I like to think that I’m a good person. I was raised by a loving and supportive family. I have the most incredible friends a girl could ask for. And my boyfriend, he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m living a pretty spectacular life these days. But when I take time to reflect on how I got to this point, I reflect on the few years of chaos in my life that I don’t like to talk about.

I’ve talked about my divorce, I’ve talked about my failed relationship that I jumped right into afterwards. I never talked about who I hurt along the way. I’ve always been self absorbed in my own trauma. I lived my own life and didn’t recognize or frankly didn’t care at the path of terror I was leaving in my path. We all have that one chapter that we don’t want to read out loud, this is mine.

When my marriage ended, I got into a relationship with a guy who spoke poorly of his relationship with his wife. It was so nice to have a man telling me that he wanted me, that he loved me, and would take care of me. I had a lack of those needs in my marriage and with a broken soul after a debilitating divorce, I would have jumped at any man who promised me the world. I contributed to this man’s divorce. The first time we decided to end the affair was when she found out that he was having a relationship with me. I wrote her a letter. In that letter I spilled my heart. I apologized profusely, and at the time although it hurt, I meant it. But I also lied about a lot of things in the first letter to protect the man that I had unintentionally fallen in love with. It’s wasn’t the genuine letter that I had hoped for. After a few months had passed and I felt more stable, I reached out the this man and wished him well. I told him about the healing process that I had gone through. He responded and the spark with almost immediately rekindled.

This time, his tone had changed. He said his marriage was failing, regardless of not speaking to me. He had issues in his marriage that he believed were beyond repair, but he took his time getting out of the marriage. After I found out that he had plans to celebrate his first wedding anniversary at an all-inclusive resort that he claims he knew nothing about, I was done. Heartbroken that the man who had chosen me when I felt the most unloved, wasn’t going to choose me. This time I was angry. I wrote another letter. Fuelled with spite and fire. I had learned things about his relationship with his wife that made me hate his wife. They made me angry and I didn’t think she deserved the man that had been so kind and loving towards me. I truly believe that SHE was the monster, not him. This letter that I wrote spilled all the honesty that I left out of the first one along with every little detail of the time her husband and I spent together. If I couldn’t have him, I damn well didn’t want her to have him either.

Another couple months had passed before I started making connections that he was thinking about me again. They had separated and he moved out of the house. Whatever hold this man had over my heart was toxic and potent. After on long evening of FaceTime confessions that he had me believe that he was sorry for hurting me. That he didn’t care about her and that he realized the time he took leaving his marriage was unfair to the relationship he wanted with me. He made the four hour drive just to take me on a date and the feelings rushed back. A few weeks later, his wife text me. She wanted to talk, but I only allowed text. I had to go to work and I feared that I would word vomit too much information or even worse, that I would cry. I told her that I was seeing someone and to never contact me again. The person I was seeing was her still current husband and she obliged and I never heard from her again.

I respected the first few months of keeping our relationship discrete. After it continued to be imperative that I was a secret, I got angry. We finally had the opportunity to be together without strings attached. Their marriage was over. He loved me, I loved him. It was finally my time to have him to myself. I never got that opportunity. We constantly argued over the level of publicity our relationship could have. Then we started arguing about everything. Season basketball tickets trumped my time visiting and being introduced to coworkers as just a friend was how we spent our last few days together. My feelings were hurt, I was grabbing at straws trying to maintain my dignity and salvage a relationship that I had waited so long to come to fruition. It took one drunken night out to realize that I was not the girl for him and his sights were set on his coworker. As much as he initially denied it, I couldn’t fight the feeling that there was something there. I pushed the topic and we lashed out at each other. The relationship was toxic and he felt I wasn’t letting him be independently after getting out of a marriage. I removed myself and began really working on the placed within myself that I didn’t like. It was then I began my journey to independent happiness, rather than filling a void. It was also then that he began dating his coworker.

It’s been a year since all of this happened and I put in the effort to take care of my heart. I find comfort and peace in the here and now. I don’t stress over the details even though I am still a relentless planner. I struggle with things that are beyond my control but I have learned better coping skills. The hot headed girl still remains but has cooled off tremendously. I attribute a lot of my growth to the man who ruined my heart and the wife whose marriage I helped end. I believe that all of this happened for a reason, regardless of how guilty I feel.

