getting my independence back and functioning as a happy healthy adult again. So I just wasn’t ready.

So early 2020 I decided to get myself back on the list. I couldn’t put it off any longer… but then ‘you know what’ happened and that list was a long wait. I finally got the call at the end of April and was scheduled in for May 13. Friday May 13. Why not? I’m not superstitious so it’s as good a time as any.

I was away visiting my brother when I got the call so by the time I got home, I had 10 days to prepare. Making lists and checking things twice. Scrambling to figure out how I was going to get around for the next 6 weeks plus with only one functioning foot.

I worked long hours to get completely caught up with my business. I cleaned my house and did my yard work. I rearranged my house to make things easier. I planned, I shopped, I moved things, I packed things… I got ready physically.

But mentally? Sheesh… that one was beyond a checklist.

I have written before about the importance of asking for help and how challenging this has been for me for a very long time. Most of my adult life being afraid or ashamed to ask for help. It is a skill I have been working hard at for the past 6 years, 4 months and 8 days to be exact. And I am now scheduled in for my final exam. A real life test.

And so far I am proud to report I am passing with flying colors. I have help enlisted around every corner. And all because I felt confident enough to to ask. I didn’t just let this date come without much mention. No, “I’m fine on my own”. Because I knew I wouldn’t be. I knew I needed help and I am accepting that I cannot do this on my own.

And now I am proving to myself (even though I have always known it deep down) that asking for help is not only courageous but proof that I am truly not alone. I never have been. I just had to stop being so scared to see it. To depend on someone else without the fear of being hurt. Does it make me nervous? A little, yes. But nerves are a part of life. Que Sera Sera.

I am not scared anymore. I am not alone anymore. I am helplessly independent. And loved. So loved.

Special thanks to T and S for being by my side. XOXO.

(And also to note that if you are first hearing about this please know that it does not mean you are any less special to me… I just haven’t had enough time to get to all the wonderful people in my life to keep you in the loop… still love you all!)

My friend Fred.

“Fearless is not the absence of fear. Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you.”

Taylor Swift

Is there any such thing as being fearless?

Over and over I have heard people make a comment about others appearing to be fearless. “I wish I could be more like them, they are not afraid of anything…”. I have even heard the comment directed at me. And I can tell you honestly that nothing could be further from the truth.

So that poses the question for me… Is there any such thing as fearless? Do fearless people exist? Or… do those brave, accomplished souls we envy just treat their fear differently?

Let me share with you how I deal with fear. What role does it play in my life because fear exists for me every single day? It is always present. Riding alongside me wherever I go. Afraid I don’t have enough knowledge to do my job correctly. Afraid I am not talented enough to commission the next painting. Afraid to go on a first date… or a second, for that matter. Afraid to publish my book.

I am afraid of almost everything and anything, but fear is not my enemy. The only enemy is me IF I let that fear rule me. IF I let that fear stop me. I have accepted fear as a part of my everyday life. I have stopped waiting for it to go away to move on because I have learned throughout my anxiety-riddled days that fear will never go away. So the only way I would do the things I wanted to do was to take fear along with me. Hold its hand as I walk. Pack it up in my backpack and lug it around with me. Tie it up in a bow and wear it fashionably around my neck.

My fear comes with me everywhere. It has become my constant companion and I now welcome it. Now when I sense fear, I feel like I am on the right track. Challenging myself. Pushing myself. Fear is my motivator. It is my friend… I think I’ll name it Fred.

So Fred… where are we going today? Let’s kick some ass shall we?

The laws of division.

The Law of Division observes that over time, a category tends to divide and become two or more categories.

How much time does that division take?

It seems to be that two years is sufficient in some cases. A category, let’s say humans, tending to divide into two or more categories, let’s say the anti and the pro. Oh… and the ‘I’m sick of talking about it’ (my category, by the way).

Yet here I am. I have done a pretty good job of refraining from using this blog as a platform to voice any opinions on the current pandemic situation. But. I am not really breaking my ‘no comment on the pandemic’ rule as I am not actually commenting on the pandemic.

