Love yourself

The Cycle

I have the best friends. Look at all my free time to do whatever I want. Life is mine for the taking. I can have anyone I want. I’m smart, I’m pretty, I’m successful. He will miss me, he will wish he never left. It’s his loss anyway…

I’m ok, I swear I’m ok. This isn’t that bad. It’s just a failed marriage, it’s just the end of the relationship. “You’re young”, they say. “Plenty of time to meet the right guy” they say. I believe them…

I’m breathing. I’m going through the motions of day to day life. I am numb. Today’s a low day. This will pass. I have responsibilities to take care of. I’ll distract myself until this feeling subsides. I will just sleep until it’s over…

I don’t want to wake up. Opening my eyes floods reality back into focus. My dreams don’t bring me peace or provide an escape. I get out of bed. I can’t control thoughts. My body involuntarily functions…

I’m screaming, I was asleep. It was just a dream. I’m alone. I want to explain. I need him to know how I feel. Apologies and explanations come from desperation. Will it work? No. Does he miss me, no. He hates me, how quickly he’s moved on…

Is this how it feels to be dead? Stupid girl, couldn’t keep it together. Despair, panic, fear, hopelessness, grips at my chest and takes every last breath of air from my lungs. Each throb of my heart is a twisting dagger. Maybe I’d rather be dead. Will this gaping chest wound heal? I ruined everything. I hit rock bottom…

Clarity. He’s gone and moved on but I’m still breathing. I survived. My heart is healing. This is progress. I deserve better. I am better. I am stronger. I am independent. I don’t need a man to love me. I am my own hero…

I have the best friends. Look at all my free time to do whatever I want. Life is mine for the taking. I can have anyone I want. I’m smart, I’m pretty, I’m successful. He will miss me, he will wish he never left. It’s his loss anyway…

Love yourself

Goal Crushing

Having a positive mindset to achieve every goal you’ve ever dreamed of seems like an impossible task. I’m here to tell you that today I proved to myself that it is possible! In January I was 4 months into my attempts to better my life. I knew I was facing the right direction, but I didn’t know what needed to be done to be successful in my transformation. I seemed to be enjoying life but I still had stressors looming over me. I decided to write some goals and define some new habits that I’d like to achieve throughout 2017. These were things that I felt would help me continue on the journey to enjoy life and attempt to put those stressors at bay. I called them resolutions, however, they are more like lifestyle changes. I didn’t take this challenge lightly and I made sure I came up with a list of things that I truly wanted to accomplish. Here’s what I came up with.

  • Drink at least 65 oz. of water daily
    • How: Fill up green (24 oz.) water bottle x3 daily
  • Read 6 books
    • How: Finish one book every other month
  • Cook at least one meal a week/ Eat more salad
    • How: Meal prep once a week, plan out grocery list
  • Pay off Visa credit card debt
    • How: work overtime, budget, save

I am so proud to announce that as of today Friday June 16, 2017 I have crushed those goals that I’ve set for myself. Within 6 months rather than the full year!

Goal #1: I’ve been working out more consistently, trying to eat better to take care of myself, and drinking that water to stay hydrated. Some people eat their feelings, I don’t eat at all when I have too many feelings. At my lowest point over a year ago through my divorce I weighted 112 lbs. which was a loss of 20 lbs. from my “normal”.  Even though I was battling through some pretty rough weeks at the beginning of this year and fell back to 120 lbs. I kept my goals in mind. This morning after a very happy, healthy, relaxing vacation, I stepped on the scale at work. I was ecstatic to see the number, 130.2lbs.!

Goal #2: When I can’t say what I want to say, I write. When I can’t tame the thoughts in my head, I escape reality in a book. That’s what I’ve always used to help manage my emotions, but I’m not the strongest reader or writer. I’m sure some grammar Nazi could destroy my blog posts and make them flow more eloquently, but then it wouldn’t be my words. I also was always a slow reader. School was never easy for me. I would have to read something a few times before it really “stuck”. I was in reading labs and attended tutoring in after school programs to get my reading skills mastered. With that being said, setting a goal of reading 6 books in a year seemed very reasonable and achievable. My thoughts were if life happened or if I got busy then I still had adequate time. Over this past 6 months I have been dedicated to taking care of myself and most importantly my mind. Reading and writing have been my outlet and have allowed me to discover new pieces of myself. There are only 8 pictured because the one book was borrowed from a friend and returned, but these are the books that I’ve read in the past 6 months. 9 Books!! Its amazing if you set your intention on doing something rather than letting your thoughts overwhelm you and take control of your life, what you truly can accomplish! I know that there were days where my mind had been struggling to focus. I had wanted to day dream, think of what certain people were doing and where they were, imagining if they were thinking of me and trying to put myself in a fantasy land of my own life. That was such a dangerous mindset to be in and I battled through it with these 9 books. Staying focused on what’s right for me and important for my mental health. I can’t wait to see what the total count is by the end of the year!