What I learned from him was that I deserve to be loved in a way much better than what my husband gave me. I also deserved much better than what he could give me. I learned to manage my finances and pulled myself out of a mountain of debt. And most importantly I learned to trust my gut, because my intuition might not always be 100% accurate but it knows when something is not right.

What I learned from her is that friends are important. That relationship drama is not for the world to know, but it better kept between spouses. I also learned that maintaining your health through nutrition and workouts regardless of your life’s situations is crucial in self care.

I learned about the Tone It Up program when I began creeping on his wife. She was apart of this fabulous community. Now, I am NOT a workout selfie kind of girl. I am not a hash tag queen and the only time I take picture of food is when my boyfriend makes a bangin meal, and that’s because I want to brag on his amazingness, not because anyone cares what I eat. I started following along with this nutrition program. I started seeing people’s results and thought that if I could get the recipes that it would work for me. I needed to do something to maintain my health but I never wanted to join this community because it was her territory.

About 6 months after everything ended, I had genuine chest pain. I woke up for work. My boyfriend laying peacefully at my side. I went to the bathroom and almost fell. I was drenched in sweat and nauseous. When I crawled back onto the bed, the palpitations in my chest were strong and irregular. There was pressure at the center of my sternum and it wouldn’t resolve regardless of the relaxation techniques that I had been using. After three days or irregularity and discomfort I went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with a mild heart arrhythmia that is affected when your health is poor. Inadequate nutrition, lack of sleep, not enough cardiovascular conditioning, all could cause my heart to slip into this arrhythmia.

The first step that I took to caring for myself better was to increase my workouts. I had a regular heart rhythm on my three month check up and I was happy, however, blood testing showed that my electrolytes were all low. My Potassium was 3.4 and my Magnesium 1.6. I was slightly dehydrated and was warned that I could slip back into this uncomfortable heart rhythm at any time. I needed to get my nutrition in check and I thought of the Tone It Up program. I’m hesitant to begin this program because of the unhealthy way in which I discovered the program. I feel like I took so much away from this TIU girl, that I don’t need to impose on her workout/ health regimen as well. I tried a few other options first, but with my schedule and my inability to cook like an adult, Tone It Up turned out to be the best option.

SO, this is my way of getting everything off of my check. I had an affair with a TIU girl’s husband and then started the program. My body couldn’t handle my unhealthy habits anymore and neither can my heart or soul. I’m letting go of the guilt. I’m thanking these two for all they have taught me about life and how to be a better person. And I am apologizing with my whole heart for all the pain and heartache that I contributed to ending your relationship. I have worked so hard over the past year to maintain my health, work on my mind set and find peace with what has happened/ what I had caused. This is my final part of letting go and moving forward. This is my confession.

Love yourself

Workout Wednesday

I have never described myself as athletic. I’m not a health and fitness guru and if I’m frank, I think the fitness culture today is slightly absurd. But in honor of #workoutwednesday and the fact that I tired a new gym this morning, I thought I’d tell you a little about my fitness journey. I’m not anti-workout and I think support groups of any kind are uplifting, however, I’m just not feeling it when it comes to the fitness world. In the winter I was in a mall that had a name brand active wear store. I walked in and was greeted by the sales associate. She told me with so much excitement in her voice that their new leggings were on the front table and today they were on sale, discounted at $99. I laughed in her face said “ok thanks” and turned around and walked out. I don’t understand why something you sweat in has to cost so much damn money. I buy my workout clothes, that I believe are still cute, from Target and Old Navy when they go on sale and are under $10. I call that workout winning. Maybe it’s because I’m not “athletic” that I am unable to manage the perfect post workout picture. That’s not really my thing in the first place. I don’t feel the need to post my daily workouts, my bloated belly vs. my flat tummy day comparisons nor do I have someone follow me around to take my picture 24/7. Seriously girls, how do you do it and do you get annoyed asking people to take your picture all the time?! The only workout posts that you’ll find on any of my accounts have been posted in the attempts to win free stuff through the gyms I go to or in this case, for this post. My struggle with the fitness world started long before wearing trendy work out gear and posting to Instagram was the thing to do.