I don’t think we can even call it the pandemic situation anymore. The pandemic, to me, no longer seems to be the main issue. The division seems to have taken front seat.

So I am ready to comment on what is happening to our way of life. Friendships ruined. Divorce lawyers thriving. Good people making questionable decisions. And bad people… well, making even worse decisions. In our quest to be heard, to encourage change, to be brave we have lost something. Respect. And an open mind.

We are forgetting that every decision we make affects someone else. Maybe one person, maybe an entire neighborhood. Regardless of the number, chances are someone out there is reacting to our action. And although we may be acting out of valor, our action may be having a negative effect and we just aren’t seeing it.

Why? Here’s my thoughts.

We are assuming that the freedom we feel we are losing is the same freedom that our neighbor is losing. It isn’t. Our circumstances are not the same and we are not the same. We are all each and every one of us beautiful individuals that put value into our own individual freedoms. And just because one is more important to me does not mean it is equally important to you. It does not make me more than you and it does not make me less than you. But it does make us both human.

So weather you are honking a horn or safely staying in your home, you are fighting for a freedom that is important to you. Remember that. Stop judging. Stop trying to convince another to value your freedom over theirs. We have all lost something. ALL of us. Our ‘some’ things just happen to be different things.

We are all individually beautiful individuals. We are all important. Our freedoms are all important.

P.S. If you think I am supporting one side or the other with this post, please read it again and imagine yourself in the other category. Does the message stay the same? It is my intent that it does.

Go easy on me.

Title sound familiar? It probably does unless you haven’t turned on a radio in the past month. The new song from Adele has been played over and over and over again. It is a beautiful song and I love hearing it. Who doesn’t love listening to Adele.

Today I found myself listening a little closer to the lyrics. Picking out each word from her beautiful melodic lilting voice and finding meaning in them.

When I focused on the chorus it struck something in me.

Go easy on me, baby
I was still a child
Didn’t get the chance to
Feel the world around me
I had no time to choose
What I chose to do
So go easy on me

I looked up the meaning of the lyrics as Adele had intended them to be but like all works of art, it is open for interpretation. And here is mine.

For the past 6 years (today is the actual anniversary of my most courageous act of walking out of my home – which I just realized as I was writing this… anyhoo)… For the past 6 years I have dug deep to come to terms with the fact that I led myself into a life that was less than pleasant. Yes, there were strong influences around me but ultimately, I made the choice to go down that path. And because of that, I had someone very important in my life to forgive.

Me.

Go easy on me, baby, is a message to myself. For years I had a voice in my head that made me feel less than. Even after I was on my own, that voice continued to tell me that I needed to do better. Be better. Perfection. Nothing less. Make better choices, don’t make mistakes, don’t fall down. Don’t be sad, don’t wallow, don’t get angry. Don’t, don’t don’t. Be, be, be. It was exhausting.

So when I took special note of these lyrics, this is what I heard.

Go easy on me, baby
Forgive yourself
You were still a child
You didn’t have the chance
to make a better choice
It’s okay now
To forgive yourself

And I have forgiven myself. Today, on this noteworthy day, I was reminded of how far I have come. How whole and confident I have become. Reminded in the most beautifully soothing and precious way. Today, I am proud of who I am and all the flaws and crazy that come with me. We are all flawed and imperfect. And we are all worthy of forgiveness.

So go easy on me, baby. Go easy on you, baby.

Thank you Adele for this beautiful Freedom Anniversary gift… Damn, now I am going to cry every time I hear this song…

My book, my baby.

You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo

Last May I published a post about writing a book. I have had some people asking how it’s coming. So here is an update.

I am happy to announce the book is completed. Okay confession time. The book has been completed for months now. Like about 6 months to be honest. Finishing the book was an amazing feeling. A crazy accomplishment that I was immensely proud of. A holy shit moment where I sat back and said, ‘I just wrote a book… holy shit’.