Goal #3: Before my husband and I divorced we had some debt. Debt from our honeymoon, debt from a new car, and debt from us just being young, stupid, and ignorant to managing money. The snowball quickly started rolling. We became a one income family for four months which lead to more debt, we had to purchase a second car adding another payment, and finally all of that life happening couldn’t sustain a marriage which lead to divorce lawyer bills. I honestly don’t know the exact number of credit card debt I had found myself in by the end of everything but to my that’s not important. I had three credit cards when my husband moved out. I used to be the girl who would put something on my credit card just because I hadn’t used it in a while. I would always pay off the total balance and would make sure that I had enough money in the bank before considering buying anything. All of that changed when I had to try to keep my head above water financially. My personal finances were my biggest stressors. I would lose sleep, I was too stressed and depressed to eat, I would feel guilty for taking a day off of work and not going in for overtime, but I was such an unhealthy person at the time that the thought of working more than what I had to was an additional stressor.

Today I paid off my second credit card in full!  I can finally say that the majority of that stress and despair is behind me in regards to my finances. My goal was to pay off this particular credit card by the end of the year. I had learned to be gracious with myself and balance my money a little better. Although I hated the debt, I accepted it as a part of who I am and the journey that I had been through and continue to go through. I put in my mind that patience and consistency will pay the bills. And BAM within 6 months I was able to pay off that credit card! Two down, one to go! I feel like I can do anything right now!

Lastly, here are some signs of a good day. Last night was my first night back from vacation. I never sleep well the first night that I have to switch from daylight to night shift so this morning I knew I’d be tired and looking a little rough. It also stormed like hell yesterday so I didn’t bother with my hair. I pulled it out of my face and called it a day. Within the last 24 hours:

  • One of the respiratory therapists at work told me that I have beautiful hair and that it always looks so nice and healthy.
  • I was asked by a new friend to be a plus one to a wedding
  • And I got a message from the nurse at Central Blood Bank whom I connected with while I was there the other day. She briefly got snapshots of my life story through my donation and this morning she messaged me with a suggestion for a blind date.

You guys, life just works the way it’s going to! Tell the universe what your goals are, dream big, be faithful, and have a gracious heart. Be thankful for the struggle. The bad days are just as beneficial as the good days. I have learned and have been shown within the last 6 months that it is possible to do things that you never imagined!

Love yourself

Just a Mutt

“One love, one heart. Let’s get together and feel all right” – One Love By Bob Marley

My dog is a three year old shelter mutt. I found him in a random pet store in the middle of Marietta, Ohio while I was killing time waiting on my ex husband. He had been at the pet store for three days and was almost a promotional pet to encourage people to visit the shelter. I spent a few hours with him that day in the pet store and when we left for the weekend I had signed adoption papers. The shelter that was housing him found him in a lumbar yard, and that’s about all I really know about the first year of his life before I adopted him. I seem to be the only one who accepts not knowing his genetic make-up.

People ask all the time what he is and my response is always this, “he’s my shelter mutt.” My response is then followed by blank stare with an inquisitive look at Carson. Before they even speak I say “the shelter said that he’s a miniature pincher and hound mix.” Because that’s actually what his paperwork says, and for whatever reason I want to appease the people who are hunting for his ancestry. The responses I get range from a confused, “oh ok, well he’s adorable” to a flat out, “no that’s not what he is” followed by an insertion of their opinion.