I was always playing outside and in the dirt when I was little. When I was old enough to start organized sports I made some choices that did not work out for me. When I was younger I played YMCA soccer for one year until I got kicked in the shins. I played club basketball throughout elementary school and when it came to try out for the actual team for the intermediate school I chose swimming instead. Turns out I was pretty damn good at it too. I began swimming competitively year round finishing off my senior year as one of the Captains of our varsity team.  By that description alone you can tell I was never a gym rat. I hated being hot and sweaty because when you’re swimming you just dump your water bottle on yourself and keep going. Although you are sweating it’s almost unnoticeable. The stress of nursing school throughout college kept me skinny and in the summers I was a lifeguard so again, swimming. Now that I’ve been out of college for 5 years I’ve had to change my lifestyle and I’m still struggling to find my routine.

Being money conscious I tried the Jillian Michaels work out videos. “6 Week Six Pack”,  yes I got this! Nope. No I don’t got it. In my opinion the people who can do Beachbody are included in this category. Folks, you are my heroes! Being motivated to workout at home is something I’ve never been able to accomplish. I’d feel good, start working out, it would start burning, I’d start sweating (which I still hated at the time) and I’d pause that video, get a drink, take a break, and then get back at it. Eventually I learned the videos routines. When I knew a move I hated was coming up I’d choose that time to have my water break but this time I wouldn’t pause the video. I’d find myself cheering Jillian on saying things like, “you got this Jillian” and “Push through it girl”. These are all things I should have been saying to myself.  I work well with someone telling me what to do and coaching me through the moves, when there’s an option to pause, mute, or just turn off that mean trainer, well I took that easy out every single time. My life bounced around for a while and I continued to maintain my lack of workout routine. My metabolism was still excellent and when it started to slow, what I like to call my “divorce diet” had me dropping pounds without doing a thing!

Just a little over a year ago I was ready to really focus on taking care of myself. The best way I knew to get rid of all these unwanted emotions was to swim. I revisited the idea of gyms with pools and remembered but then remembered the old people. I looked into options and heard about a new gym that had recently opened that was more of a trend gym. I check it out and in July of 2016 I joined Orangetheory Fitness. It was challenging, the coaches were nice and motivating some of which I have become good friends with. I had to sign up in advance for class and was held accountable by being charged for a class if I was a no show. It was one hour of ass kicking that was exactly what I need. Well I’m crazy enough that over a year later I still go regularly. I thought this was a good start to learning how to workout while in the adult world. I would love to still be swimming but lets be honest, trying to do laps in a pool where you’re avoiding the old people doing the dead man’s float is next to impossible. Adult competitive swim teams don’t exist (If you’re reading this and I’m wrong please message me).  When I go to these classes my goal is to try not to die. I could care less about the other people in the class, especially on the treadmill. I look straight ahead and focus.  I consider this workout my “home base” because it’s the first workout that is not swimming that I can tolerate doing.

Throughout the year I have gone through swings of motivation to add to my workout routine. These swings come for multiple reasons but its mainly due to my love of Luciano’s Pizza and Beer.  I added The Barre Code to my workout regimen and it ended up being the right kind of addition to my routine.  It’s a different pace, different workout, but still challenging. What I learned most from The Barre Code is that I am not flexible at all! Walking into a room full of mirrors and trying to focus on nothing but yourself is really challenging when you can see everyone in the room from every angle. I must say, damn, some of those girls can lift their legs high! I thought that Orangetheory had me in pretty good shape until I started shaking through the warm ups of my first Barre Code class. I still go every so often to switch it up a little but it never fails I always feel like the graceless ballerina in the room.

I’ve been on vacation from work so this morning I tried out a new place I had stumbled upon through social media avenues. It’s a pilates class on resistance based machines and the studio is called IM =X. These machines are unlike anything I’ve ever done before. At first I thought it was fun. I was pulling myself along, pushing myself up and down, gliding back and forth on the carriage, but then we started jumping. Laying on your back on a carriage that slides while jumping off a platform sounds fun. But for a girl who easy gets motion sick, I was turning green! Thankfully you’re looking at the ceiling so the only person who saw my color change was the trainer. She smiled and said, “the movement is definitely something to get used to.” All I could respond was, “I’ll say”.  With that sarcasm we both started laughing. I don’t mean the soft inside voice fake laugh to appease one another. I mean the all out loud, stop what you’re doing, belly laugh. She had watched me struggle throughout the class to get the loops in the right foot, boards in the right holes, and attach and reattach the correct springs. It was my first class so all of those struggles were expected from both of us and will smooth out over time. However, the fact that I managed to make myself motion sick on the machine was something neither one of us could control laughing over. When the rest of the room went silent she simply stated it was my first class and there were small chuckles with the collaborative “been there” census from the rest of the group. Will I be adding this to my workout routine? The answer is I’m just not sure yet. I have a week to trial the classes and see if I figure out how to be more coordinated on the machines! Regardless, today was another step on my journey and another effort made for making myself a healthier person, in addition to getting in a good laugh.