And then I felt lost. I had nothing left to write. My baby was all grown up and my job was done. So now what?

Like a parent who’s baby really has grown up, we do feel a bit lost. Like we are no longer needed. But we are. We are never done. Maybe comparing writing a book to parenting a child is a little off… nothing is as difficult as raising a child. However for the sake of this blog I am going to use that analogy. So… we are never done. We are still needed. Sometimes for direction… a bit of advice… and sometimes to push them forward a little bit further. Like a book needs pushing forward.

But in this case, I had no idea how to do that. How to encourage this baby of mine to move forward. And so I procrastinated.

I re-wrote the book. I edited the book. I gave the book to some friends to read. Then I edited the book some more. I searched the world wide web on information on how to publish a book. I spoke to self-publishing companies. I looked up Literary Agents. I signed up for the Writer’s Union. I procrastinated all under the guise that it wasn’t ready. I didn’t know what the next step was and found everything too overwhelming. So I procrastinated day after day. Giving myself deadlines and ignoring them as they passed by.

The truth was, I wasn’t ready. I was afraid. Afraid I would be laughed at. Or even worse, completely ignored. That I wasn’t good enough to be a published author. Who was I kidding? I’d never written a book and I had no business thinking anyone would want to read it. There are millions of authors out there. Unpublished. And all of them better and more qualified than I. Or so I tell myself.

But then I reminded myself of a line I once heard listening to a Brené Brown podcast, ‘What’s worth doing even if I fail?’ The answer is this. This is worth doing.

This morning I submitted my manuscript to be professionally evaluated. It’s not off to the publisher yet but it’s the first step. Maybe they will laugh at me. Maybe they won’t. It doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is that I try. That’s all that ever matters. Try. And you just never know how far that baby’s going to go…

That baby might just grow up to be something great. Maybe not. Either way you will love that baby with your whole heart.

And all because you tried.

30 cows, 28 chicken.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Wayne Dyer

30 cows, 28 chicken. How many didn’t? The answer is 10.

The answer doesn’t make sense does it? Or… maybe it does. Maybe if you look at it a different way. Maybe if your perspective alters just a little it will change how you read the question. Read it again. Look at it again. Try and see it from another point of view.

We all get stuck in our ways. Our opinions. We read things that support our opinion and call it research. We find news articles or documentaries or (insert eye roll here) social media rants to support that opinion. And then we tell other people that don’t have that same opinion that they are wrong. Because their opinion does not support what you have set out to find. What you believe is your truth. Even though they have done that same truth searching. That same ‘fact checking’ only from a different perspective.

They read the joke differently than you did.

30 cows, 20 ate chicken. How many didn’t? The answer is 10. (I know, it’s a stupid joke but maybe it gets the point across)

We all read things differently. We put emphasis on words or change their meaning (or spelling) to hear what we want to hear. We all do it. It’s our nature. And that’s okay. It’s not bad, it’s just your interpretation of what is happening around you. And now you see how easy it is to instigate confusion or misdirection with one simple word. My real point is that you don’t get to judge someone else for their interpretation. You are not Judge Judy.

So read your sentence however you want to. That’s your choice. If your note happy, rewrite your own sentence. Leave everyone else’s alone. Life’s too short to criticize anyone else’s reading skills.

It’s also to short for stupid jokes so my sincerest apologies.

P.S. Thanks for the stupid joke Les.

A TV show review.

There is a new Netflix show out right now that seems to be all the rage. It is called Maid and is based on a memoir written by Stephanie Land. It is getting a lot of recognition on social media… a lot of talk around the water cooler… a lot of praise. If you haven’t heard of it, let me give you a quick synopsis.

It is a story about a young woman who leaves her emotionally abusive spouse and the challenges she faces in the aftermath. A lot of people told me that maybe I shouldn’t watch it. Concerned that I would become ‘triggered’ by it. Well, if you know me, you know that is just issuing a challenge. So, of course I watched it.