I have one question to all of you. Does it really matter? If you want to know what breed he is because you want to get a dog that’s of that breed, that’s perfectly acceptable. Once you hear that he’s a shelter mutt, why is that not an acceptable answer? We transfer this same skepticism into our daily lives with each other. When we meet someone new we always ask where they are from. We all do it, but try this… When someone asks you what you are, try saying “I’m American” and see the baffled look you get in return. Even when I was volunteering in Ghana I was asked where I was from. When I said I’m American or I’m from the United States I was asked which state I lived in. Again, some out of genuine curiosity, but other out of the need to place an identity to me, just like my dog. If he’s not a pure bread dog or I don’t know exactly what combination of breed he is, does that make him less or a dog? That doesn’t take away the fact that he’s my best friend and companion. He’s the one who has been consistently there for me through the past few years of my life (and they have been a hell of a few years). In our generation we are hell bent on loving people for who they are, for what color their skin is, for their religious and cultural preferences. We are striving for the “one love” dream that Bob Marley sings about.

My heritage and my dog’s breed history is definitely a part of who we are. I can’t deny that because that’s where our hair color, eye color, and skin tone come from, that’s science.  I want to look at people for who they are, what they think and feel, I want to judge if they are someone I want in my life based on their personality and character traits. I don’t need to scrutinize what their background. I will love you for you just as I love my dog for the shelter mutt that he is.

 

 

Feature photo credit: Chasing Eden Photography

 

Help Others

We All Bleed The Same

This week I received the awful news of the passing of my coworkers son. He was only 6 years old. After a three year battle with cancer he finally succumbed to the disease.

I cried, I question, I prayed for his family, I got angry and then sad again.

But I’m on this positivity kick, right?! So this isn’t supposed to happen! How can I receive news like this and still try to keep up my happy tune and putting out my positive thinking mojo. I do my best thinking in the shower, so last night when I was washing my hair I was contemplating what I could do to give back to the family. The thoughts tumbled through my head one right after another. As quickly as one arrived my practical subconscious was kicking in. I thought: Donate money, of course that’s an option, although I don’t have much of my own to give. Send flowers? Oh I love flowers, but flowers don’t make up for the loss of a child. Pray for them and send my condolences. Again, yes of course. But none of that seemed like enough. I wanted to do something that also made me feel good because honestly that’s the goal.

I decided to go to the store. I bought a sympathy card and put some money in it, because that’s what you’re supposed to do as an adult when the tragedies of life occur. But then I did something for myself.

I made an appointment with Central Blood Bank. My blood type is O Negative which means I am a universal donor. I like to think that my blood type is a sign of who I strive to be. I can literally give my blood to anyone who needs it, and as a part of this human race I like to think that’s part of my purpose. It’s one of my little super power blessings that allow me to play my part in ‘saving the world’.  I’ve donated before to do my societal part and I try to stay consistent with scheduling, but this time I felt like this was something that needed to be done, for me. I showed up at the appointment and there is a questionnaire you fill out to make sure you don’t have cooties. There is one question though that asks if you are donating your blood for your own use in the near future due to illness or if you are donating directly for someone who is in need of blood products for whatever their condition. I’ve always clicked “no” because frankly, I’m thankful that I haven’t had a massive trauma or a serious illness that would require infusions and I just hoped that my blood would help someone, I never really cared about the identify of the receiver. Today when I clicked “no” I thought of all the children fighting childhood cancer. I thought of how strong they are for the medical treatment and procedures they have to endure. Those kids can handle more than most grown men that I care for at work. I put it in my mind that the blood that I am donating today is going to care for a child with cancer. It is going to be my very small contribution to their fight and although I was unable to help my coworkers son, maybe there is something I can do for another child out there.

Doing things for other people makes me feel good about myself.  It’s not about honor, recognition or other people’s opinions. If I wasn’t writing this blog post, very few people would know that I was going to donate today and even fewer would know that I did it to honor those fighting childhood cancers, motivated by the loss of a loved one. I’m just trying to be a good person with a genuine heart. I feel that you’re never to good to help someone. No matter what your paycheck or social status, all of our graves are the same size and more importantly in this case, WE ALL BLEED THE SAME!!

I share this post with you today because I encourage you all to donate life. Your mind and body can accomplish incredible things. They heal in ways that scientifically aren’t always understood but are miraculous none the less. With a donation of whole blood you have the ability to save three lives.  Twenty minutes out of my day, free cookies, a great conversation with my nurse, and walking out of there feeling good about myself. Well worth it!