My goal is to continue to be my unathletic self but also keep going. I’ve already come a long way from being the girl who doesn’t like to sweat during a workout to being drenched at Orangetheory. I will continue to try new things, explore new options, and keep my progress to myself. Loving my body is something that only I need to focus on and care about, it doesn’t depend on how many “likes” my pictures get because of how many filters I use. For me it’s about how my clothes fit, how I feel being in my clothes, doing something active that keeps me healthy but is also something that I enjoy, finding people who are there with me to burn, grow, laugh and sweat alongside me. It’s about enjoying the foods I like to eat and living a life of balance. There are so many studios out there and different places to try, this is just the beginning of my journey as it’s only been a year that I’ve consistently exercised since I graduated high school. Swimming will always be my first love and pizza will be my second, followed by donuts, tacos, and beer but you get the picture! Be kind to yourself. Love yourself and have fun doing whatever keeps your mind happy and your body healthy! By all means if that includes wearing expensive athletic wear and posting selfies, in the words of a former dance teacher, “you do you boo boo”!

Love yourself

100% Human

Most girls are said to be made up of sugar, spice, and everything nice.  Lately I think my personal break down consists of coffee, sass, and a little bad ass with maybe a shot of insanity.  When you’re young, you don’t know who you really are or what you’re made of. The stigmas of the world that categorize us into stereotypes define who we are as individuals. For the most part, we accept these labels for fact and carry them around in our mental luggage as more imperfections to divulge or strive to hide. We are constantly told how we can improve ourselves. The health/ fitness world seems to be the worst. As a nurse I’m all for health promotion and preventative measures, but where are the health and fitness organizations that focus first and primarily on mental health and loving yourself? There’s a reason that there is a quote that says “Change your mindset, change your life”. Because it has value!

It sounds silly to have  a tally of how many days I can say that I’ve been happy, but I’m a planner, I like lists, and I like keeping track of things so I have a page in my bullet journal entitle Mood. I am almost at 2 full months of happy days! This doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been low points or that I haven’t had to deal with difficult days. My life didn’t change. There is nothing profound that struck me out of nowhere. I still have the same job, same friends, same family. What changed is how I think about each day.

The month of July has tested my mental patience. During this month just two short years ago my world was knocked from its axis. Two years ago I lost faith in a man who was to be my forever and was introduced to a man who would support me through some of my darkest days. Now within two years, neither one of those men are in my life by no other choice than my own. Remembering the dynamic of July 2015 brings a wave of emotions that I have not yet grasped how to handle. Each “anniversary” gets easier, the memory weaker, the feelings less intense. As I believe time does heal all wounds, I also believe the strength of my mindset empowers me to overcome dark emotions associated with memories from this month. The thoughts don’t disappear that quickly, however, this month I choose to focus on the happiness and opportunity that has been granted to me by these men both entering and exiting my life. I was able to change my mindset from dwelling over the pain to embracing the possibilities and being excited for my future. There is no more gaping wound in my chest, no sleep is lost over anxiety or fear.

I am 100% female, 100% human, and 100% Kaitlyn. Being authentic and not getting caught up in trends is where I’m dedicating my attention. If something or someone hinders my success to being fully happy, I say a little funeral for it and let it go. I have down days, I have days where I can’t let things go that easily. I have days where I’m stuck in a funk and let my emotions get the best of me, but at the end of the day I love myself. I embrace whatever silly stereotypes that are attached to me. I wear my labels proudly and the ones that I’ve had attached to me that aren’t true, I embrace those too because no one knows me better than me. I know what I’m made of, I know who I am, I love who I am, and I know what I can handle. Going through this month has only proven to me that my mental health is becoming stronger a little more ever day.

Continue to be 100% human, push yourself, fuck up, fall down, get up, be weird, sing loud, dance often, work hard, achieve your goals, speak your truth, and never let anyone into your headspace that makes you feel there’s something wrong with who you are!