And did I get triggered? No. I found it an incredibly interesting story and one that I could pick apart and dissect based on my own experiences. Especially in the beginning. In truth, I felt a little disconnected from the story. Mostly due to the differences in our situations.

The character in this show has a 2 year old daughter. She also has no job. She has no loyal friends or reliable family to turn to. She has only the car she leaves with in the middle of the night and a small amount of cash in her bank account. Which dwindles very quickly. She has nothing but a need to get away and a desire to remove her daughter from a toxic situation.

This was not me. I was very fortunate to have a job. A place to run to. And no dependent child to feed or shelter. I had it easier. I had a head start.

So for the first half of this series, I could not relate but I could feel for this character. My heart broke for this character and the hardships she endured trying to find her way in a broken system that does not have enough resources to help someone in need. After all, as she states, there are no bruises. No police reports. No physical or recorded evidence of abuse.

And then half way through the series something happened. I’m not going to tell you what and ruin it. That would be rude of me. But let me say this. The first half was about her struggling with the system. Walking through the logistics of finding a job, shelter, childcare and all the other things that a lot of us take for granted on a daily basis. The second half was about the emotional struggle.

Bam. Now I’m in it. Now I get it. This is the part that no one talks about. No one understands. This is the part you can’t explain to anyone because once again… there are no bruises. No police reports. No proof.

It is only a feeling that is inside of you. A state of mind that no one but you can truly understand. A level of crazy that is instilled in you. Doubting yourself every day. Wondering if you imagined it. If you made it up. If you are the crazy one. This is something that people need to see and hear and feel. But they can’t. Because it is inside you.

This show did not trigger me. Not in the least. It did however make me want to go climb to the top of a mountain with this character and feel the freedom of getting out all over again. Feel that feeling of independence. Strength. Courage. And sanity. Glorious beautiful sanity.

The only criticism I can offer – because this is a TV show review – is that the story was too brief. To condensed. Because reality is, getting out does not happen that quickly. It takes way longer. Way more fails. Way more missteps and wrong directions. But you just simply can’t cover that in 10 shows. So I get it. This is TV after all or at least a story adapted for TV. A condensed and marketable version of this woman’s reality.

So if you watch this show, know that there is so much more to cover. So much more awareness that needs to be out there so that maybe these systems can be less broken. So that maybe help for someone who is without a job, money or a home can have more hope. Feel safe. Feel sane. Have that head start that I had.

Here’s my closing… this post isn’t just a TV show review. This is a plug. A request. A little ask from me to you to consider giving this broken and struggling system a little helping hand. There are Domestic Violence shelters everywhere. Help them out with a little donation. It doesn’t have to be money either. Used clothing, children’s items, non-perishable food, your time. Anything and everything helps. It’s a worthy one and one that your friend, sister or even your brother (yes men are victims of this too) may one day need.

Just something to think about… thanks.

The second fire.

“You don’t always have to be holding up the walls. Sometimes the walls are there for you to lean on.”

Me

At first I didn’t want to write this because I had already written a post about a fire. But then… Then my neighbors garage burnt to the ground and once again, I was inspired to write about a fire.

Once again, within a few short months of each other, a fire hit close to home. This one only 2 doors down. This time I could feel the heat on my cheeks as I stood inside my back entry watching the flames engulf a garage. Listening as the small but frequent explosions cut through our backyards as what I can imagine were chemicals and fuels igniting like a burst of caps from a toy gun. A very loud toy gun.

I watched as the fire trucks arrived. One by one. 3 trucks in total. I watched the firefighters from those trucks do their jobs diligently, efficiently and fearlessly. I watched the flames being reduced to smoke and steam through their efforts. And as the flames disappeared, I saw what the fire had left behind.