I hope you hug your family members a little longer tonight, you tell your friends how much you love and appreciate them, and do something nice for someone you may not know. The life that will be changed by these small gestures could be yours!

Show me a sign

Semi-Charmed Kind of Life

Those that know me the best know that I love flowers. Since I was younger I’ve always had a garden. By garden I mean that my mom let me have a few planters on the side of the house to grow tomatoes and green peppers while I helped her water the flower beds that she landscaped around the house. It’s something that I love to do but that my apartment lifestyle has limited those lavish garden dreams.

There is a quote by an unknown (to me) author that states, “every flower that’s ever bloomed had a whole lot of dirt to go through first”. In my opinion, that’s a profound statement. Flowers bloom to be beautiful, fragrant, and fragile. However, their journey to become beautiful is dark and dirty until they reach the sun and bloom. I want to be a blooming flower.

On my way home from the gym I decided I needed to detour and make a pit stop at the grocery store. I walked into Trader Joe’s with my little list on a mission to get into the store and get out. Every. Single. Time. I walk into that store I end up staring at their arrangement of flowers. Today was only slightly different. I was tired, I needed to get home to take care of my dog, and I was just a little bit down. The flowers instantly brought a smile to my face. The thought that I should buy some came a moment later followed by the hesitation of diverting from my budgeted shopping list.

My attention was diverted to the music that was playing. Spin doctor’s “Two Princes” was playing. Not just the song, but it was on the specific part where he says, “if you’d like to buy me flowers… just go ahead”.  It was like the universe heard my desire and my hesitation and decided to play me a little tune.  I had to laugh because this sign was so blatantly obvious. I had thought originally the song was Third Eye Blind’s  “Semi-Charmed Kind of Life” which I thought was an even more appropriate title, however, it was brought to my attention that I had my songs confused! No matter what the title of the song or who the band, my thoughts sent out that I wanted flowers because they make me happy and the universe responded “if you’d like to buy me flowers.. just go ahead”.  I picked up a bouquet of sunflowers, carnations, and lilies with a sporadic rose or two and some greenery for accents and put them into my cart. They are now on display in my apartment where I’m writing this now to remind me, “every flower that’s ever bloomed had a whole lot of dirt to go through first” and the simple concept of ask and you shall receive.

 

Uncategorized

Green Car

Over the past 9 months I’ve struggled to get my head screwed on properly. I had made attempts to change my negative thought process that seemed to be consuming my life, but nothing was sustainable. After another life sucker punch, I knew that I had to do something and this time I was determined. Over conversations with family, friends and coworkers on how to have a healthy mind and loving life, I’ve learned a lot, about me as well as their perspectives on the ins and outs of daily life.

After a long conversation one night at work, my coworker told me he had something for me to read. The next night he brought in Pam Grout’s book E Squared.  I had heard of The Secret and Law of Attraction, but this book was different. It gave experiments to try to prove that according to Pam, “you receive what you order”. Well with a lot of hesitation and an open mind I made my way through the experiments.

One of the first experiments was to count how many cars of a certain make, model, or color you see. Fairly easy right? In the book she suggests green and then changes the color, however, I stuck with green since it’s my favorite color. In the back of my head I had the expectation that I would see maybe 5 green cars. I only was driving to work that night so I knew I wouldn’t be on the road long. And I knew that two of my neighbors had green cars because I saw them parked outside of my apartment complex. So I knew that I would at least see two, I’ll admit that seems like cheating, but I was a skeptic.

Thirty two green cars within a 20 minute drive.

I was shocked. I finished the book and all of the experiments with such excitement that I emailed Pam. Her website states that she is sorry for the inability to respond to all messages, I knew that it was a long shot. After I typed out my message I paused to give it up to the universe for her to respond if it was meant to happen. Within 24 hours I had a reply in my inbox from Pam herself, encouraging me to continue to write and pursue my hearts desires.

I printed that email and keep it on the inside of my journal and I see green cars every direction that I look! Pam, you have encouraged me to start this blog with your kind words. Your experiments have shown me that the world is kind and forgiving, we just have to ask.

I’ve now begun to read E Cubed, also written by Pam, which has 9 additional experiments for me to try. I can’t wait to see what type of green cars come into my life this time!