Burnt skeletal remains of 2 x 4 framed walls that were once holding up a roof. Charred rubble of unrecognizable motor bikes and cars and other items that typically fill up a garage. The siding on the backs of both of my neighbors houses melted. A camper with part of the side torn off. A shed half missing. 2 more cars with their sides melted…

And the 3 large trees that span the length of 2 back yards and end at my eavestrough. The 3 large trees that reached to where a garage once stood. The 3 large trees that were singed, shrinking back from the inferno that threatened their own lives. But it didn’t. The trees, though badly singed, survived. The trees that I looked at knowing that if they would have lost the battle with the fire, so too would have the homes. Very likely my home included.

But they didn’t and my home stands untouched. My home, my yard, my property. All untouched. All unscathed.

In the short time since the fire was conquered, I have wondered what would have happened if the trees would have went up. What would I have done. And tonight as I was able to sit quietly with my thoughts I wondered if my own positive energy and strength were enough to keep my walls standing. Unharmed. If I alone am enough to keep my life balanced and whole.

This thought wasn’t sitting well.

All I could see in my mind is my walls, my home, scarred from a fire that was not in my control. Not in my power to stop. No matter how strong I put my mind too it. I could not stop it. Then it dawned on me.

It is not in my power to protect my home. It is in my home’s power to protect me. And it did. Brilliantly. For a rare moment in my life, I realized that I don’t always have to be the strong one. I don’t always have to be protecting someone or something. I don’t have to fix it. I don’t have to control it. I don’t have to… I just don’t have to.

Sometimes it is really nice to let go and be protected. From someone or something… it doesn’t matter. My house is not an inanimate object. It is animate. And it is my home. And it is here to protect me and be strong for me and hold me up when I can’t hold myself up. And it is okay to sometimes, maybe a lot of times, have a need to be held up. To be protected.

It is my home and it is strong and powerful and beautiful. I take care of it so it can take care of me. That’s how it’s supposed to work right?

I think I like that. This thought sits well.

The green monster.

“Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter.”

Unknown

Jealousy is a funny thing. We all suffer from it I think. We just don’t admit it.

It comes in different forms. And it is not always what we think it is. The obvious state of jealousy that comes in the form of mistrusting a spouse or partner. Or wanting what others have. A better car. A better boat. A better house…

For me it comes in the form of others successes. Accomplishments. I read about a social media star who has just published a book and the green monster creeps in. I tell myself she only got published because she’s a social media star. It can’t actually be a good book. It’s probably just fluff. And she’s so pretty, which is mostly filters and photoshop, which isn’t real but she will probably sell her book because she is pretty and kinda fake.

I know… so rude right? Truth bomb… I’m a bit of an asshole sometimes.

The bottom line is, I see others succeeding and I am jealous. Jealous because I have not yet reached my goals. Because I am not where I want to be in my career, my finances, or my relationships. I see others and I either find a reason why they are doing it wrong or I find a reason why it is easier for them than it is for me.

All of it bullshit. All of it based on jealousy. All of it my own insecurities of not being good enough. Smart enough. Driven enough.

But that is just my own green monster that lives in my head. I am just plain and simply jealous of others who are further ahead than me. Wishing I was further ahead… wishing things would just fall into my lap and poof! I am living my dream life.

But when I stop and think about it… maybe I am living my dream life? Maybe the process of getting to where I want to be is the dream life I need. Each moment it’s own success story. Each loss and each win a step to be proud of. And when I think about it, I have accomplished a shit ton – yes, that is a technical term – of goals in my life. I may not be done with them yet but so what? Who set the deadline? No one else. Just me.

So when I hear of someone who has reached goals that I haven’t, I have learned to cheer them on – or at least I try too. If I can, I ask questions about how they did it. What they would do differently. How was the experience and how incredibly exited I am for them.

I silence my own insecurities and shut my green monster up.

And you know what? Turns out that feels pretty good.

Silencing the green monster is freeing. Ignore it’s ugliness and your motivation will increase. Your attitude will be more positive. Your life just plain happier. Stop begrudging others their accomplishments just because you aren’t there yet.

You will be in your own time and on your own terms. Without your green monster.

And PS to the social media star who just published a book, congratulations! I wish you all the successes you dream of… keep going after it sista!

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